Family Christmas Shows in London

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The Snowman

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The Snowman
A Christmas Carol
The Railway Children
A Christmas Carol
Hetty Feather
Wow! Said the Owl
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
The Firework-Maker's Daughter
The Snail And The Whale: Tall Stories
 

 

There are some wonderfully creative shows for families to enjoy this season. From classic fairytales and modern dramas, through to the utterly ridiculous, there's something to keep everyone entertained. 

 
 

Land of Lights

A colourful immersive experience from Oily Cart for 3 to 5 year olds and their families.

Artsdepot, 5 Nether Street, Tally Ho Corner, London, N12 0GA

Tube: Woodside Park Station

 

Dates: 15th December - 03rd January 2016

 

A splendidly coloured hot air balloon floats over a tiny alternative world in Land of Lights, an immersive experience from Oily Cart, a theatre company well known for its excellent productions for small children - last year's Christmas show, 'There Was An Old Woman', was a sell-out success at the Royal Festival Hall. With the help of the audience, this brand new adventure takes us to three distinctive worlds, each with its own characteristics and smells, all leading to a sparkling finish in the Land of Lights. One of four family shows on offer at artsdepot this Christmas, this show, jam-packed with live music and puppets, is best for 3 to 5 year olds and their families.

 
 
 

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me

Roald Dahl's story of a young boy who befriends a Giraffe, a Pelican - 'Pelly' - and a Monkey.

Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage, London, N1 2DN

Tube: Angel Station

 

Dates: 21st November - 31st January 2016

 

Based on the book by Roald Dahl the Little Angel's Christmas spectacular is the story of a young boy who befriends a Giraffe, a Pelican - 'Pelly' - and a Monkey. Join them on their unexpected adventures when they create the 'Ladderless Window Cleaning Company'. The creative team, with Ben Glasstone creating the music and Peter O'Rourke on set and puppet design, is the same one who brought you Little Angel favourites including 'Fantastic Mr Fox' and 'The Mouse Queen'. With The Giraffe and The Pelly and Me , suitable for children aged 4 to 11, they promise to have you singing the songs all the way home.

 
 
 

The Gruffalo

The loveable little mouse takes a "stroll through the deep, dark wood".

Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, London, WC2R 0NH

Tube: Covent Garden Station, Charing Cross Station, Embankment Underground Station, Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 15th December - 03rd January 2016

 

The Gruffalo is a classic that kiddies just love and a popular Christmas outing, returning to the London stage for Christmas. The loveable little mouse will once again be taking a "stroll through the deep, dark wood". Threatened by various predators, a snake, an owl and a gruffalo with "terrible tusks and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws", the mouse outwits them all. The plot is enchanting and is told by Tall Stories with a winning simplicity. The cast of three, including Owen Guerin as The Gruffalo and Ellie Bell as mouse, manage to transform the stage with remarkably few props and a host of infectiously catchy songs. Many of the memorable lines become catchphrases and are repeated throughout the show in a bid to appeal to the innate 'again, again' approach favoured by children. By the end of the show they can raucously join in with their favourite bits. Recommended for children aged 3 and over.

 
 
 

I Want My Hat Back

The National stages a humorous and tuneful stage adaptation of Jon Klassen's popular children's classic.

Temporary Theatre (formerly The Shed), National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX

Tube: Temple Station, Waterloo Station

 

Dates: 12th November - 02nd January 2016

 

A humorous and tuneful stage adaptation of Jon Klassen's popular children's classic for the over 3s. Pubished in 2011, Klassen's simple but oh so witty book has already become a modern children's classic. In the story we meet bear. Bear's hat is gone. He loves his hat. He wants it back. He asks all of the animals in the forest, but no one has seen it. WAIT! He has seen it... I Want My Hat Back comes to the stage in a joyous new adaptation with book and lyrics by Joel Horwood and music by Arthur Darvill who played the villainous pirate Long John Silver in Treasure Island, the National Theatre's 2014 Christmas show.

 
 
 

Goodnight Mister Tom

David Wood's Olivier Award winning adaptation comes to the Duke of York's for Christmas.

Duke of York's Theatre, St Martins Lane, Soho, London, WC2N 4BG

Tube: Leicester Square Station, Charing Cross Station, Covent Garden Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 11th December - 20th February 2016

 

After success at the Chichester Festival Theatre and winning an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and Family in 2013, David Wood's adaptation of Goodnight Mister Tom is back for Christmas 2015. This time staged at the Duke of York's Theatre, Michelle Magorian's tale follows a young boy named Willie who suffers at the hands of his abusive mother. Events take a turn when the Blitz hits London and young Willie is evacuated to the idyllic English countryside, where he builds an unlikely friendship with a reclusive elderly gentleman, Mister Tom. Full of emotion and sensitivity, the story is a modern classic that has the ability to entertain audiences young and old alike, making it the perfect festive family show.

 
 
 

The Snowman

Translating the beautifully-illustrated book to dance.

Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, Holborn, London, WC2A 2HT

Tube: Holborn Station, Covent Garden Station, Temple Station

 

Dates: 25th November - 03rd January 2016

 

This staging of Raymond Briggs's The Snowman by Sadlers Wells, suitable for children aged 4 and over, staged in the Peacock Theatre, has become a much-loved festive tradition in London. Translating the beautifully-illustrated book to dance, the respected ballet company creates a winter wonderland of a stage show at their West End theatre. This is the theatrical equivalent of going to see Father Christmas except infinitely more spectacular as a young boy's snowman comes to life and the two of them fly across the sky. When Father Christmas does appear it's in a shimmering woodland, surrounded by magical reindeer, dancing penguins and a host of snowy friends. As the first notes of Walking in the Air fill the theatre, the heart-melting factor will not disappoint as awe-struck children (and adults) are mesmerised by the dazzling light show of snow.

 
 
 

A Christmas Carol

Jim Broadbent plays Scrooge in a new version of the Charles Dickens classic at Noel Coward Theatre.

Noel Coward Theatre, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4AU

Tube: Leicester Square Station, Covent Garden Station, Charing Cross Station, Piccadilly Circus Station

 

Dates: 30th November - 30th January 2016

 

He played Prince Albert in Blackadder's Christmas Carol but now Academy Award-winning actor Jim Broadbent plays Scrooge in a new (less silly) version of A Christmas Carol at the Noel Coward Theatre this winter. Adapted by Patrick Barlow from Charles Dickens' original story, the well-known tale of stingy Scrooge and poverty stricken Tiny Tim comes to life thanks to critically-acclaimed designer Tom Pye (The Testament of Mary, The Death of Klinghoffer, The Low Road) with Toby Sedgwick (War Horse, The 39 Steps) as director of movement. Jim Broadbent reunites with Patrick Barlow (who also wrote the long-running hit The 39 Steps) - the two performed for many years in Barlow's cult comedy troupe The National Theatre of Brent. The lead actor has also previously worked with director Phelim McDermott, the Olivier Award-winning artistic director of Improbable theatre company, who directed Theatre of Blood at the National in 2005 in which Broadbent last appeared on stage a decade ago.

 
 
 

The Firework-Maker's Daughter

A magical tale of courage and friendship with Balinese shadow puppetry and folk-inspired music.

Linbury Studio Theatre, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD

Tube: Covent Garden Station, Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 10th December - 02nd January 2016

 

David Bruce's opera, based on a story by Philip Pullman, is a magical tale of courage and friendship with Balinese shadow puppetry and folk-inspired music. In this theatrical event, suitable for all the family and for children aged 8 and upwards, composer David Bruce and poet Glyn Maxwell adapt Pullman's acclaimed children's novel The Firework-Maker's Daughter , telling the story of Lila who desperately wants to be a firework-maker like her father Lalchand. He claims it's no job for a girl so she runs away to learn the trade, followed by her friend Chulak and the lovesick white elephant Hamlet. Along the way they meet pirates, tigers and the terrifying Fire-Fiend in what p romises to be a fun theatrical spectacle set in a mystical Eastern land.

 
 
 

Dr Seuss's The Lorax

David Greig adapts The Lorax for the Old Vic's Christmas show.

Old Vic Theatre, 103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB

Tube: Waterloo Station, Southwark Station, Lambeth North Station

 

Dates: 02nd December - 16th January 2016

 

Inspired by Dr. Seuss's classic tale, David Greig adapts The Lorax for the Old Vic's Christmas show, a production directed by Max Webster who brought Twelfth Night to Regents Park Open Air Theatre for family audiences last summer. The bonkers tale tells of a moustachioed and cantankerous critter who's on a mission to protect the earth from the greedy, tree-chopping, Thneed-knitting businessman known only as The Once-ler. With songs and zany humour this is a show that will appeal to audiences of all ages.

 
 
 

Hetty Feather

The Olivier nominated show is one of four family shows at the north Finchley theatre this Christmas.

Artsdepot, 5 Nether Street, Tally Ho Corner, London, N12 0GA

Tube: Woodside Park Station

 

Dates: 02nd - 06th December 2015

 

After a sell-out West End run this summer, the Olivier nominated Hetty Feather arrives at artsdepot, one of four family shows at the north Finchley theatre this Christmas. This five star adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson's wonderful book which " gives Matilda a run for its money " (Telegraph). A "shape-shifting wonder of a show", it manages with a cast of just six and a few humble props, to treat us to a "character-crammed adventure that enthralls its young audience with ease for two hours" (Telegraph) . Phoebe Thomas is excellent in the lead role playing a Victorian girl who embarks on a search to find her real mother. Emma Reeves - known for CBBC's The Story of Tracy Beaker - wrote the script which introduces us to Hetty, her escape from the Foundling Hospital and her search for her real mother.

 
 
 

Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas (Under 6s)

Raymond Briggs' famous Christmas story returns to the Lyric for Chrismas 2015.

Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, 2 King Street, London, W6 0QA

Tube: Hammersmith Station

 

Dates: 20th November - 24th December 2015

 

Returning to the Lyric for a fourth Christmas run after three years of sell-out success, Raymond Briggs' famous Christmas story returns to the smallest stage of the Hammersmith theatre in 2015. Created by the London-born author and illustrator in 1973, Briggs' Father Christmas is as enchanting as it was 40 years ago, portraying Santa as a rather grumpy, discontented figure. In this adaptation presented by Pins and Needles the popular children's tale is told using puppet theatre and live music to create a wonderful seasonal outing for those under 6. Barry McCarthy, who plays the lead as, "a homely, flesh and blood old chap who snores, feels cold, goes to the loo..." (The Stage), reprises his role as Father Christmas.

 
 
 

The Snail And The Whale: Tall Stories

A seafaring father tells his girl of a small snail who has a big adventure.

Jacksons Lane Theatre, 269a Archway Road, London, N6 5AA

Tube: Highgate Station

 

Dates: 05th December - 03rd January 2016

 

A favourite with young readers, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's picture book, The Snail and the Whale about an unlikely pairing and an incredible journey, comes to life on stage. The live version is brought to the stage by Tall Stories who have already successfully adapted Donaldson/Scheffler books The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom for the stage. In this latest adaptation a seafaring father tells his girl of a small snail who has a big adventure when it hitches a ride on the tail of the whale. They weather stormy seas, meeting sharks and penguins along the way. And the little snail proves to be a hero when its snail trail writes a message which saves the whale. A wonderful adaptation of a favourite book by former Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson. Recommended for ages 4 and above.

 
 
 

The Railway Children

E Nesbitt's classic tale is specially adapted for the railway setting by Mike Kenny.

King's Cross Railway Station, Euston Road, London, N1 9AP

Tube: King's Cross Station

 

Dates: 16th December 2014 to 30th October 2016

 

Martin Barrass stars as Mr Perks in Mike Kenny's Olivier Award-winning adaptation of The Railway Children at King's Cross Theatre until 3rd January 2016. E Nesbitt's classic tale is specially adapted for the railway setting by Mike Kenny. A highlight of this site specific theatrical production in which the three children are forced to make do after their father's false imprisonment is a real steam locomotive, Silver Stirling, whose steam and noise certainly adds to the atmospheric setting. When the show premiered at the National Railway Museum, York, in the summer of 2008 it was described as "pretty spectacular" (The Guardian) with Kenny's "unsentimental adaptation" praised for reclaiming the text from romantic notions and frilly petticoats, returning to Nesbit's original Fabian message. The rest of the station has been put to good use too - while you're waiting for the play to start, you can browse an exhibition all about E Nesbit's original book, the history of the railways, the Railway Children Charity, and the play's Yorkshire setting.

 
 
 

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

The much loved Judith Kerr picture book of a tiger creating tea time mayhem is brought to life.

Lyric Shaftesbury Avenue, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7ES

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station, Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 25th November - 10th January 2016

 

David Wood's Olivier award-nominated musical adaptation of Judith Kerr's picture book The Tiger Who Came To Tea returns to the London stage after a successful revival here last year. This much loved tale of a tiger creating tea time mayhem is brought vividly to life on stage in a show packed with oodles of magic, sing a long songs and clumsy chaos. Reviewing this production last year, The Guardian noted approvingly the "delightful sleight-of hand (or should that be sleight-of-paw?) magic tricks" and popular "pratfalls" from dad and the clumsy milkman and postman.

 
 
 

A Christmas Carol

Ciaran McConville directs a new version of this classic tale.

Rose Theatre Kingston, 24-26 High Street, Kingston upon Thames, London, KT1 1HL

Tube: Richmond Station

 

Dates: 01st December - 03rd January 2016

 

Charles Dickens's seasonal tale A Christmas Carol is brought to life once again this Christmas, with Ciaran McConville directing his own version at the Rose Theatre Kingston. Promising a heart-warming family production that's ideal for the festive season, McConville directs a company of actors joined by members of the Rose Youth Theatre. The enchanting story follows Ebenezer Scrooge on a Christmas like no other, when he is propelled on a helter-skelter, supernatural ride through the Christmas past, present and future, encouraging him to embrace the Christmas spirit before it's too late.

 
 
 

Wow! Said the Owl

Story-telling, puppetry and music with a wow factor for the under fours.

Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage, London, N1 2DN

Tube: Angel Station

 

Dates: 02nd December - 31st January 2016

 

An awe-inspiring book for young readers, Wow! Said the Owl by award winning author Tim Hopgood, has inspired a Christmas production for the very young. Children as young as two will enjoy the world of colours with this curious little owl who, unlike other little owls, stays awake the whole day long. Beautiful colours of the pink sky, green leaves, and golden sun inspire this not-so nocturnal creature to stay awake through the day. But it's not until night that the stars produce the biggest wow factor of all. A blend of beautiful story-telling, puppetry and music directed by Joy Haynes, this show will delight and theatre goers under four years old.

 
 
 
 
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