Initiated in 1986, the Waisman Center Children's Theatre (WCCT) enhances the arts for young children in Dane County by providing high quality, diverse, educational, and interactive live theatrical performances at a modest cost and in fully accessible settings. The Friends of the Waisman Center Auditorium is the indoor setting for the majority of the Children's Theatre performances. With a formal stage and individual seats accommodating up to 250 people, the fully accessible auditorium provides an intimate yet informal traditional theatre experience.
The WCCT features a variety of performers—magicians, singers, dancers, musical groups, "learning is fun" educators/performers, and professional theatrical companies. An important goal of the series is to include culturally and ethnically diverse performers and activities—from Cajun music to Irish Dancing; from Italian folk tales to traditional Mexican dances. Many of the performances showcase children as the sole performers or "stars" of the production, such as Dance Wisconsin, PlayTime Productions, and Trinity Academy of Irish Dance. By including these performances in the series, children are given inspiration and role models for expressing themselves through the arts.
The Waisman Center Discovery Garden is a fully accessible 1.5 acre outdoor learning play space that provides a perfect setting for the two free outdoor Children's Theatre's events each year. The amphitheatre, located in the center of the garden, provides ample seating and unobstructed views of the featured performer. Each Discovery Garden event is based on a theme that is carried throughout the afternoon—from the main-stage performer, to the arts and crafts project, and other invited guests and activities.