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Dinosaur World Live (Photo: Robert Day)

Dinosaur World Live (Photo: Robert Day)

9 fantastic new family shows to see this year

Robin Johnson

By Robin Johnson First Published 11 April 2019, Last Updated 23 April 2020

With Easter just around the corner, it’s pretty easy to get everybody excited about the upcoming chocolate eggs galore. But before the cream eggs mysteriously disappear (it’s always the person you’d least expect), and the kids head back to school, it’s important to spend a bit of family time – and get a date in the diary which the whole family can look forward to. So why not getting planning a family theatre trip to London’s Theatreland for the months to come?

Here are family shows for 2019 which we’re sure will get the whole crew buzzing in anticipation (at least until homework time).

And don’t forget about Kids Week in August!

The Cat In The Hat

The Cat In The Hat tickets at Rose Theatre Kingston

Until 21 April; Rose Theatre Kingston

Who doesn’t love all things Dr. Seuss? Wacky characters, glorious colours, infectious rhymes – and those can just be found on the front covers of his books.

And it’s beyond question that The Cat In The Hat, the family-friendly tale of feline frivolity, is a classic Seussian explosion of madcap hilarity and mischievous invention. This stage version captures that perfectly, telling the story of what happens when a cat tries to rescue two siblings from the dullness of a rainy day – but ends up turning their lives upside down! It’s a riot!


My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty

English National Ballet's Sleeping Beauty

From 16-27 April; Peacock Theatre

There are few sights sweeter to the eye than a well-executed ballet, but it’s not an art form always associated with family-friendly entertainment. My First Ballet are out to change that misconception with several tweaks which help little ones get the most out of the show, too.

Sleeping Beauty will feature a narrator especially for young audience members, as well as shortened versions of Tchaikovsky’s iconic music. What’s more, the popular story will be told by second-year students of the English National Ballet School, guaranteeing a high-quality introduction to the world of ballet for all young ‘uns.

Where Is Peter Rabbit?

Miriam Margolyes & Griff Rhys Jones lend their voices to Where Is Peter Rabbit? (Photo: Steve Finn)

Until 28 April; Theatre Royal Haymarket

Lots of us grew up surrounded by Beatrix Potter’s beloved characters and stories, from Mrs Tiggy-Winkle to Mr McGregor, Jemima Puddle-Duck and, of course, Peter Rabbit. And this new show at the Theatre Royal Haymarket is the perfect chance to return to that majestic world.

Where Is Peter Rabbit? brings the Beatrix Potter stories to life through beautiful puppetry, delightful original songs, a sprinkle of magic – and the voices of Miriam Margolyes and Griff Rhys Jones. The show has enjoyed acclaimed runs elsewhere in the UK, and now arrives for young and old alike in London to cherish and enjoy.

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium

From 27 June; London Palladium

Here’s a family show to get every generation dreaming again!

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is coming to the majesty of the London Palladium for a 50th anniversary production this summer – and you can be sure it’ll be packed out by young ones experiencing the delightful show for the first time, as well as those returning to it for another bout of joy.

Telling the well-known story of Jacob and his favourite son, Joseph, this multi-coloured masterpiece is a great introduction to musical theatre for young families – provided you can stop the parents from joining in with “Any Dream Will Do”, that is!

The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo at the Lyric TheatreThe Gruffalo

From 3 July; Lyric Theatre

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s stories are a constant source of joy for London’s family theatre scene. The duo have penned the likes of Room On The Broom, Stick Man and The Gruffalo’s Child, consistent seasonal family favourites. Undoubtedly one of their biggest hits, however, has been the live stage version of The Gruffalo – the classic book all about a very daring Mouse and its bold adventure into the dark, deep wood…

Songs, laughs, and monstrous fun – the West End treat that is The Gruffalo promises an hour of pure delight for all ages.

Dinosaur World Live

Dinosaur World Live (Photo: Robert Day)

From 18 July; Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre

We hope you’ve packed your map, boots and explorer’s hat – because adventure is calling. Dinosaur World Live will get the whole family delving into the jurassic in an action-packed showcase of jaw-dropping dinosaurs.

From the Triceratops to the Giraffatitan, the Microraptor to the Segnosaurus – oh, and did somebody say “T-Rex”? – you’ll get the chance to learn plenty about the dinosaurs… before meeting the remarkably life-like creations in person. It’s the family adventure of the summer!

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain – Part Four

Horrible Histories Barmy Britain Part 4 (Photo: Mark Douet)

From 1 August; Apollo Theatre

We all want to meet people from history. The trouble is everyone is dead! So luckily for us, Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain – Part Four is back in the West End this summer!

Horrible Histories’ stage shows have proven massive hits in Theatreland for eight years running now, and this latest edition sees audiences confronted by the ruthless Romans, a terribly-toothed Queen Elizabeth I, a headless man.. and more! History’s never been more gloriously horrible fun!

Big The Musical

Big The Musical (Photo: Alastair Muir)

From 6 September; Dominion Theatre

Something Big is happening at the Dominion Theatre this autumn – and it’s starring The Wanted’s Jay McGuiness!

The hit stage adaptation of the family favourite Tom Hanks film is on its way to the West End, telling the story of young Josh Baskin, who wishes he was Big – and suddenly is! Living and working in a grown-up well, his innocence and imagination transforms the world around him – with heart-warming moments and plenty of laughs along the way!

Mary Poppins

Zizi Strallen (Mary Poppins) and Charlie Stemp (Bert) in Mary Poppins (Photo: Seamus Ryan)

From 23 October; Prince Edward Theatre

Practically perfect in every way, Mary Poppins is the stage musical based on the classic family film of the same name. The story of a remarkable Nanny, who restores order to the dysfunctional Banks family, is packed with unforgettable songs, eye-popping scenery and magical moments which’ll have parents and children’s jaws dropping throughout.

As sweet as a Spoonful Of Sugar, and as fun as a Jolly Holiday, this internationally award-winning musical is truly unmissable. You’ll be hooked quicker than you can say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”!


And some returning favourites…

Of course, there are a whole host of spectacular family-friendly plays and musicals on offer the whole year round.

From the awe-inspiring visuals of Agrabah in Disney’s Aladdin, to the majesty of the Serengeti in Disney’s The Lion King; from the guitar-thrashing rebellion that is School Of Rock The Musical, to the hilariously mischievous Matilda The Musical; and from the ABBA-hit-fuelled Mamma Mia!, to the suitable-for-all murder mystery of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, world-class family theatre is on offer every way you turn in Theatreland.

First published 24 January 2019; updated 11 April 2019

There are plenty more family-friendly shows around in 2019. To find out more, visit our London Theatre Tickets page.


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