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Children's theatre in London

Keep the kids quiet with a bit of culture at one of London's family-friendly shows

'Grandad Me and Teddy Too'

Even the smallest members of the family enjoy the odd stage show. Here are the Time Out theatre team's recommendations for kids' theatre and which performances will suit the very little ones, the nearly big ones, and the grown ups too. If you're planning ahead for the school holidays, check out top 10 children's theatre shows this half-term and our 101 things to do in London with kids. Or for treats the whole family can enjoy, have a look at our favourite West End theatre shows.

Theatre for children (5+)

Children Are Stinky

As the kiddie-baiting title amply demonstrates, Aussie circus group Circus Trick Tease like a joke. 'Children are Stinky' is a family comedy show that mixes zany humour and amazing feats of dare-devilry, including acrobatics, chair-balancing, and hula-hooping that'll put the most talented ten-year-old to shame.

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Underbelly Festival , South Bank Until Thursday July 27 2017

Adventures in Wonderland

Kids are invited on an underground odyssey in this immersive show inspired by 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. Playing alongside its older sister 'Alice's Adventures Underground', it lets kids weave their way through a host of fantastically decorated rooms. There's also a chance to join in a big topsy-turvey tea party, and to play croquet with the Queen of Hearts. Ages five-plus.  

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The Vaults , Waterloo Until Sunday September 3 2017

Extravaganza Macabre

Playful theatre scamps Little Bulb take over Battersea Arts Centre's new courtyard theatre space with a melodrama that harks back to the theatre’s Victorian heyday. Click through for review.

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Battersea Arts Centre , Battersea Until Saturday July 29 2017
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The Borrowers

The teeny tiny family who live under floorboards are going on a life-sized adventure at the Polka Theatre this summer. Charles Way's adaptation of Mary Norton's book 'The Borrowers' is a story of what happens when Arrietty and her family are discovered by humans - and have to flee to find a new home. Staged using puppetry, new songs, and plenty of excitement. Ages five to eleven.

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Polka Theatre , South Wimbledon Until Sunday August 20 2017

Grimm's Fairy Tales

What could be Grimm-er then a show in a graveyard? Pandemonium Performance are back in Stoke Newington's Abney Park Cemetery with an outdoor promenade play inspired by classic tales including 'Hansel & Gretel', 'Rumpelstiltskin' and 'Red Riding Hood'. Recommended for ages ten-plus. 

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Abney Park Cemetery , Stoke Newington Until Sunday July 30 2017
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Theatre for young children (0-4)

Hatch

The Royal Opera are teaming up with Polka Theatre to create this musical feast for kids. It's the handiwork of Brazilian percussionist and composer Adriano Adewale, whose music tells the story of an egg who discovers a world of incredible sounds for the first time. 'Hatch' is a joyful multi-sensory show for children aged two to five.

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Polka Theatre , South Wimbledon Until Sunday August 27 2017
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Theatre for all the family

Matilda the Musical

Recommended

'Matilda' must be making its creators, playwright Dennis Kelly and comedian-songsmith Tim Minchin, a very pair of proud parents. Like the curly-haired little girl in the famous nursery rhyme, when it is good, it is very, very good. And it's even better when it's horrid. 

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Cambridge Theatre , Covent Garden Until Sunday May 27 2018

Stomp

This junkyard dance and percussion spectacular is custom-built to entertain older kids - and Mums who like buff men in vests. Running since 2002, it's a fusion of music, physical theatre, and sheer mad energy.

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Ambassadors Theatre , Covent Garden Until Sunday January 7 2018

The Lion King

Nothing prepares you for the sheer impact of 'The Lion King's opening sequence. With the surge of 'Circle Of Life' reverberating through your chest, Julie Taymor's animal creations march on, species by species. For a global blockbuster, 'The Lion King's absolute theatricality is astonishing. It's perfect for a musical, allowing both distinct flavours and an eclectic carnival spirit. 

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Lyceum Theatre , Covent Garden Until Sunday December 3 2017
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The Hunting Of The Snark

A ragtag crew of adventurers set out to catch the mysterious Snark in this musical version of Lewis Carroll's famous nonsense poem. It opened in Cardiff last year, where it landed strong reviews for its up-to-date approach and quirky cast of puppets. 'The Hunting of the Snark' is adapted by playwright Annabel Wigoder from Lewis Carroll's poem. It also features an acoustic guitar soundtrack by Gareth Cooper, and is directed by Gemma Colclough. Suitable for the whole family.     

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Vaudeville Theatre , Charing Cross Wednesday July 26 2017 - Saturday September 2 2017

Tales from the Arabian Nights

Flying carpets, magic lamps, beautiful maidens and adventuring sailors: the stories of the Arabian Nights have captured kids' imaginations for centures before Disney's 'Aladdin'. This outdoor promenade show from London Bubble will tell some of Scheherazade's best stories in two South London parks, Greenwich Park and Southwark Park. 'Tales from the Arabian Nights' is the handiwork of playwright Farhana Sheikh, who first created it for community-focused company London Bubble. This revival, directed by Jonathan Petherbridge, with designs by Yasuko Hasegawa, is a welcoming show for all ages - and you can even bring the family mutt along

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Southwark Park , Rotherhithe Tuesday August 1 2017 - Saturday August 19 2017
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Comments

6 comments
Lucy Limon
Lucy Limon

Which play does that top photo show, the one with the train steaming down the middle of the theatre?? That looks amazing. Thanks

Lucy Limon
Lucy Limon

Which play does that top photo show, the one with the train steaming down the middle of the theatre?? That looks amazing. Thanks

Andrzej
Andrzej

Re: Elaine: the smaller theatres tend to be represented more by the 'for children' and 'for young children' tabs at the top of the screen - if you click on them you'll see shows at the Little Angel et al, it's just that the genuinely 'family friendly' shows (ie anyone of any age could see them) tend to gravitate towards the West End while the specialist children's theatre tend to put on shows that are actively aimed at children only. Might rethink this one if it's not clear!

elaine turner
elaine turner

this sight is too west end based- what is needed is some information regarding small theatres that we can take our kids to without getting a new mortgage