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Children's theatre in London - the best shows for kids of all ages

From tiny tots to older kids, we've got your next family theatre trip covered.

By Time Out London Theatre |
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'The Paper Dolls'
Ellie Kuttz 'The Paper Dolls'

It's never to early to introduce kids to the magic of theatre, and London's bursting with shows that'll delight junior audiences. There are gentle puppet shows for babies and toddlers. Rainbow bright, song-stuffed adventures for young kids. Smart dramas that are sure to hold teenagers rapt. And spectacular musicals that'll get the whole family on side.

Our kids’ theatre page contains information for children’s shows running in London theatres this month and next month, and is broken down into three categories.

Theatre for all the family is suitable for any age, including adults without children.

Theatre for older children is specifically aimed at school-age children and teenagers.

Theatre for babies, pre-schoolers and younger children does what the title suggests, and also includes shows suitable for younger school-age children.

 

Theatre for all the family

Theatre, Drama

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Apollo Shaftesbury, Shaftesbury Avenue
5 out of 5 stars

Watch out, tired revivals: there’s a new kid in town. Inspired by a 2011 BBC documentary about a teenager who wanted to be a drag queen, the show follows 16-year-old Jamie on his journey to be himself. And it's cool and energetic enough to thrill both secondary school kids and their parents.

Theatre, West End

The Lion King

Lyceum Theatre, Covent Garden
4 out of 5 stars

The posters have been plastered around the London Underground for years – long enough for this show to become the most successful musical of all time – but nothing prepares you for the sheer impact of 'The Lion King's opening sequence…

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Theatre, Children's

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Bridge Theatre, Tower Bridge

For its first ever family Christmas show, the Bridge Theatre bags the London transfer of director Sally Cookson’s devised adaptation of CS Lewis’s beloved kids’ fantasy novel, which ran to great acclaim at Leeds Playhouse in 2017…

Theatre, Musicals

Matilda the Musical

Cambridge Theatre, Seven Dials
4 out of 5 stars

'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…

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The Water Babies, String Theatre, London International Mime Festival 2020
Photograph: String Theatre
Theatre, Children's

The Water Babies

Multiple venues

A little chimney sweep, born into a cruel world, finds his suffering is ended when he is swept away and turned into a ‘water baby’, winding up in an enchanted underwater kingdom full of fish and fairies. 

See more recommended family shows

Theatre for older children

Theatre, Children's

The Bee in Me

Unicorn Theatre, Borough and London Bridge

Rachel Bagshaw directs a new production of a play by contemporary German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig, a bouyant look at challenges of urban life for an isolated and neglected child. Suitable for ages 8-12. 

Theatre, Children's

I, Cinna (the poet)

Unicorn Theatre, Borough and London Bridge

Tim Crouch returns to his series of shows for young people focusing on minor Shakespearean characters. This time it's the turn of Cinna – a poet torn to pieces by an angry mob in 'Julius Caesar'. Hear his side of the story in a one-man performance from the always mischievously engaging Crouch. 

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The Pixie and the Pudding, Little Angel 2020
Photograph: Suzi Corker
Theatre, Children's

The Pixie and the Pudding

Little Angel Theatre, Islington
3 out of 5 stars

Most of London’s glut of seasonal family theatre shows closed on the first weekend of January, but the Little Angel still has plenty of leftovers to go round, with both of its Christmas shows running into February…

Theatre, Children's

The Wolves in the Walls

Little Angel Theatre, Islington

Neil Gaiman gets the puppet treatment in this new stage version of his graphic novel. Lucy is convinced there are wolves living in the walls of her home, but her family won't believe her – until the day they burst out. Toby Olié directs a spooky, frenetic show, featuring original songs by Adam Pleeth and Carl Grose. 

See more kids theatre recommendations

Theatre for babies, pre-schoolers and younger children

Theatre, Children's

Me...

Little Angel Theatre, Islington
4 out of 5 stars

‘Me…’, is a charmfest that’s unlikely to upset even the most lily-livered pre-schooler. Featuring a cute bundle of day-old penguin fluff and an icy antarctic environment shaped like a half pipe, it is simple, short and sweet…

'The Paper Dolls'
Ellie Kuttz
Nightlife

The Paper Dolls

Little Angel Theatre, Islington

A returning version of a stage adaptation of Julia Donaldson's 'The Paper Dolls', about a little girl who cuts out a string of paper dolls and takes them on an adventure. London's premiere puppet theatre brings it beautifully to life. Ages 3-7.

See more of the best London shows for little ones

New theatre this month

The Duchess of Malfi, Almeida Theatre, 2019
Photograph: Nadav Kander
Theatre

Top 10 theatre openings this month

London's theatre calendars are flooded with acclaimed shows, big names and hotshot directors, and there's no way anyone can see them all. As a starting point, the Time Out theatre team have picked ten shows opening in London this month that you won't regret booking for.

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