Top 10 children's theatre shows this half-term

Our critics' guide to the best shows to take this kids to this school holiday

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Not sure what to do with the kids this half-term? Never fear, as we round up all the best children's theatre in London this holiday, from puppet shows to kid-friendly musicals.

  1. View the top ten as a countdown
  2. View the top ten as a list
  • Nosferatu

    Here's a two for one: a show for halloween and a show to enthrall the kids with over half term. French company Bob theatre tell the story of a young lawyer who travels to the Carpathian mountains to close a sale for a strange count: someone who looks a little like a bat and a little like a garlic clove. It's the classic horror tale injected with lots of humour. Ages 8-plus.

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  • Flat Stanley

    Those who read the original '60s Flat Stanley books by Jeff Brown will know why this magical story of the young boy who was flattened by a falling noticeboard is brilliantly entertaining. Those who didn't would do well to take the whole family to Polka's play with songs this half term, if ony for enlightenment. Adapted by Olivier-winning kids theatre writer Mike Kenny. Ages 5-10.

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  • Three Wise Monkeys

    The Lyric Hammersmith's main stage may still be closed, but its much-loved programme of shows for children continues. This half-term you can catch a new show from the excellent Mike Kenny about three cheeky monkeys having an adventure. Ages 3-7.

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  • Best of the West End

    Big family outings to see West End shows are a rather expensive affair, not to mention difficult to get tickets for in the half-term. Nevertheless, if you want give the clan a special treat and you manage to book up early, there are several shows that are bound to delight. 'Matilda the Musical' is a firm favourite for all ages - including naughty adults - and Sam Mendes' 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is a treat for all the senses. Another long runner 'War Horse', which tells the story of a relationship between a young soldier and his horse during WW1, is beautiful and poignant. Booking early is crucial.

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  • The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

    The Puppet Theatre Barge will be in Little Venice over half-term with this old reliable show, with rod puppets, music and songs in a story adapted from one of Aesop's Fables. It tells of the adventures of two very different cousins who visit each other, discovering new places and meeting new people along the way. Age 3-8.

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  • Oliver Jeffers's The Way Back Home

    Childen's book 'The Way Back Home', about a boy who flies to outer space, is hot stuff at the moment. This new adaptation of Oliver Jeffers's story arrives in London a month or two before a big opera adaptation from Katie Mitchell of the same book. This one, well-timed for half-term, is a silent Danish-Irish venture between Teater Refleksion and Branar Teatar do Phaisti, which uses puppets, original music and distinctive design to tell the story. Ages 3-4.

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  • How Nigeria Became: A Story, and a Spear That Didn't Work

    History and drama come together in this intriguing new play from Gbolahan Obisesan about the beginnings of Nigeria, which became a unified country in 1914 – 100 years ago this year. The piece follows a troupe of female actors who stage a play for the British governor and his wife. But the story isn't exactly what the governor approves of. A typically audacious offering from the Unicorn, London's best kids' theatre. Ages 8-plus.

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  • Psst! Secrets of a White Rabbit

    This physical theatre puppet show from German performers Melanie Florschutz and Michael Dohnert returns to London this half-term. It follows a wayward rabbit that can balance on a tightrope and travel to far away fantasy lands. For families and children ages 2-plus.

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  • That Catherine Bennett Show

    Performer Bryony Kimmings has done the rounds with her recent show 'Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model' which looked at what happened when Kimmings and her nine-year-old niece Taylor created Catherine Bennett, a pop star that was a positive role model to young people and an alternative to the sexualised singers that dominate the music industry. Here, the two of them build on the five-star piece, both performing in 'That Catherine Bennett Show', a fun version for kids. Ages 6-plus.

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  • Fantastic Mr Fox

    It's almost physically impossible not to love the naughty fox who outwits a couple of idiotic farmers in Roald Dahl's classic kids book. Here his story of derring-do is made into a puppet show by north London's puppet theatre the Little Angel in time for half-term. Ages 4-11.

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Nosferatu

Here's a two for one: a show for halloween and a show to enthrall the kids with over half term. French company Bob theatre tell the story of a young lawyer who travels to the Carpathian mountains to close a sale for a strange count: someone who looks a little like a bat and a little like a garlic clove. It's the classic horror tale injected with lots of humour. Ages 8-plus.

Read more

  1. View the top ten as a countdown
  2. View the top ten as a list

Find more wonderful children's theatre

The sure-fire way to keep the whole family happy (and quiet). Enchant the little ones and delight the bigger ones with one of London's excellent family shows.

Visit our guide to family theatre in London


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