Even the smallest members of the family can enjoy the theatre. Enjoy our picks of the theatre, shows and 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 all the family
'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.
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.
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.
Theatre for children (5+)
A slice of delicious chocolate cake disappears in one of Michael Rosen's hilarious kids' poems, packed full of lip-smacking language. Peter Glanville and Barb Jungr have turned it into a musical for kids, their follow-up to hugely popular family adaptations 'We're All Going On A Bear Hunt' and 'How To Hide A Lion'. Ages four-plus
Forget crop-circles and abductions – according to ‘Aliens Love Underpants’, extraterrestrials travel to us from lightyears away solely to steal our precious undergarments. Adam Bampton-Smith’s adaptation of Claire Freedman’s bestselling children’s book tells the story of Timmy, a whimsical boy, whose dreams of becoming a spaceman come true when he journeys to Planet Janet...
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.
This magical show uses ingenious hi-tech gloves to tell the story of old gentleman who befriends a rather unusual space rabbit after she crashlands on his planet. It's staged by Filament Theatre, who've masterminded this offbeat adventure through a mysterious land. Ages six-plus
This imaginative visual show by Lempen Puppet Theatre creates a whole zoo's worth of animals from just cardboard. 'Cardboard Carnival' uses Camille Saint-Saëns' famous piece 'Carnival of the Animals' as the soundtrack for a simple, wordless piece of puppetry magic. Ages four to 10.
Theatre for young children (0-4)
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.