Kids Week is all about making theatre accessible for young people, whether they’re teeny tiny in age, or in the not-so teeny tiny teenage years.
That’s why, during August, participating shows are offering free tickets to any child aged 16 and under when they’re accompanied by a full-paying adult. Adults can also buy up to two extra children’s tickets at half price and there are no booking fees.
And there’s plenty of shows for teenagers in this year’s Kids Week. Here are the shows that are perfect for the slightly older children in the family.
9 To 5 The Musical
Age recommendation: 12+
While your teens may not be aware of the cult-hit film which this musical is based on, that won’t stop them from enjoying a cup of ambition and the tunes of Dolly Parton.
The musical is all about three workmates, Violet (played by Caroline Sheen), Judy and Doralee. They’ve had enough of their narcissistic, sexist boss (played by Brian Conely), and so plot to get rid of him. But when the new CEO unexpectedly arrives, things begin to unravel.
In the show, there are some familiar faces that your teen may recognise, including Love Island’s Amber Davies as Judy and Natalie McQueen (Kinky Boots) as Doralee Rhodes.
Barber Shop Chronicles
Age recommendation: 12+
Barber shops are great places for sources of gossip, laughter and a good ole catch-up, and if you’re the writers of this production, it provides enough inspiration for an entire show.
A mix of comedy and drama, the Barber Shop Chronicles delves into the stories of characters across the globe as they sit down in the barber’s chair and share their lives. Running at The Roundhouse, teens will be transported to barber shops across the world, from London to Johannesburg, Harare to Kampala, and Lagos to Accra.
Directed by Olivier award-winning Bijan Sheibani and designed by Rae Smith (War Horse), this is a heart-warming, hilarious and insightful new play that’s ideal for teens.
Barber Shop Chronicles is also running an activity during Kids Week. The show’s Associate Director is running a workshop on 8 August, which will explore themes within the show and improvise scenes over the course of an hour. More information can be found on the Kids Week website.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Age recommendation: 11+
The first major stage adaptation of the best-selling book, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is a love story set during the Second World War.
Marking the 25th anniversary of the novel’s publication, the story revolves around the residents of Cephallonia, as they face warfare on their idyllic island. The story has several narratives, including Carlo, an Italian soldier, falling in love whilst fighting in Albania, Iannis and his daughter Pelagia, and of course, the young Captain Corelli and his passion for music.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is also running an activity during Kids Week. After the show ends, one of the show’s actors, (Luisa Guerreiro, who plays Goat) will take part in a short Q&A followed by a backstage tour. More information can be found here.
Age suitability: 14+
An award-winning psychological thriller that’s inspired by a true story, Equus is one of the new shows in this year’s Kids Week.
The narrative centres on teenager Alan Strang, whose pathological fascination leads him to blind six horses. When his psychiatrist Dr. Martin Dysart is tasked with uncovering the motive, he delves into Alan’s world of twisted spirituality, passion and sexuality, and questions his own sanity and motivations.
Revived in a bold new production, the story explores the complex relationships between devotion, myth and sexuality.
After the performance on Monday 19th August, there will be a post-show Q&A with the Associate Director and members of the cast. To attend, book Equus’ activity on the Kids Week website.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Age suitability: Parental discretion advised
It can be difficult being a teenager, and nobody knows that better than Jamie New in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. At sixteen years old, Jamie wants two things; to become a drag queen and wear a dress to prom.
But there are walls in his head, bullies to defeat and difficult family relationships to manoeuvre with his dreams. But with the help of his mum, her best friend Ray, and new mentor Hugo / Loco Chanel, Jamie could be closer to reaching his dreams than he realises. The show stars Layton Williams (Bad Education) as Jamie, Faye Tozer (Steps) as his teacher, Miss Hedge, and Bill Ward (Coronation Street) as Hugo / Loco Chanel.
Based on an incredible true story, this Olivier Award-nominated show is about to embark on a UK tour and be made into a film starring Richard E Grant.
Here’s their most recent performance at West End LIVE to give you a taste of what to expect:
The Girl On The Train
Age suitability: 12+
A stage version of the successful book, The Girl On The Train is a classic whodunnit with a thriller element thrown in for good measure.
Starring Samantha Womack (Eastenders) in the lead role, the story is about Rachel Watson, a commuter who can’t stop watching a happy couple through their window on her train ride to work. But when the woman in the couple mysteriously disappears, Rachel begins to investigate what happened, and faces becoming a suspect herself.
Currently on a UK tour, the show is stopping off at the Duke Of York’s Theatre for a limited run.
The Girl On The Train is also running a Q&A activity after the show on the 7 August. You can book tickets for this on the Kids Week homepage.
Age suitability: PG
An all-singing, all-dancing tribute, Thriller Live features over two hours of hit songs by Michael Jackson.
The show features tunes including I Want You Back, Thriller, Beat It, Billie Jean, Earth Song and many more. Thriller Live is brought to the stage by over 20 performers, with a full company of singers, dancers and a live band.
On the 20 August, Thriller Live will run a dance workshop activity as part of Kids Week. Participants will learn to sing and dance the iconic hit Thriller on a West End stage. To book a child onto the activity, head to the Kids Week homepage for more information.
Age suitability: 13+
Baking up a suitable show for teens is the cast of Waitress.
A stage adaptation of the popular film, you can expect a fantastic soundtrack as the score has been written by six-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. Here’s a taste of the music:
The show is all about Jenna, a diner waitress stuck in an unhappy marriage. But just as she’s about to leave, she discovers she’s pregnant. But with the help of her friends and a new doctor, can Jenna still bake a recipe for her success?
The cast of this show is spectacular, as it stars Lucie Jones (X Factor) as Jenna, Ashley Roberts (Pussycat Dolls) and Marisha Wallace (Dreamgirls) as her best friends Dawn and Becky, and Blake Harrison (The Inbetweeners) as Ogie.
The Woman In Black
For the teens that like a good ole scare, The Woman In Black is ideal.
London theatre’s favourite ghost story, it centres on a solicitor who’s recounting his experiences several years after being sent to wind up the affairs of a recently deceased woman in an isolated house.
Starring just two actors, this eerie thriller has been in the West End for 30 years, and is still having audience members on the edge of their seats!
For a full list of Kids Week shows and activities, head to the Kids Week homepage.