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10 best theatre shows for kids this winter

This winter’s round-up of live shows for kids features tracks in the snow, magical stories within stories, dancing penguins, a delightfully witchy witch, invisible dogs, a whale of an adventure, a flying snowman, prehistoric animals, and… because the season just wouldn’t be the same without it… a fried potato pancake who just can’t stop screaming.

We’d love to know your thoughts about the shows… which are your favourites? Which ones do you want to take the kids to see? What are we missing from the list? Just add your comments or reviews below.

The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming

The Latke Who Couldn't Stop ScreamingThe story begins in a tiny village more or less covered in snow, where a Latke, a fried potato pancake, is born screaming. Well, wouldn’t you scream if you were thrown into a pan of boiling oil?

The Latke jumps from the boiling pan and races through the wintery village, deep in the throes of festive preparations. Lost amongst the snowy landscape, the Christmas lights and pine trees, will our Latke ever find where it belongs?

This new adaptation of the absurdly funny Lemony Snicket story is vividly brought to life in Tall Stories’ unique physical style, with live music, lots of laughs and a screaming potato pancake…

A show about being yourself and appreciating others, Lemony Snicket’s Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming is the perfect family show to see this winter.

Ages 5+
28 November to 30 December at The Roundhouse in London
Book tickets 

Room on the Broom

‘A truly theatrical feast that leaves both adults and children fully entertained’ (The List)

The witch and her cat are flying happily on their broomstick – until a stormy wind blows away the witch’s hat, bow and wand.

A helpful dog, bird and frog find the witch’s lost things, and they all hop on the broom for a ride. But this broomstick’s not meant for five and – CRACK – the broom snaps in two!

When a hungry dragon appears, who will save the poor witch? And will there ever be room on the broom for everyone?

Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 and up (and their grown-ups), adapted from the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo.

Ages 3+
21 Nov to 13 Jan at the Lyric Theatre, London
Book Tickets

Snow Dragon

The night of the Snow Dragon approaches…

Billy has everything a young goat could need – and more besides. On New Year’s Eve, Billy’s parents tell him about the legendary Snow Dragon, who will bring him even more goodies during the night.

But when Billy bumps into some wolves in the woods, New Year’s Day seems a long way off. Find out how Billy escapes – and whether the Snow Dragon will bring him a present. Has Billy been naughty or nice?

Story-telling, comedy and songs create a magical, mysterious world for everyone aged 3 and up, from the company that brought you The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom.

‘If you are a kid, if you have kids, if you ever were a kid, go and see The Snow Dragon.’ (Three Weeks *****)

Ages 3+
1-6 December at Pleasance, Edinburgh | Book tickets
11-23 December at Gulbenkian, Canterbury | Book tickets

The Arabian Nights

arabian nights at the Tricycle Theatre
image credit Tricycle Theatre

In Baghdad, a young woman starts a revolution through the power of storytelling.

For three years, King Shahryar has taken bloody vengeance against the women of his city, marrying a new bride every night and killing her in the morning.

Scheherezade is determined to stop the bloodshed using the only weapons she has – her wit and imagination. Night after night, the King’s newest bride weaves tales of seduction, silliness and suspense. How long can her stories save her?

A punky, modern reimagining of ancient tales.

Ages 10+
30 November 2012 to January 12, 2013, Tricycle Theatre, London
Book tickets

The Snowman

When a young boy’s snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve, the two set off on a night-time quest for adventure. On their travels they meet dancing penguins, reindeer and naturally, Father Christmas. Watch spellbound as the Snowman flies through the night sky above you, before escaping the clutches of the evil Jack Frost to return home for Christmas morning.

Featuring Howard Blake’s beautiful Walking In the Air, performed by a live orchestra, choreographed by Robert North and directed by Bill Alexander, this is the perfect Christmas treat for all the family.

The stage show based on Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman and the subsequent film has become a modern classic. Ruari Murchison’s enchanting design combined with Tim Mitchell’s spectacular lighting has been delighting children for over a decade. With its wonderful mix of storytelling, spectacle and magic, The Snowman is back for a record-breaking 14th year.

All ages 
28 November 2012 til 6 January 2013 at Peacock Theatre, London
Buy tickets

Walking With Dinosaurs

walking with dinosaursBased on the award-winning BBC television series Walking with Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular sees Tyrannosaurus Rex and his awe-inspiring life-size pals return to stalk UK shores once more, as these pre-historic giants get set to astound, thrill and educate a brand new generation of budding palaeontologists nationwide from 26th December 2012.

The best Christmas angle I can come up with for Walking With Dinosaurs is the Mr Bean Christmas episode where the baby Jesus’ creche is attacked by toy dinosaurs. It’s a bit of a stretch, I know. But really, it’s on over the Christmas holidays (from Boxing Day), and sounds very very cool. Go see it.

Ages 3+
December 26th 2012 to January 6 2013, 02 Arena, London
Book tickets

The Gruffalo

A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood…

Join Mouse on an adventurous journey through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the award winning picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

Meet a wheeler-dealer Fox, an eccentric old Owl and a maraca-shaking, party-mad Snake! Mouse can scare these hungry animals away with tall stories of the terrifying Gruffalo, but what happens when he comes face to face with the very creature he imagined…?

Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 and up and their adults, in a show that’s toured around Britain and the world. Let your imagination run wild!

‘Irresistibly charming’ The Times ****

Ages 3+
8 December 2012 to 6 January 2013, Arts Depot, London
Book tickets

The Gruffalo’s Child

Adapted from the picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The Gruffalo said that no gruffalo should
Ever set foot in the deep dark wood…

But one wild and windy night the Gruffalo’s child ignores her father’s warning and tiptoes out into the snow. After all, the Big Bad Mouse doesn’t really exist… does he?

Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 4 and up, and their adults…

‘Fun, daft and a little scary!’ Time Out ****

Ages 3+
22 December 2012 to 16 January 2013, Birmingham Town Hall
Book tickets 

Imagine Toi

Julien Cottereau / Imagine-toi by kidamprod

Using only the potent powers of the imagination and a startling variety of vocal sound effects, former Cirque-du-Soleil star clown and mime artist Julien Cottereau creates a magical world from nothing, with his utterly engaging performance.

Enter a world of pure imagination where endless fun and games can be had with invisible balls, chewing gum, dogs of all shapes and sizes, a wild beast or two and a fairytale princess.

After a year-long sell-out season in Paris and winning the 2007 Moliere Award, ‘Imagine Toi’ has enchanted audiences across the world.

Julien Cottereau reconnects you with your sense of childhood wonder in a show of joyous simplicity and pure entertainment.

‘With an air of Chaplin … Cottereau plays in turn with the audience and their emotions, giving French mime a hint of poetry and genius.’ (20 Minutes, France)

‘Cottereau is a force of nature who has to be seen to be believed’ **** (Metro)

Ages 4+
13 – 24 December 2012, Southbank Centre
Book tickets

The Snail and the Whale

‘An inventive and charming adaptation’ The List ****

Tall Stories (creators of the Gruffalo and Room on the Broom stage shows) are proud to present their latest exciting collaboration with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

A tiny snail longs to see the world, so she hitches a lift on the tail of a humpback whale. But when the whale gets beached, how will the snail save him? Follow the tiny snail’s amazing journey, as seen through the eyes of an adventurous young girl and her seafaring father…

Storytelling, live music and lots of laughs, in a show for everyone aged 4 and up.

‘Expect to leave the theatre happy and smiling’ Fest Magazine ****

Ages 4+
12 – 30 December, Exeter Northcott Theatre
Book tickets 

Written by Janis P.


  1. Another nice post!..London puts on the finest productions and the best shows in the world and is arguably the best place for children’s theatre. With so much on offer it is nigh on impossible to judge and recommend which on them are the best.

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