An actual dinner party is nearly always characterized by the presence of three central elements: a meal, a table, and a gathering of people, who usually converse. In this article Campion Decent considers the dinner party as a social event and questions how artists draw on its elements to inform artistic representations of dinner. He examines the use of dining events in drama, notably in five texts authored by women between the late 1970s and the present day–Tina Howe's The Art of Dining (1979) and One Shoe Off (1992), Caryl Churchill's Top Girls (1982), Moira Buffini's Dinner (2002), and Tanya Ronder's Table (2013). These texts share an emphasis on the symbolic idea of food or dining, feature tables with a woman at their centre and offer dialogue allied to the experiences of women. While the dining events that they depict are populated with vastly different characters and distinct conversations, the tables nevertheless function as potent yet ambiguous symbols both of women's oppression and of the potential for creative freedom. This article draws on research in anthropology, sociology, food studies, theatre and performance studies, and women's studies to illustrate the fertile complexity of ideas involved in the symbolic dinner. Campion Decent has recently completed his doctoral studies at La Trobe University, Melbourne. He is an award-winning playwright, with productions at Sydney Theatre Company, the Griffin Theatre, and the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Sydney. He has presented papers at Stanford University, Shanghai Theatre Academy, and Victoria University of Wellington.