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Rufus Hound as Mr Toad in The Wind In The Willows (Photo: Marc Brenner Jamie Hendry Productions)

Classic children’s books on stage this summer

Published July 5, 2017

We all remember our first book: the first time we turned a page and set our imaginations to work, embarking on a thrilling adventure or magical exploration of a world beyond our own.

And we all remember the first time we were there, in person, to see such a world explode into life on stage in front of us, with sets, costumes and characters stuck in our minds in their full resplendent glory.

It’s this mystical sense of discovery, awe and wonder which a huge number of shows in the capital will imbue upon thousands of children this summer, merging the classic stories dreamed up by Britain’s best-loved authors with the imaginative prowess of London theatre’s world-class creative teams.

Want to see your favourite childhood tales come to life? We’ve picked out some of the classic children’s books on stage this summer, all of which currently have tickets available through Kids Week, our annual kids-go-free promotion, allowing you to share the joy with the whole family.

Kids Week is all about encouraging young people to get involved in theatre. A child aged 16 or under can go free to any participating show when accompanied by an adult paying full price. Adults can also purchase up to two extra children’s tickets at half price. Plus, there are no booking fees to pay!

 

The Adventures Of Pinocchio

The Adventures Of Pinocchio at Ambassadors Theatre

Recommended Age: Ages 5+
Based on: Carlo Collodi’s timeless story The Adventures Of Pinocchio
What’s it about?: The traditional Italian story of a wooden puppet who dreams of being a real boy springs to life in inspirational family musical form, performed by the British Theatre Academy.
Look out for: An infamous growing wooden nose – no word of a lie!

Around The World In 80 Days

KW17 - Around The World In 80 Days

Recommended Age: Ages 5+
Based on: Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel (“Le Tour Du Monde En Quatre-vingts Jours”)!
What’s it about?: The sight-seeing holiday to end them all, as Phileas Fogg and his loyal valet embark on a madcap, ambitious race around the world. Imaginative, high-spirited escapades ensue.
Look out for: Six trains, five boats, four fights, three dances, two circus acts – and an elephant!

Horrible Histories – More Best Of Barmy Britain

Horrible Histories – More Best Of Barmy Britain - 900x600

Recommended Age: Ages 5+
Based on: The hugely popular book series written by Terry Deary and Peter Hepplewhite
What’s it about?: A whistle-stop tour of all the best characters from our barmy British past – and with no-holds-barred and all the cool stuff picked out, you can expect history with all the nasty bits left in!
Look out for: Vicious Vikings, evil Elizabeth, dastardly Dick Turpin, and wordy Will all popping up.

The Hunting Of The Snark

The Hunting Of The Snark (Photo: Mark Douet)

The Hunting Of The Snark (Photo: Mark Douet)

Recommended Age: This is a show suitable for all families and for anyone aged 0 – 10!
Based on: Lewis Carroll’s beloved poem
What’s it about?: An impossible voyage to a distant land, an improbable crew, and the hunt for an imaginary creature, with side-splittingly funny and joyful songs.
Look out for: The land of Jub Jub Birds, sly Bandersnatches, dastardly Boojums, and the ever-evasive Snark!

Jungle Book

Jungle Book at the Underbelly Festival Southbank

Recommended Age: Ages 8+
Based on: Rudyard Kipling’s wonderful The Jungle Book stories
What’s it about?: How do you reimagine Kipling’s classic jungle adventure in the 21st century? With spectacular street-dance and breathtaking circus, that’s how! Full of jaw-dropping tricks and imaginative updates to the heart-warming coming of age story, Jungle Book will delight all ages.
Look out for: The beat-loving bin man Baloo, and a skateboarding Wolf crew!

The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ – The Musical

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ - The Musical at the Menier Chocolate Factory

Recommended Age: Ages 8+
Based on: Sue Townsend’s world-famous novel, in Adrian’s 50th birthday year
What’s it about?: Life is hard for a misunderstood intellectual who is only 13 ¾ – dysfunctional parents, ungrateful elders, school bullies, pimples and all! But can winning the heart of new girl Pandora help Adrian escape his chaotic family life? This infectious score and heart-warming musical provides the answer!
Look out for: A beloved story like you’ve never seen (or heard!) it before.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt!

KW17 - We're Going On A Bear Hunt

Recommended Age: Under 5s
Based on: Michael Rosen’s book, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
What’s it about?: An intrepid family of adventurers (and their musical dog) head out on a quest in search of a bear, facing all manner of obstacles to a catchy, vivid and lively score.
Look out for: Swishy swashy grass, splishly splashy rivers and oozy, squelchy mud – well, “we can’t go over it…”!

What The Ladybird Heard

Rosamund Hine (Farmer) in What The Ladybird Heard (Photo: Robert Workman)

Rosamund Hine (Farmer) in What The Ladybird Heard (Photo: Robert Workman)

Recommended Age: Under 5s
Based on: Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ beautiful book
What’s it about?: A whole farmyard of fun – including the woolly sheep, the hairy hog, the fat red hen and the dainty dog – is threatened by dastardly robbers. But they don’t reckon for the tiniest creature of all: The Ladybird!
Look out for: Live music, puppetry, and plenty of audience participation!

The Wind In The Willows

Rufus Hound as Mr Toad in The Wind In The Willows (Photo: Marc Brenner Jamie Hendry Productions)

Rufus Hound as Mr Toad in The Wind In The Willows (Photo: Marc Brenner Jamie Hendry Productions)

Recommended Age: Ages 5+
Based on: Kenneth Grahame’s beloved children’s novel
What’s it about?: The amazing Mr Toad has an insatiable need for speed – one which could land him in serious trouble! With eye-poppingly beautiful design, exuberant choreography and a magical score, the world of The Wind In The Willows takes over the world-famous London Palladium!
Look out for: A gleefully mischievous Chief Weasel, a tap-dancing horse – and a hilarious high-speed escape from jail!

For more information on Kids Week, and full listings, please visit the Kids’ Week website.

First published 5 July 2017; updated 9 August 201