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My Neighbour Totoro, Studio Ghibli, 1988
Photo by Studio Ghibli

Top children’s theatre shows this half-term

Here’s our critics’ pick of the very best London theatre shows for kids this October half-term

Written by
Time Out London Theatre

Prise your kids away from their mobile phones this half-term with these ace theatre shows. London has tons of great children’s theatre during the October half-term (Saturday September 15 Sunday September 30 2022), and we’ve found some shows that’ll keep everyone from toddlers to teenagers to parents thoroughly entertained.

And if you’d rather leave the little ones at home, check our critics’ round-up of the best new theatre openings.

RECOMMENDED: Explore our full guide to half-term in London.

The best children’s theatre for October half-term 2022

As ever, the iconic Bankside venue runs one of the best line-ups of half-term activities of any theatre in London, from abridged storytelling versions of Shakespeare plays (aka Telling Tales, this time ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’) to sword-fighting workshops for all the family.

Matilda the Musical
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Seven Dials

'Matilda' must be making its creators, playwright Dennis Kelly and comedian-songsmith Tim Minchin, a very pair of proud parents…

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Barbican


‘My Neighbour Totoro’ is a lavish new RSC adaptation of the legendary Japanese animation Studio Ghibli’s 1988 film about a pair of young sisters who move to the countryside for the summer while their mother recovers from an illness. There, they encounter a world of magical creatures, including the eponymous Totoro, an ancient forest protector.

  • Theatre
  • Off-West End
  • Leicester Square

Scamp Theatre returns with its splendid puppet-driven family adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's popular book. The hapless Stick Man's domestic idyll – living up a tree with his Stick Lady Love and their trio of stick sprogs – is shattered when an enterprising dog mistakes him for a common or garden piece of wood. Ages 3+.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt
  • Theatre
  • Children's
  • Canonbury

‘We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one, what a beautiful day, we’re not scared.’ Michael Rosen’s rhythmic tale is very nicely adapted here by a sweet-throated troupe of Little Angel puppeteers…


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