Family shows in London

Keep the whole clan captivated with one of these family-friendly London shows

Just because you're planning your theatre trip with the little ones in mind doesn't mean you have to spend the evening trying not to nod off. You'll all be on the edge of your red velvet seats during these wonderful family-friendly London shows. Looking for something more age-specific? Try our theatre for young children or kids theatre pages instead.

Theatre for all the family

Against Captain’s Orders: A Journey into the Uncharted

Critics' choice

Avast! Those of you still trying to work out what the bejesus was going on in Punchdrunk’s cryptic odyssey ‘The Drowned Man’ will be relieved to discover that the latest show from the immersive theatre gurus ventures into calmer waters.There’s a catch, though: ‘Against Captain’s Orders’ is in fact the work of Punchdrunk Enrichment, the company’s learning-centric spin-off, and is running not in a hip abandoned warehouse but the basement of the Greenwich Maritime Museum.

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National Maritime Museum Until Monday August 31 2015

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.

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Victoria Palace Theatre Until Saturday December 17 2016

Captain Showoff!

At this year's annual theatre stint down at the Scoop theatre for the More London Free Festival, Phil Willmott and his company Gods and Monsters goes ancient Roman and Greek. Following his successful foray into opera with the Ring Cycle for kids last year, 'Captain Showoff!' is an adaptation of the Roman comedies of Plautus. Theo Holloway provides original music and if it's anything like last year's shows, it should be epic, well adapted and very atmospheric. 'Captain Showoff!' is a family show set in a Roman town that's anticipating the return from war of soldier Milos Colossus. Following it is the staging of 'Hecuba and the Trojan Women' from 8pm. Don't forget to bring layers, and picnics are very much encouraged.   

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The Scoop Wednesday August 5 2015 - Sunday August 30 2015 Free

Bugsy Malone

While it is a truth universally acknowledged that anybody who doesn’t like ‘Bugsy Malone’ is a dangerous weirdo who needs to be stopped (or at least splurged to buggery), you can also see why creator Alan Parker has mostly refused to reciprocate the love for his 1976 kiddie gangsters musical film by allowing professional stage productions.The temptation is to be twee.

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Lyric Hammersmith Until Saturday September 5 2015

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Three

The third part of the stage adaptations of Terry Deary's wacky, off-beat educational history books for teens arrives in 2015. The stage productions have been appearing now for 10 years and this new instalment has Neal Foster and Anthony Spargo flirting with big events in British history such as the signing of the Magna Carta and more. Ages 6-plus.

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Garrick Theatre Saturday July 25 2015 - Saturday September 5 2015

The Lion King

The posters have been plastered around the London Underground for 12 years – long enough for this show to rack up 5,000 performances – but nothing prepares you for the sheer impact of 'The Lion King's opening sequence.

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Lyceum Theatre Until Sunday January 3 2016

Lord of the Flies

This review is of the show's 2011 run. Timothy Sheader's production returns to the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre for the summer 2015 season. Something dystopian has crash-landed in Regent’s Park.

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Regent's Park Open Air Theatre Thursday September 3 2015 - Saturday September 12 2015


The tale of the little wooden boy and his ever-growing nose is told by Iris theatre in their annual promenade summer season at St Paul's Church - or the Actor's Church - in Covent Garden. Daniel Winder directs the show, following his 'Alice in Wonderland' last year, which takes place in the church and in the church's gardens. Carlo Collodi's 'Pinocchio' is here staged in a new version commissioned by the company, from Winder and Candida Calidcott and features fairies, puppets, carnivals and talking animals.  

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The Actors' Church Until Saturday August 29 2015

The Railway Children

Critics' choice

It was a big smash hit when Mike Kenney adapted E Nesbit’s much-loved children’s book ‘The Railway Children’ and Damian Cruden staged it actually on a platform at Waterloo in 2011. Now it returns, to a specially built 1,000 seater theatre built behind King’s Cross station (Google has loaned the area to the show for the run). Railway tracks and platforms will be created specially for the production, which tells of a group of children who move from London to a cottage in the country with their mother after their father is mysteriously taken away. 'Downton Abbey's Jeremy Swift will play kindly railwayman Mr Perks.

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King's Cross Theatre Until Sunday September 6 2015

Twelfth Night

Iris theatre company return to Covent Garden's St Paul's Church (or the Actor's Church) for their yearly summer season with a promenade production of Shakespeare's bawdy comedy 'Twelfth Night'. Vik Sivalingham directs the piece, which is set in the kingdom of Illyria where twins get separately shipwrecked and cause a ruckus with cases of mistaken identity. The beautiful gardens of the church are usually a truly lovely space for outdoor theatre.  

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The Actors' Church Until Friday July 24 2015
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