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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+)

Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore

Recommended

Only three words feature in this bonkers comedy for young children. Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore are at the beach. But the kids theatre cliches stop there. This is the handiwork of rising star playwright Gary Owen and experimental theatremaker Tim Crouch, and they've come up with a gloriously original show about what language can do.

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Unicorn Theatre , London Bridge Until Sunday April 9 2017

To Dream Again

Sophie tries to get her parents to remember how they first fell in love, in this new spin on 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' for young people. Toby Hulse's play mixes the magic of the enchanted forest with Shakespeare's themes of love and hilarious befuddlement. Ages seven-plus.

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Polka Theatre , South Wimbledon Until Sunday April 2 2017

The Velveteen Rabbit

Recommended

This imaginative picture book adaptation is a story of a boy and his favourite stuffed animal - a rabbit who longs to be real. Back in London after a stint on Broadway, it's a beautiful bunny story that's perfect for Easter. Ages four-plus.

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Unicorn Theatre , London Bridge Until Saturday April 15 2017

The Insect Circus

This quirky family show is a celebration of all things creepy and crawly. 'The Insect Circus' stars familiar circus characters and an imaginatively-costumed host of zany bugs. Ages 6-plus.

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Albany Theatre , New Cross Tuesday April 4 2017 - Saturday April 8 2017

The Curious Adventures Of Pinocchio

Fairytale's most famous fibber, Pinocchio, comes to life in this storytelling performance featuring Cbeebies star Patrick Lynch. Marcello Chiarenza's new approach to the story uses quirky props and simple staging to entrall kids with Pinocchio's curious adventures. Ages four-plus.

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Watermans , Brentford Sunday March 26 2017 - Sunday April 2 2017

A Real Alien Adventure

Do aliens really exist? Ripstop Theatre help kids find out, in the thrilling space show 'A Real Alien Adventure'. Miss Amelia Buttersnap and her amazing array of gadgets will set out with her cat Tibbles on a mission to prove that there really is someone out there. Ages three to nine.

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Watermans , Brentford Sunday April 2 2017

The Missing Light

Two elderly neighbours in a tiny fishing village go on an adventure in this daytime kids' show, which is pitching up at The Old Vic over the Easter hols. Created by Mark Arends for Make Mend and Do, 'The Missing Light' uses puppetry and film to tell the story using quirky live animation. Ages seven-plus. 

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Old Vic , Southwark Until Tuesday April 4 2017

Zippos Circus: Jigit!

Entertain your kids the old-fashioned way with time-honoured circus mongers Zippo's. Their primary-coloured big top tent is hitting London's green spaces with their latest show 'Jigit!', which includes clowning, acrobatics, Cossack riders from Kahzakstan and motorcycle daredevilry. Tigers, lions and elephants might be a thing of the past, but standards are kept up with performing pets, including canine quartet the Hot Dogs and trained budgies.

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Blackheath , Blackheath Wednesday April 5 2017 - Tuesday April 18 2017

Peter And The Wolf

Puppet duo On The Other Hand perform 'Peter and the Wolf' using a handpainted set and gorgeous traditional puppets. It's the story of a boy who lives on the edge of a huge forest, and escapes a wolf's clutches thanks to a horde of animal friends. Ages four to nine. 

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Little Angel Theatre , Islington Thursday April 6 2017 - Saturday April 8 2017

Race Horse Company: Around

This imaginative family circus show from Finnish Race Horse Company might not involve actual horses, but there are plenty of other treats in store: hobby horses, hula hooping, conjured animals and amazing acrobatic feats. Ages four-plus.

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Jacksons Lane , Highgate Wednesday April 12 2017 - Thursday April 13 2017
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Theatre for young children (0-4)

Glisten

'Glisten' is an interactive show for babies is inspired by the marvellous world of shiny, shiny foil. It's the result of a collaboration between artists Daniel Naddafy and Phoebe Stubbs. A dark theatre will fill with rustly, reflective surfaces, creating a gentle sensory landscape for them to explore. Ages 0-18 months.

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Half Moon Young People's Theatre , Limehouse Thursday April 6 2017

Dough!

Whether it's a sponge cake, a Yorkshire pudding, or a naan bread, we all love a bit of dough. This kids' show by Olivia Furber's uses the sights, smells and sounds of baking to explore what communities have in common. Ages three-plus.

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Albany Theatre , New Cross Saturday April 15 2017 - Sunday May 14 2017

The Homeless Panda

Journey through China's Min Mountains in this puppet-filled family show from HodgePodge Theatre. It's the story of a homeless panda who has to go in search of love - and bamboo - and meets a host of animals along the way. Ages three-plus.

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Little Angel Theatre , Islington Sunday April 9 2017 - Monday April 10 2017

Sarah And Duck's Big Top Birthday

CBeebies stars 'Sarah & Duck' hit the stage for the first time at Wimbledon's Polka Theatre. They're holding a big top birthday party for the scarf lady who lives in the garden, in a giggle-worthy adventure with puppets, stories and songs. Aimed at ages three to six, all ages welcome.

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Polka Theatre , South Wimbledon Thursday April 6 2017 - Sunday May 14 2017
See more of the best London shows for little ones

Theatre for all the family

Matilda the Musical

Recommended

'My mummy says I'm a miracle,' lisps a pampered mini-me at a purgatorial kiddies' birthday party at the outset of this delicious, treacly-dark family show. The obnoxious ma and pa of its titular, gifted, pint-sized heroine are not, of course, quite so doting. But 'Matilda' must be making its creators, playwright Dennis Kelly and comedian-songsmith Tim Minchin, a very pair of proud parents. Opening to rave reviews in Stratford-upon Avon before transferring to the West End in 2011 and snatching up Olivier Awards with all the alacrity of a sticky-fingered child in a sweetshop, Matthew Warchus's RSC production remains a treat. With hindsight, Kelly and Minchin's musical, born of the 1988 novel by that master of the splendidly grotesque Roald Dahl, is a little too long and, dramatically, a tad wayward. But like 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. The past few months have seen some cast changes, including, alas, the departure of Bertie Carvel's tremendous Miss Trunchbull, headmistress of the dread Crunchem Hall School, former Olympic hammer-thrower and a gorgon of monumental nastiness, complete with scarily Thatcher-esque tics of purse-lipped gentility and faux concern. David Leonard doesn't quite match the squirm-inducing, hair-raising detail of Carvel in the role, but his more butch, granite-faced version is fantastically horrible nonetheless. And if Paul Kaye as Matilda's loathsom

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Cambridge Theatre , Covent Garden Until Sunday December 17 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