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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+)

Red Riding Hood And The Wolf

Little Angel's new show tells the story of 'Red Riding Hood and the Wolf' from a paw-some new viewpoint. The big bad wolf explains why he's a lot nicer than he seems, in a smart reimagining of the classic fairy story by playwright Jon Barton. Ages five-plus.

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Little Angel Theatre , Islington Wednesday May 31 2017 - Sunday July 16 2017

Dogs Don't Do Ballet

This is one children's show where the adults are guaranteed to laugh as hard as the kids (and probably more). Little Angel's latest production tells the superbly silly and at times wonderfully surreal story of ballet-mad mutt, Biff, whose dream is to become a ballerina and dance alongside his owner, the similarly ballet-smitten Anna. Ages 2-6

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Little Angel Theatre , Islington Until Sunday July 16 2017

Happily Ever After

This fairytale-with-a-twist is a story of a queen who's desperate to marry off her son. But that 'Happily Ever After' ending is hard to come by. Action Transport Theatre use visual theatre and clowning to bring this story to life. Ages five-plus.

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Greenwich Theatre , Greenwich Thursday June 1 2017
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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

Horrible Histories: The Best of Barmy Britain

Treat the kids to a hysterical historical day out this half-term. The smart, funny children’s book series ‘Horrible Histories’ is brought to life in a series of colourful shows by The Birmingham Stage Company and their latest show at Hampton Court palace is an outdoor romp through the centuries, taking a sideways look at Britain in all its gory glory. Find out the gruesome truth behind the fates of Henry VIII’s wives, what actually happened to Guy Fawkes and just how quirky Queen Victoria really was. The one-hour show is staged in the Palace grounds – bring a blanket and a picnic then enjoy this theatrical feast of fun. Visit here for more information.  Prices: Live show only £12, child £7, under-fives free (but ticket required). Live show PLUS palace, maze and The Magic Garden entry £26, child £13, under-fives free (but ticket required).   

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Hampton Court Palace , London Sat May 27 - Sat Jun 3

Tales Of Birbal

This storytelling show from Mashi Theatre takes kids on a wild adventure through the tales of the Indian subcontinent. In 'Tales of Birbal', two quirky characters will use music, silliness and puppets to bring these ancient stories to life. Ages six-plus.

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Southbank Centre , South Bank Until Wednesday May 31 2017
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The Amazing Bubble Man

Everyone loves bubbles, so this event is capture kids' attention. Louis Pearl's entertaining show looks at the science behind bubbles, makes lots of really cool ones for excellent effect and gets the audience to join in with the fun too. Expect bubbles within bubbles, fog bubbles, bubble made by trumpets... the works. 

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Underbelly Festival , South Bank Until Sunday June 4 2017

The Girl And The Giraffe

This family puppet show looks at depression through the long-lashed eyes of a friendly giraffe. A girl spots him over the garden fence, and learns how to help him in a gentle look and healing and friendship.

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Polka Theatre , South Wimbledon Wednesday May 31 2017 - Thursday June 1 2017
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Farm Boy

'War Horse' has been galloping through the West End for years now. But what happens after this WWII adventure is laid to rest? Michael Morpurgo's sequel 'Farm Boy' is the story of an old man who shares his memories with his grandson, before the two go on a journey of their own. 'Farm Boy' is adapted by Daniel Buckroyd for Mercury Theatre Colchester. Ages six to eleven.

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Polka Theatre , South Wimbledon Wednesday May 31 2017 - Sunday June 4 2017
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Theatre for young children (0-4)

Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom

Kids' telly stars Holly (the fairy princess) and Ben (the elf) hit the stage in this bright and bouncy show for toddlers. The Little Kingdom is brought to life using ingeniously costumed actors, along with plenty of songs and silliness.

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New Wimbledon Theatre , Wimbledon Saturday June 3 2017 - Sunday June 4 2017

Dogs Don't Do Ballet

  This is one children's show where the adults are guaranteed to laugh as hard as the kids (and probably more). Little Angel's latest production tells the superbly silly and at times wonderfully surreal story of ballet-mad mutt, Biff, whose dream is to become a ballerina and dance alongside his owner, the similarly ballet-smitten Anna. Ages two to six. 

Read more
Little Angel Theatre , Islington Until Sunday July 16 2017

The Girl And The Giraffe

This family puppet show looks at depression through the long-lashed eyes of a friendly giraffe. A girl spots him over the garden fence, and learns how to help him in a gentle look and healing and friendship. Ages three to six.

Read more
Polka Theatre , South Wimbledon Wednesday May 31 2017 - Thursday June 1 2017
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Twinkle Twinkle

This interactive show for toddlers takes its inspiration from the nursery rhyme to take kids on a journey through the stars. 'Twinkle Twinkle', created by Touched Theatre, uses music, light, and textures to keep pint-sized audiences rapt. Suitable for adults and kids aged between 18 months and three years.

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Little Angel Theatre Studios , Canonbury Friday July 7 2017 - Saturday July 8 2017

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 Friday July 7 2017 - Sunday August 27 2017
See more of the best London shows for little ones

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 Tuesday May 30 2017 - Sunday December 17 2017

Horrible Histories: The Best of Barmy Britain

Treat the kids to a hysterical historical day out this half-term. The smart, funny children’s book series ‘Horrible Histories’ is brought to life in a series of colourful shows by The Birmingham Stage Company and their latest show at Hampton Court palace is an outdoor romp through the centuries, taking a sideways look at Britain in all its gory glory. Find out the gruesome truth behind the fates of Henry VIII’s wives, what actually happened to Guy Fawkes and just how quirky Queen Victoria really was. The one-hour show is staged in the Palace grounds – bring a blanket and a picnic then enjoy this theatrical feast of fun. Visit here for more information.  Prices: Live show only £12, child £7, under-fives free (but ticket required). Live show PLUS palace, maze and The Magic Garden entry £26, child £13, under-fives free (but ticket required).   

Read more
Hampton Court Palace , London Sat May 27 - Sat Jun 3
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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 Tuesday May 30 2017 - Sunday October 1 2017

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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Little Angel Theatre , Islington Tuesday May 30 2017 - Saturday September 2 2017
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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