Top 10 children's theatre shows this half-term

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

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.


Britain's Best Recruiting Sergeant

As always fabulous children's theatre the Unicorn manage to find a unique way into an important bit of history. To commemorate the centenary of WWI, they stage this play about Vesta Tilley, the remarkable male impersonator from the music halls of the early 20th century who recruited young men to fight. Who says learning stops when school does? Ages 8-plus.

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Unicorn Theatre Friday February 13 2015 - Sunday March 15 2015

Yeh Shen: The Chinese Cinderella

That classic fairytale 'Cinderella' gets an Asian makeover with excellent Yellow Earth theatre company who performs the tale of the orphaned girl  using puppetry, live music and Bejing opera. Ages 6-plus.

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Albany Theatre Saturday January 31 2015

Imagine Children's Festival

As always, the Southbank Centre maintain their status as one of the best cultural hubs to hang out in over half term with this festival for kids. There's a huge amount on, from dance and music to film and comedy. But the theatre offerings are particularly exciting. A highlight is 'Alice's House of Cards' (14-22 Feb) taking place over half term, which chimes with the Southbank Centre's celebration of the 150th anniversary of 'Alice in Wonderland'. Led by two actors, children are encouraged to respond to the piece which is a kind of installation and a play all in one. Plus there's classic kids theatre from 'Charlie and Lola's Best Bestest Play' (16-20 Feb) and a new, fantastical retelling 'The Princess and the Pea' by Mike Kenny (18-19 Feb).

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Southbank Centre Monday February 9 2015 - Sunday February 22 2015

50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)

Despite the title, parents need not be wary of this show from German theatre company Fundus. Or not too wary... It's a cheeky, mischievous show that offers up young audiences the chance to try things they thought were banned. Like cooking a meal in a dishwasher. Ages 3-10

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Unicorn Theatre Saturday February 14 2015 - Tuesday February 17 2015

Dotty the Dragon

While the rest of the Lyric Theatre gets a revamp, the space's trusty studio continues to stage great children's shows. This one is Blunderbus's fairytale about the dragon Dotty. Ages 3-7.

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Lyric Hammersmith Tuesday February 17 2015 - Saturday February 21 2015


Keep up the lessons over half term surreptitiously with this festival from SmashfestUK who want to keep kids interested in science, technology, engineering and maths. It's a week long series of events all themed around an asteroid hurtling towards planet earth. Information about the line-up is scarce, but promised is theatre, workshops, music and more. Visit the SmashfestUK website to see the full list of events.

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Various London venues Saturday February 14 2015 - Sunday February 22 2015

Handa's Surprise

The brilliant puppet theatre the Little Angel head out on tour over half-term and beyond with this vibrant puppet and singing tale about a girl on a journey to Kenya with a basket of fruit for her friends. It's based on Eileen Browne's colourful 1995 picturebook. Ages 2-5.

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Greenwich Theatre Sunday February 15 2015 - Sunday March 22 2015

Red Riding Hood and the Wolf Who Tried to Eat Her

Half-term at the floating Puppet Theatre sees a revival of an old classic where Red Riding Hood has to outwit the big bad wolf. Deborah Jones's retelling of the scary fairytale is expressive and witty. Age 4-plus.

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Puppet Theatre Barge Saturday January 31 2015 - Sunday March 15 2015

The Insect Circus

Mad, surreal variety performance for kids that love the creepy crawlies. 'The Insect Circus' has been around for a while now, but this half-term there's promise of some zany new bugs to delight in. Ages 2-plus.

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Jacksons Lane Tuesday February 17 2015 - Sunday February 22 2015
Nik Palmer

The Three Billy Pigs

Get the kids aware of the environment with this fairytale mash up. 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff' and 'The Three Little Pigs' are mixed together with songs and puppetry from kids's company Noisy Oyster at London's best puppet theatre. Ages 3-8.

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Little Angel Theatre Wednesday February 18 2015 - Sunday February 22 2015