Christmas 2014: Children's Theatre Guide

Ruth Hargreaves
By Ruth Hargreaves Last edited 34 months ago
Christmas 2014: Children's Theatre Guide

Christmas is coming and along with festive lights, winter markets and the John Lewis advert comes a whole host of kids’ theatre shows. That’s right, ’tis the season for plays and panto (oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is etc).

If you have little ones to keep entertained over the Christmas period and they’ve busted the 'who can be quietest for the longest!' ruse, the following shows should give them merriment aplenty. We've incorporated festive shows aimed at children as well as the usual pantomimes, and included information such as price, age recommendations, running time and special performances. So, fill your stockings.

Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas at Lyric Hammersmith. Photo by Simon Annand

Raymond Briggs Father Christmas at Lyric Hammersmith

We saw this last year and found it absolutely charming. Clever puppetry, live sound making and superb staging combine to tell the story of a Father Christmas who is lacking in festive cheer as he prepares for his annual gift-giving trip around the world. The studio housing the show is tiny and all seats give good views.

Dates: 14 November - 31 December
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 9.30am, 10.30am, 11am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 4pm
Price: £10 for adults and £8 for children
Age recommendation: Children aged 6 and under
Running time: 50 minutes
Nearest station: Hammersmith tube (4 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Website

Peter Pan at Polka Theatre

Peter Pan at Polka Theatre

Polka is the mecca of children's theatre in London. A charity as well as a local theatre, the venue welcomes over 90,000 children a year and is fully accessible so no struggling up stairs with buggies. This Christmas, Polka's Main Theatre takes to the sky as Peter Pan and Tinker Bell whisk Wendy and her brothers off to Neverland.

Dates: 21 November - 14 Feb 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 11am, 2pm, 2.30pm, 5.30pm, 7pm
Price: £17.50 for adults and £11.50 concessions. Group rates available
Age recommendation: 6+ (although there are ‘all ages welcome’ performances)
Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes, including interval
Nearest station: South Wimbledon tube (5 min walk)
Special performances: Audio described performance on 6 December at 2pm, relaxed performance on 13 December at 11am, integrated sign language performance on 10 January at 2.30pm
Website

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King at Unicorn Theatre

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King at Unicorn Theatre

Unicorn Theatre is another cracker on the London children's theatre scene. Fully accessible, on entry level there are plenty of open spaces for little ones to spread out and play, while on the first floor there's a sweet little library tucked away for families to enjoy. This Christmas the Unicorn goes back to the roots of E.T.A. Hoffman's magical story to create a wondrous and festive production of an old and favourite title.

Dates: 21 November - 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10.30am, 11am, 2pm, 3pm, 7pm
Price: £15-£22, family group rates available
Age recommendation: 8+
Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes with interval
Nearest station: London Bridge (5 min walk)
Special performances: Captioned performance on 13 December at 10.30am, relaxed performance on 7 December at 2pm and 12 December at 10.30am, integrated sign language performances on 13 December at 11am, and 16 and 17 Dec at 10.30am, audio described performance on 11 Dec at 2pm and 13 Dec at 3pm
Website

Mother Goose at Hackney Empire

Mother Goose at Hackney Empire

What would you do if you found a magical goose who lays priceless golden eggs? Packed with mayhem, comedy, outrageous costumes and original music performed by a live band, Hackney Empire's Christmas panto has goodies galore and baddies to boo.

Dates: 22 November to 4 Jan 2015
Times:  Depending on the day, performances start at 1pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 5.30pm, 7pm
Price: £10-£32, family group rates available
Age recommendation: All ages welcome
Running time: 2 hour 30 minutes with interval
Nearest station: Hackney Central station (2 min walk)
Special performances: Signed performance on 3 December at 1.30pm and 7pm, relaxed performance on 2 January 2015 at 2.30pm
Website

Dick Whittington and his Cat at Hammersmith Lyric

Dick Whittington and his Cat at Lyric Hammersmith

Hammersmith will be paved with gold this Christmas as Lyric's traditional panto returns to Lyric's Main House for a sixth year. This time, it's Dick Whittington and his Cat who are in the area for some festive fun. Just watch out for the very evil Queen Rat.

Dates: 22 November to 3 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10am, 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm
Price: £15-£35, family group rates available
Age recommendation: 6+
Running time: 2 hours including interval
Nearest station: Hammersmith tube (4 min walk)
Special performances: Captioned performance on 14 December at 5pm, audio described performance on 18 December at 7pm, BSL performance on 30 December at 2pm
Website

Room on the Broom at Lyric Theatre

Room on the Broom at Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue

Based on the much loved book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Tall Stories' magical musical stage adaptation of Room on the Broom flies back into the West End with a witch, her cat, a helpful dog, a bird, a frog and even a dragon. Can one broom hold them all?

Dates: 26 November to 11 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10am, 11am, midday, 1.30pm, 2pm, 4pm
Price: £14.50-£22.50, family group rates available
Age recommendation: 3+
Running time: 55 minutes, no interval
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus tube (3 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Website

The Snowman at Peacock Theatre

The Snowman at Peacock Theatre

One for nostalgic adults as well as Christmas-crazed kids, The Snowman is a perennial family favourite and this stage show, returning to the Peacock Theatre, transports all generations into a magical wintry world. It's funny, sweet and as poignant as ever. Grown ups — don't forget to bring those tissues (we melted when we saw it last year).

Dates: 26 November - 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 11am, 2.30pm and 7pm
Price: £15-£35, family group rates available
Age recommendation: Suitable for all ages
Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes, including 20 minute interval
Nearest station: Holborn (4 min walk)
Special performances: Audio-described performance on 13 December at 2.30pm (including touch tour at 1pm)
Website

Billy the Kidd: A Panto Western at Rosemary Branch Theatre

Billy the Kidd: A Panto Western at Rosemary Branch Theatre

"Mosey on down to The Rosey B Ranch for Charles Court's eighth rip snortin', whip crackin', bar brawlin' panto — known throughout the land as The Fastest Draw in the East for old timers right down to l'il chickadees." If a Christmas Western is what your previous festivities have been missing, then you know where to ride up this year.

Dates: 28 November - 10 Jan 2015
Times: 3pm and 7pm (please note that some 7pm performances are adult-only)
Price: £5-£21 (little kids go free on laps at matinees only), family group rates available
Age recommendation: Suitable for all ages (apart from the adult-only performances)
Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes, including interval
Nearest station: Old Street station (15 minute walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Website

The Fourth Wise Man at Unicorn Theatre

The Fourth Wise Man at Unicorn Theatre

Everyone has heard of the Three Wise Men, but have you heard of Artaban, the fourth? One day Artaban spots a beautiful new star in the sky and he knows it will lead him to something special. Join Artaban as he prepares for a momentous journey. But what gift should he bring? And where on earth will he find the right camel?

Dates: 30 November - 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 11.15am, 1.30pm, 1.45pm
Price: £10-£16, family group rates available
Age recommendation: 4+
Running time: 50 minutes
Nearest station: London Bridge (4 min walk)
Special performances: Relaxed performances on 16 December at 1.45pm and 13 December at 11.15am
Website

Treasure Island at National Theatre

Treasure Island at National Theatre

It’s a dark, stormy night. The stars are out. Jim, the inn-keeper’s granddaughter, opens the door to a terrifying stranger. At the old sailor’s feet sits a huge sea-chest, full of secrets. Jim invites him in — and her dangerous voyage begins.

Dates: 3 December - 8 April 2015
Times: Performances start at 2pm and/or 7pm
Price: £15-£50 (for tickets over £28, under 18s get 50% off)
Age recommendation: 10+
Running time: 2 hours 30 mins, including interval
Nearest station: Waterloo (5 min walk)
Special performances: Audio-described performances on 24 January at 2pm and 28 February at 2pm, captioned performances on 25 January at 2pm and 17 February at 7pm
Wesbite

Robin Hood at Winterville, Victoria Park

Robin Hood at Winterville, Victoria Park

Winterville is taking up residency in Victoria Park this season, offering enough festive frolics to fill a giant's stocking. Alongside the obligatory ice rink, Christmas markets, giant Ferris wheel, kids' activities and seasonal grub, there's also a special Robin Hood pantomime housed within the on-site Spiegeltent (it's heated but you're still advised to wrap up warm).

Dates: 6 - 31 December
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 11.30am, midday, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2pm
Price: £10 for adults, £8 for under 14s (limited number of discounted tickets available for local residents)
Age recommendation: 4+
Running time: An hour
Nearest station: Mile End tube (10 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Wesbite

The Cat in the Hat at Pleasance Theatre

The Cat in the Hat at Pleasance Theatre

From the moment his tall, red and white striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that The Cat in the Hat is the funniest, most mischievous cat they have ever met. With the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas, he turns a rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure. But what will mum find when she gets home?

Dates: 8 December - 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10.30am, 11am, 1.30pm, 2pm
Price: £7-£12.50
Age recommendation: 3+
Running time: 40 minutes
Nearest station: Caledonian Road tube (6 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Website

Scrunch at Unicorn Theatre

Scrunch at Unicorn Theatre

Aimed specifically at the littlest Londoners, Scrunch is a sensory show that incorporates 'play-time' into the running schedule (oh, to be young again). It's baby's first Christmas and in true baby style it's not so much the present, but what the present is wrapped in that's catching all the attention.

Dates: 9 December - 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 9.30am, 11am, 11.30am, 1.30pm
Price: £10 per adult and child (£5 for each additional adult)
Age recommendation: Aimed at babies aged 6-18 months
Running time: 40 minutes (including 15 minute play time)
Nearest station: London Bridge (4 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Website

snowdragon

The Snow Dragon at St James’ Theatre

At first it seems that mixing goats and dragons could be a Very Bad Idea, but this is Christmas and anything is possible. The Snow Dragon is all about a young goat named Billy who finds himself in trouble on New Year's Eve — how will he escape? A Tall Stories tale.

Dates: 9 December - 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10am, 11am, midday, 1.30pm
Price: £9-£18 (babes in arms go free), family group rates available
Age recommendation: 3+
Running time: 50 minutes
Nearest station: Victoria (5 min walk)
Special performances: Relaxed performance on 18 December at midday
Website

The Gruffalo's Child at Artsdepot

The Gruffalo’s Child at Artsdepot

Another Tall Stories offering. It's 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?

Dates: 10 December - 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10.15am, 11am, 1.45pm, 3pm
Price: £8-£14
Age recommendation: 3+
Running time: 55 minutes
Nearest station: Woodside Park tube (14 min walk)
Special performances: BSL interpreted performances on 18 December at 1.30pm and 20 December at 3pm
Website

Sleeping Beauty at Compass Theatre

Sleeping Beauty at Compass Theatre

"How amazing to find such a hidden gem in Ickenham!" said one of last year's panto attendees. This year, the London Borough of Hillingdon is taking on Sleeping Beauty and promises to be full of  jokes, great songs, larger-than-life characters and animated scenery.

Dates: 11 Dec - 5 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10.30am, 1.30pm, 3,30pm, 4pm, 5pm, 7pm, 7.30pm
Price: £14.50 for adults and £10 for under 16s, family group rates available
Age recommendation: All ages welcome
Running time: TBC
Nearest station: Ickenham tube (1 minute walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Website

Aladdin is on at Shaw Theatre

Aladdin at Shaw Theatre

Coming from the same team that brought you last year’s Cinderella, Aladdin is set to offer plenty of audience participation, live music and glittering costumes. Starring Ben Richards (The Bill, Footballer’s Wives) and Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist La Voix, (Chris Dennis).

Dates: 11 Dec - 3 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10.15am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 4.30pm, 5.30pm, 6pm, 7pm
Price: £21.50-£23.65, family group rates available
Age recommendation: 2+
Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes, including 20 minute interval
Nearest station: Euston and King’s Cross St Pancras (5 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Website

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Broadway Theatre

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Broadway Theatre

One of the few south London productions, Richard Blackwood returns to play Muddles in this fast and funny production of Snow White at Broadway Theatre, Catford.

Dates: 12 - 30 Dec 2014
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10.30am, 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 4.30pm, 7pm
Price: £14-£18, family group rates available
Age recommendation: All ages welcome
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes, including interval
Nearest station: Catford and Catford Bridge stations (5 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Website

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Beck Theatre

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Beck Theatre

This family production, starring Linda Robson, is arguably the fairest in the land (or at least within the M25). 2014's show is produced by experienced panto-makers, One From the Heart.

Dates: 13 Dec - 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, 5.30pm, 7pm
Price: £17.50-£23, family group rates available
Age recommendation: All ages welcome
Running time: 2 hour 20 minutes, including interval
Nearest station: Hayes and Harlington station (then 10 minute bus ride) or Uxbridge tube (then 15 minute bus ride)
Special performances: Signed performance on 3 January 2015 at 1.30pm.
Website

The Tin Soldier at Roundhouse

The Tin Soldier at Roundhouse

It’s Christmas and a newly minted tin soldier stands on a single leg. Nearby, he spies a paper ballerina, also standing on one leg, and the soldier falls in love. But the course of true love cannot run smooth and the soldier falls into an adventure to test and melt the bravest of hearts. Based on the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale.

Dates: 13 December - 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10am, 11am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm
Price: £10 for adults and £8 for children
Age recommendation: 3+
Running time: 1 hour
Nearest station: Chalk Farm (3 min walk)
Special performances: Relaxed performance on 22 December at 11am
Website

Variety Soup at Leicester Square Theatre

Variety Soup at Leicester Square Theatre

Variety troupe Slightly Fat Features cavort into London this winter, bringing their physical skills and orchestrated mayhem to Leicester Square Theatre. Variety Soup is a variety gang show for the 21st century — part Monty Python and part Cirque de Soleil — offering everything from tiger taming to bullet catching.

Dates: 15 December – 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 4pm and 8.40pm
Price: £20, family group rates available
Age recommendation: 2+
Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes, including interval
Nearest station: Leicester Square (1 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Wesbite

Lemony Snicket’s Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming at JW3

Lemony Snicket’s Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming at JW3

Yep, Tall Stories again (hey, they tell a cracking tale). This time, they're presenting Lemony Snicket's The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming. In a not-at-all-bizarre formation of events, a Chanukah Latke (that's a fried potato pancake) jumps from a boiling pan and races through a wintry festive village. Will he ever find where he belongs?

Dates: 15 December - 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10.30am, 11am, 1.30pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4.30pm
Price: £10-£12
Age recommendation: 5+
Running time: 60 minutes
Nearest station: Finchley Road & Frognal (1 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Website

The Railway Children at King's Cross Station

The Railway Children at King’s Cross Station

All aboard for what looks set to be a pretty spectacular retelling of The Railway Children, set in a brand new, purpose built venue behind King's Cross station. The stage itself is built around a real train track and the centre piece is a 60 ton vintage locomotive that steams into sight. Daddy, my Daddy! We're feeling weepy already.

Dates: 16 December - 1 March 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 2pm, 2.30pm, 5.30pm and 7.30pm
Price: £25-£49 (25% off for under 16s)
Age recommendation: Suitable for all ages
Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes, including interval
Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras (3 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Website

Slava's Snow Show at Southbank Centre

Slava’s Snow Show at Southbank Centre

Back at Royal Festival Hall for a fourth year, this multi award-winning show has been continually well-received by critics and sees the venue transformed with blizzards of snow (or something very much like it).

Dates: 17 December - 6 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 2.30pm, 6pm, 7.30pm
Price: £20-£90 (concessions receive 50% off)
Age recommendation: 8+ (no children under 3 can be admitted)
Running time: 2 hours, including interval
Nearest station: Waterloo (6 min walk)
Special performances: Audio described performance on 4 January 2015 at 2.30pm with a pre-show touch tour at 1pm
Website

Disney on Ice at The O2

Disney on Ice at The O2

Exchange wails of SANTTTAAAAAA to screams of DISSSSSNNNEEYYY and join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and their friends from Disney’s Mulan, The Lion King and Pinocchio, and Pixar’s Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Toy Story — as they take to the ice for a grand celebration.

Dates: 24 December - 4 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 11am, 2.45pm, 6.30pm
Price: £22-£46
Age recommendation: Suitable for all ages but under 15s must be accompanied by an adult
Running time: TBC
Nearest station: North Greenwich (1 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled
Website

Jack and the Beanstalk at Winston Churchill Hall Theatre

Jack and the Beanstalk at Winston Churchill Hall Theatre

If you've still got the energy after Christmas, then join Jack and his friends for a magical family panto, with a full band, magic, and beans aplenty.

Dates: 15-18 Jan 2015
Times: Depending on the day, performances start at 10am, 11am, 1.15pm, 3pm, 5pm, 6pm
Price: £8-£12.50, family group rates available
Age recommendation: All ages welcome (although no babes in arms can be admitted)
Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes, including interval
Nearest station: Ruislip station (10 min walk)
Special performances: None scheduled, but there is a signed number in the show
Website

What will you be seeing on stage this Christmas? Let us know in the comments below.

Last Updated 07 November 2014