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
  • The Gruffalo

    After its 2013 West End run, Tall Stories's musical adaptation of the award-winning children's book arrives at the Rose Theatre Kingston for a few days over half-term. Join Mouse on an adventurous journey through the deep, dark wood in the timeless children's classic.

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  • Skewbald Children's Theatre Festival

    This half-term, the Dugdale Centre in Enfield Town is catering for kids of all ages with its perky Skewbald festival. Opening with 'The Lighthouse Keeper's Cat', a story of the lighthouse keeper's cat who thinks he's unloved and runs off to find an adventure from The Rude Mechanicals  (Sun May 25) there's also a piece about what might be under your bed called 'A Hole in the Night' and an introduction to the world of Charles Dickens 'A Little Bit of Dickens' (Tue May 27). Ages 3-plus, times and prices vary.

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  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

    Another Roald Dahl adaptation sailed into the West End last year in the form of Sam Mendes's huge new Warner Brothers musical 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. It's a whiz-popping rave for the senses, with delicate, funny and kooky performances. Alex Jennings has replaced Douglas Hodge as central man Willy Wonka and this will likely sell out very quickly over half-term, so book up as early as possible.

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  • Joey's Circus Comes To Town

    Head down to the charming Puppet Theatre Barge this half term, currently moored in Little Venice. 'Joey's Circus Comes to Town' is a humorous show with traditional characters. Pretty Polly is a star, wowing the world on the tightrope but the Beadle wants to close the circus down. Toby the Dog comes to the rescue. Age 4-8.

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  • The Secret of Q

    Dutch Theatre company Het Filiaal come to London with a show about when it's good to play it safe and when it's good to test the rules. When G's grandfather goes missing, she decides to leave the house (something she's never done before) to find him. Ages 8-plus.

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  • Primetime

    Inspire the kids to try their hand at writing plays this half-term week with a visit to new writing theatre powerhouse the Royal Court.  Eight to 11 year-olds have written the ten-minute plays featured in this showcase, which runs at the Court before touring primary school across London. Schools from Southwark, Lewisham, Westminster and Kensington are taking part in the project.

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  • Matilda the Musical

    If you haven't already caught Tim Minchin, the RSC and Dennis Kelly's masterpiece of a musical then this half-term would be the perfect time to get in on the action. It's an anarchic, brilliant piece based on Roald Dahl's kids book about an extraordinary young girl. The entire family are bound to enjoy this one. Just make sure you book early - tickets are available still throughout the week, but there aren't many cheaper options and the rest are quickly being snapped up.

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  • The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean

    A return for for this enchanting piece in which 'scrapologist' Patricia Baker unearths intriguing secrets and eventually solves the mystery of Josephine Bean. Ages 7-plus.

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  • I, Peaseblossom/I, Caliban

    Brilliantly inventive theatre maker Tim Crouch performs two plays each from the eyes of sidelined Shakespeare characters. In 'I, Peaseblossom' we get a version of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' told from the perspective of neglected fairy Peaseblossom, whereas 'I, Caliban' has Caliban from 'The Tempest' giving his version of events. Modern and original texts blend together in these funny, original show for everyone aged 8-plus.

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  • Skitterbang Island

    Half-term may be the perfect point to catch this puppet opera, which is a co-production between Polka Theatre and north London's great puppet theatre Little Angel. It's set on a bleak, craggy island in the very north of the world where a little girl meets a strange creature. Little Angel is famous for its evocative puppetry and this piece by Phil Porter and Martin Ward is directed by the Little Angel's ex-artistic director (and Polka's new one) Peter Glanville. Ages 3-6.

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The Gruffalo

After its 2013 West End run, Tall Stories's musical adaptation of the award-winning children's book arrives at the Rose Theatre Kingston for a few days over half-term. Join Mouse on an adventurous journey through the deep, dark wood in the timeless children's classic.

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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