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Kids' theatre in London

Get the kids hooked on culture with these great London shows for young ones

Too big for puppets but too small to refrain from squirming for two full acts? Try one of these energetic theatre shows for kids. The productions on this list are best for ages five and up. If you're thinking smaller read about shows for younger children instead, or if they're getting on a bit try our family theatre shows page.

Shows for kids

The Cat In The Hat

A revival production of Katie Mitchell's National Theatre adaptation of Dr Seuss's 'The Cat In The Hat' arrives at the Pleasance in time for Christmas. Based on the madcap evocative children's books, the show follows Sally and her brother who meet a mischievous cat. Ages 3-plus.

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Pleasance Theatre , Lower Holloway Until Monday January 2 2017

Mr Popper's Penguins

This new family musical comes to Kingston after top-notch reviews during its festive run at the Lowry in Manchester. Original songs and puppetry tell the story of Mr Popper, a painter and decorator who discovers a troupe of performing penguins.

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Criterion Theatre , Piccadilly Circus Thursday December 15 2016 - Saturday December 31 2016

Babe, The Sheep-Pig

David Wood, who's famed for a 40-year strong career adapting kids' classics, has written this new version of Dick King Smith's 'Babe' for the Polka Theatre. It's the story of an adorable piglet who discovers a rare talent for sheep-herding, and leads his gruff farmer to an unlikely kind of celebrity. This farmyard tale will be adapted using original songs and puppetry, in a show suitable for the whole family.

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Polka Theatre , South Wimbledon Until Sunday February 5 2017

Baddies: The Musical

Whether it's Maleficent or Katie Hopkins, the villains we love to hate are so much more memorable than the whiter-than-white good guys that eventually defeat them. So the baddie-baiting premise of Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler's scrappy new musical has plenty in it to charm both children and adults who are tired of saintly Peppa Pig's farmyard homilies.Captain Hook, The Big Bad Wolf, the Ugly Sisters and Rumpelstiltskin are finally being punished for their wicked ways by the Board of Fairytales. After a visually stunning capture scene at Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother's cottage, Wolf joins the fold. Dean Nolan is an edgy, riotously funny delight as Wolf: James Button's ingeniousdesign decks him out in wolf tattoos, a suitably lupine band t-shirt and even a furry tail dangling from his belt. But he can't quite bring himself to delivering the huff and puff his costume suggests, wrestling with the conflict between his villainous grandma-gobbling role in the story and his cutesy offstage romance with Cinderella. Hisbickering baddie cellmates have no such qualms: they tell their stories in cabaret-style numbers, and torment poor Rumpelstiltskin, re-imagined as an irate Scottish punk who's got nothing scary about him but his farts.Harris and Teitler spin their original Grimm fairy tales into comic gold for ages five-plus. But no amount of spit-and-polish can hide the fact that they're so interested in how and why stories use villainy, they forget to include any conflict. Cind

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Unicorn Theatre , London Bridge Tuesday December 13 2016 - Tuesday December 20 2016

Kiki's Delivery Service

Fans of the Studio Ghibli film watch out: Southwark Playhouse's Christmas show is based on the book that inspired it, a novel by Japanese author Eiko Kadono, rather than the luscious animation itself. But it should still offer plenty of charm, as it follows a 13 year old witch who leaves her family to start a new life alone. Jessica Sian's adaptation is suitable for everyone aged seven-plus.

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Southwark Playhouse , Elephant and Castle Until Sunday January 8 2017

Christmas Tales - By Chickenshed

Storytelling maestros Tales from the Shed return with a festive spectacular inspired by the joys of panto. Their 'Talesomime' will be a pantomime with a host of quirky characters including Can-Can and The Thing That Goes Bleurgh, as well as plenty of interactive silliness. Ages 1-6, babies go free.

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Dugdale Centre , Enfield Town Until Friday December 30 2016

The Night That Autumn Turned To Winter

Little Bulb have been delighting Battersea Arts Centre audiences with their characteristic blend of comedy, high whimsy and devised theatre for a few years now. Their Christmas show for children is a woodland story, starring a lively cast of forest animals. For kids aged three to seven. 

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Battersea Arts Centre , Battersea Until Sunday January 8 2017
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