Children's theatre in London

Keep the kids quiet with a bit of culture at one of London's family-friendly shows

'Grandad Me and Teddy Too'
Even the smallest members of the family enjoy the odd stage show. Here are the Time Out theatre team's recommendations for which performances will suit the very little ones, the nearly big ones, and the grown ups.

Theatre for young children (0-4)

Handa's Surprise

Vibrant physical storytelling, puppetry and singing and stomping to Swahili rhythms combine in this animal-packed tale of a girl journeying to Kenya with a basket of fruit for her friend. A Little Angel Theatre production based on Eileen Browne's colourful 1995 picturebook. Ages 2-5.

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Wanstead Library Saturday March 14 2015 - Sunday March 22 2015

The Velveteen Rabbit

Margery Williams's classic American story is givena contemporary adaptation by the Unicorn's artistic director Purni Morello. The play tells of a shy rabbit who wants to be loved and wants to become real. Ages 4+.

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Unicorn Theatre Saturday March 28 2015 - Sunday April 26 2015

Monkey!

A superhero monkey is at the heart of this play from Puppet Craft, with a script written by ex-children's laureate Michael Rosen. Ages 3-7.

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Lyric Hammersmith Saturday March 7 2015 - Sunday March 15 2015

My Friend Mole

The story of a mole and how good a friend he can be, a piece for the whole family. Ages 3-6.

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Lyric Hammersmith Saturday March 21 2015 - Sunday April 26 2015
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Theatre for children (5+)

Britain's Best Recruiting Sergeant

Children's theatre the Unicorn commemorate the centenary of World War I and the 150th anniversary of music hall entertainer Vesta Tilley's birth with this new play. 'Britain's Best Recruiting Sergeant' follows Tilley as she grows up to become a male impersonator, and aids the war effort by helping to recruit soldiers to fight for their king. Lee Lydford directs Joy Wilkinson's play. Ages 8-plus.

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Unicorn Theatre Saturday March 7 2015 - Sunday March 15 2015

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A friendship between a ten-year-old boy and a robot is at the heart of this new play by Daniel Bye at kids’ theatre Polka in west London. Each performance is a little bit different, with the audience asked to help out with the ending and look again at all the things they thought they knew.  

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Polka Theatre Until Sunday March 29 2015

Adventures in Wonderland

A show for kids to accompany the 'Alice's Adventures Underground' immersive show for adults in the Vaults at Waterloo. 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is multi-sensory fun for children aged 5 and up. Theatre company Les Enfants Terribles create the entire weird world of Alice over several rooms underground. Kids have to make choices which determines the way their individual show goes, but the audience come together at the end for a big tea party and play croquet with the Queen of Hearts.

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The Vaults Saturday April 11 2015 - Sunday May 31 2015

Red Riding Hood and the Wolf Who Tried to Eat Her

The marionettes in Deborah Jones's retelling are expressive and precise in their movements, thanks to the skill of their creators and manipulators Juliet and Gren Middleton, and the three main characters possess personalities that extend beyond their established roles. A witty, if wordy, production at an unusual floating theatre. Age 4+.

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Puppet Theatre Barge Saturday March 7 2015 - Sunday March 15 2015
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Theatre for all the family

Billy Elliot the Musical

Critics' choice

Current cast features Harris Beattie, Harrison Dowzel, Redmand Rance and Kaine Ward as Billy. Six years after it first stamped, swore, and pirouetted into audiences' hearts, 'Billy Elliot the Musical' continues to mark itself out as one of the best nights in town. Both as tough as a miner's fist after a Friday night booze-up and as soaringly sensitive as one of Tchaikovsky's swans, it's a gritty story of hope that works its magic by defying sentimentality and slaying stereotypes.

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Victoria Palace Theatre Until Saturday December 19 2015

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Critics' choice

‘Skyfall’ director Sam Mendes’s huge new Warner Brothers musical confirms it: the hottest property in the West End right now is a grouchy, dead half-Norwegian, who loathed show-offs and spent most of his working life hiding out in a shed at the bottom of his garden. Roald Dahl probably wouldn’t have liked the whiz-popping rave that Mendes has created from his addictive kids’ book ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ – because he felt it was Charlie’s story, and any adaptation inevitably becomes the Willy Wonka show.

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Theatre Royal Drury Lane Until Saturday June 4 2016

The Lion King

The posters have been plastered around the London Underground for years – long enough for this show to become the most successful musical of all time – but nothing prepares you for the sheer impact of 'The Lion King's opening sequence. With the surge of 'Circle Of Life' reverberating through your chest, Julie Taymor's animal creations march on, species by species. Gazelles spring, birds swoop and an elephant and her child lumber through the stalls. It's a cacophonous cavalcade that genuinely stops you breathing.

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Lyceum Theatre Until Sunday October 4 2015

Matilda the Musical

Critics' choice

'My mummy says I'm a miracle,' lisps a pampered mini-me at a purgatorial kiddies' birthday party at the outset of this delicious, treacly-dark family show. The obnoxious ma and pa of its titular, gifted, pint-sized heroine are not, of course, quite so doting. But 'Matilda' must be making its creators, playwright Dennis Kelly and comedian-songsmith Tim Minchin, a very pair of proud parents.

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Cambridge Theatre Until Sunday December 20 2015
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Comments

5 comments
Lucy Limon
Lucy Limon

Which play does that top photo show, the one with the train steaming down the middle of the theatre?? That looks amazing. Thanks

Lucy Limon
Lucy Limon

Which play does that top photo show, the one with the train steaming down the middle of the theatre?? That looks amazing. Thanks

Andrzej
Andrzej

Re: Elaine: the smaller theatres tend to be represented more by the 'for children' and 'for young children' tabs at the top of the screen - if you click on them you'll see shows at the Little Angel et al, it's just that the genuinely 'family friendly' shows (ie anyone of any age could see them) tend to gravitate towards the West End while the specialist children's theatre tend to put on shows that are actively aimed at children only. Might rethink this one if it's not clear!

elaine turner
elaine turner

this sight is too west end based- what is needed is some information regarding small theatres that we can take our kids to without getting a new mortgage