If you’re a regular visitor here you’ll know that we’re big fans of live theatre – and not just Christmas pantos. There’s something magical about children’s theatre where their imagination is stretched, the music is played live on stage and the interaction between children & the actors is priceless.
So I’ve put together a list of some of our favourite children’s theatre for the summer holidays. Events which are in and around Oxfordshire and London, areas we frequent. And don’t forget, if you book via Kids Week children’s tickets in London theatres are free this summer!
This show is adapted from one of Julia Donaldson’s & Axel Scheffler’s many brilliant books, and is produced by Scamp Productions – the award winning people behind Stick Man.
Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay are excellent scarecrows (they scare a lot of crows!); they fall in love and decide to get married! But Betty has a list which Harry decides he’ll fulfil before the wedding. But it’s not all plain sailing for poor Harry and when the farmer replaces him with a dashing, daring & ever so cool Reginald Rake, things really take a turn for the worse!
We’re heading to see this at the weekend, so I’ll report back!
Leicester Sq Theatre is so easy to get to with children, which also helps when heading into London. It’s in the heart of the Square, five minutes walk from Leicester Sq tube station, and once inside it’s a small(ish) theatre and all seats have good access. You’re never far away from the stage.
Leicester Square Theatre, London. Tickets available 14 July – 4 September
Little Mister LOVES this book by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort; in fact, anything that involves pants, bums or farts is enough to make him laugh out loud!
This production is, as you can imagine, totally zany with lots of visual effects and props. Anything to do with underpants you know will be upbeat and – if you’ve read the book with its funny rhymes – accompanying songs will be equally funny.
This one is suitable for 3 years plus, and for the older children I’m sure they’ll find something to giggle at when pants are being paraded on stage!
Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury. Tickets available throughout August
You can’t escape the Roald Dahl centenary celebrations taking place throughout this year, and for the holidays my daughter has to do a project on one of his books, so this production at Polka Theatre caught my eye.
James and the Giant Peach is all about when a boy receives an unexpected gift of a bag of glowing, wriggling lights, and a promise of magic! When James Trotter drops this bag underneath a dead tree magic does happen and his enormous peach grows! This is the start of his magical adventure, which reenacted on stage follows closely the books storyline.
Suitable for children 5years plus.
Polka Theatre, The Broadway, Wimbledon. Tickets available until 14 August 2016
Sometimes theatre productions are too far removed from their TV show, which can be challenging for children to follow as they go into the auditorium with a certain expectation. This isn’t one of them.
Lazy Town Live will be very familiar to anyone who watches it on TV. Sportacus, Stephanie, Ziggy, Robbie Rotten are all in the production, and it has some amazing acrobatics & musical routines with lots of original tracks from the TV show. In return, this show expects lots of audience participation, so be ready to take part!
High Wycombe Swan Theatre, Bucks. Tickets available 1 – 2 September
The Gruffalo? What’s a Gruffalo?
Do I really need to tell you?!
This is a classic book, again by Julia Donaldson, and the theatre production is just as magical & classy as the book.
It’s witty and humorous and follows the book, and the characters have been ‘pimped up’ slightly to exaggerate their characteristics. There’s a gold-bandana wearing snake, a stuffy old RAF owl and a tweed jacketed fox!
There are lots of songs which you know are going to be catchy and stay in your head for AGES, but the children will love it!
It’s not too scary, suitable for children aged 3yrs plus and complimentary tickets for those under 18months
Don’t forget, you can get free tickets throughout August using Kids Live! Website
The Gruffalo, Lyric Theatre, Piccadilly. Tickets available in July through to Jan 2017
We saw this production at Warwick Arts Centre a little while ago, and it is just beautiful. It has amazing attention to detail and it looks & feels as if you’ve walked into the classic Judith Kerr book and all of its illustrations.
Little Mister loved this production as every time the doorbell rang the expectation is ‘oh, is this the Tiger?’ …but there are plenty of surprises first! The songs are super catchy *be prepared to have them in your head for weeks!* It’s not surprising this production received an Olivier Award nomination.
Cadogan Hall, London. Available throughout August & September
Horrible Histories is such a great way of bringing history to life. Mademoiselle saw ‘Horrible History Groovy Greeks’ at The Aylesbury Theatre during half term, and loved it, particularly the Minotaur! This is a special production which introduces us to some of the barmiest Britons in history, from battling Boudicca to surviving gunpowder Guy!
If it’s anything like the other productions It’ll be well worth the ticket!
Don’t forget, you can bag yourself free kids tickets by visiting Kids Free
The Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London. Tickets available throughout August 2016.
This was the first theatre experience my children had. The theatre is small enough for Under 3s to enjoy & it’s very interactive. Everyone sits on the floor, and there’s no stage as such as the production happening around you. Children are encouraged to engage with the production and the actors are very good at adlibbing around them!
This summer its Tales from the Shed sees Naughty Brer Rabbit leaves his usual patch heading for the Olympics, meeting a host of characters & taking part in competitions on the way. But will he win or does he cheat?!
Tales from the Shed is suitable for 0 – 6 years.
ChickenShed Theatre, Enfield. Tickets available 27 July – 5 August. The Theatre is also hosting a ‘Tales Big Day Out’ for older children & theatre workshops for 5 – 11 year olds shows. Check website for details
I must admit we don’t know this book, but if it’s from the authors of Aliens Love Underpants, it’s bound to be funny!
This show introduces us to young inventor Monty, who tries creates a world of wacky inventions and incredible monsters, but sometimes his invention’s don’t always work!
Finally he creates Monstersaurus; a big hairy monster, but is he scary? His methods for frightening away other monsters are somewhat unconventional!
Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, B12. Tickets available for Sunday 21 August only
Whatever you do this summer, I hope you enjoy some live theatre somewhere!
I'm Tracey, nice to meet you. Mummyshire was 'born' three years ago after we moved from London to the Oxford countryside. Here I chart our journey adjusting to our new lives, the challenges of being in the countryside & surviving parenthood.
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