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Theatre for kids: the best shows to see this Easter from Paddington in Concert to The Everywhere Bear

The Everywhere Bear (Steve Gregson)
The Everywhere Bear (Steve Gregson)

The Easter holidays are nearly upon us – a great time to catch up with friends and family but it also means there will be quite a few hours a day to keep the kids busy.

Don’t worry, London always rises to the occasion: the city is packed full of fantastic theatre for children of all ages – from musicals, to puppet-focused shows, to zany reimaginings of classics.

Here are our picks of what to see.

Bronco Billy – The Musical (10+)

Set in 1979, Bronco Billy tells the story of members of a travelling Wild West show who are trying to make ends meet. When the troupe leader Billy meets an heiress on the run, things really get interesting. A much needed overhaul of Clint Eastwood’s 1980 Western comedy-drama original, this silly and uplifting stage adaptation has been directed by Hunter Bird, has a book by Dennis Hackin, and music and lyrics by Chip Rosenbloom and John Torres.

Charing Cross Theatre, to April 7; buy tickets here

The Odyssey (8-13)

The Unicorn Theatre’s take on The Odyssey features a Sixties soul and pop-inspired score, talking sheep, a man with a giant eye for a head, and focuses on the “mystical creatures, dangerous monsters and enchanting sirens”. A zany delight.

Unicorn Theatre, to April 21; buy tickets here

Bear Snores On (4+)

Adapted by actor and writer Cush Jumbo and Katy Sechiari, with music and lyrics by composer Harry Blake, this take on the kid’s story Bear Snores On is set to be a real treat. It’s suitable for ages 4+, runs at 50 minutes, and performances are all in the daytime.

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, March 27 to April 21; buy tickets here

The Everywhere Bear (3-8)

The Everywhere Bear (Steve Gregson)
The Everywhere Bear (Steve Gregson)

Based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb, this musical show, which features puppets, is about a bear who has a tremendous adventure after falling from a little boy’s backpack.

Little Angel Theatre, March 27 to April 14; buy tickets here

The Lion Inside (3+)

Director and writer Sarah Punshon and composer Eamonn O’Dwyer adapt the best-selling picture book for the stage, telling the story of a shy brown mouse who, tired of being ignored by other animals, decides to find his roar.

Rose Theatre Kingston, March 28 to April 14; buy tickets here

Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank: Romeo and Juliet (11+)

The Globe’s Lucy Cuthbertson (who directed the 2022 Olivier Award-nominated family show Midsummer Mechanicals) takes the Bard’s tragic romance and adapts it for young people. It’s 90-minutes, fast-paced, and is billed as the perfect introduction to Shakespeare (though it does still deal with adult themes).

Shakespeare’s Globe, March 28 to April 13; buy tickets here

Three Billy Goats Gruff (3-7)

Coming from the same team that made Polka’s The Emperor’s New Clothes and Little Red Riding Hood, this musical adaptation of the beloved Norwegian fairy tale is one joyful hour packed full of puppetry, singing, energetic storytelling and thrilling twists and turns.

Polka Theatre, March 29 to April 21; buy tickets here

Paddington Film in Concert (for ages 7+)

 (PUBLICITY PICTURE)
(PUBLICITY PICTURE)

The Paddington film was a total delight for adults and children alike. Now the 2014 comedy about the bear from deepest darkest Peru is being screened in HD alongside a live orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. Don’t forget the marmalade sandwiches.

Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall, March 30; buy tickets here

Four Seasons (3-7)

Four Seasons is a silly, heartfelt love letter to the world around us from Olivier award-winning theatre and musical ensemble Little Bulb. Using puppetry, physical theatre and tracks inspired by the seasons, their “magical gardeners” and a menagerie of flora and fauna celebrate “the wonder and weirdness of nature”.

Battersea Arts Centre, April 2 to 6; buy tickets here

The Singing Mermaid (3-8)

There are a number of family shows running at Greenwich Theatre over Easter, including the spooky In the Dead of the Night and a reimagining of The Canterbury Tales. In The Singing Mermaid, Samantha Lane and Barb Jungr imaginatively adapt Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ well-loved story about a mermaid who joins the circus.

Greenwich Theatre London, April 3 to 4; buy tickets here

Dragons and Mythical Beasts (3+)

This fantastical award-winning comic show brings to life some of folklore’s best-known myths, legends and creatures – from the Tooth Fairy to unicorns and the Griffin. It’s at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall after a West End run, where critics described it as “spellbinding”, “charming” and as “an exercise in packing in as many puppet monstrosities as practically possible into a single hour”.

Southbank Centre, April 3 to 7; buy tickets here

Terrible Thames Tours (All ages)

“Tremble in terror at the Tower! Sizzle at the Savoy! Get gobsmacked by the Globe!,” says Horrible Histories, introducing its Thames history tour, returning after a three-year hiatus. Expect your kids to be shocked and delighted as award-winning theatre producers bring to life London’s truly astonishing history – all while sailing down the Thames.

Tower Bridge Quay, London; buy tickets here

Frozen (6+)

 (Disney)
(Disney)

Given that Disney’s Frozen became the highest-grossing animation of all time in 2013, it was perhaps always destined to become a stage musical. After opening on Broadway in 2018, three years later it opened in London, at the gloriously refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane, since when nearly 3 million visitors have seen it. If you want to join the ranks, the musical will be closing in Theatreland in September – so grab your tickets now.

Theatre Royal Drury Lane; buy tickets here

The Lion King (6+)

Now enjoying its 25th year in London, the musical version of The Lion King continues to dazzle: not only does it look gorgeous, but Elton John’s Oscar-winning songs never ever get old. Hakuna Matata indeed!

The Lyceum Theatrebuy tickets here

Matilda the Musical (6+)

In 2010, Roald Dahl’s Matilda was expertly adapted for the stage by Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly, and subsequently picked up dozens of awards including an Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical and seven Oliviers. The musical was adapted into a film in 2022, delighting fans – but there’s something particularly special about seeing it live.

Cambridge Theatre, buy tickets here