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Half term theatre: 8 shows you should see during the school holidays

We take a look at some of the theatrical events taking place over the school holiday next week

© Manuel Harlan

School's out for a week! If you are lucky enough to still be school age, you probably can't wait for a whole week of no classes. If you are a parent, you're probably dreading the idea of entertaining your children for a whole week! Either way, we have taken the liberty of selecting some shows that you should definitely see during half term.

3 - 8 years old: The Gruffalo & Joey's Circus Comes to Town

Tall Stories' musical stage adaptation of the award winning picture book, The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, comes to the Rose Theatre Kingston this half term.

Voted the nation's number one bedtime story by BBC Radio 2 listeners, The Gruffalo introduces 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...? Suitable for children aged 3 .

Joey's Circus Comes to Town is a fun adventure family show taking place at the Puppet Theatre Barge in Little Venice over half term.

The Beadle wants to close the circus down but Dog Toby comes to the rescue. Featuring traditional characters such as Pretty Polly, Burglar Bill and Mr Punch, all on strings!

8 - 13 years old: I, Peaseblossom /I, Caliban and The Secret of Q

Shakespeare's most popular stories come to life in two shows by Tim Crouch at the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon. Meet Peaseblossom and Caliban as they draw you into A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest.

I, Caliban is a tale of injustice, magic and missing your mum, as told by Caliban, a puppy-headed monster alone on Prospero's island at the end of The Tempest. I, Peaseblossom takes an enchanting journey through the world of A Midsummer Night's Dream, brought to life by Peaseblossom, Shakespeare's most neglected fairy.

Dutch theatre company, Het Filiaal, presents The Secret of Q, a show about health and safety gone mad.

Using cameras, puppets, models, and projection the show, that takes place at the Unicorn theatre, focusses on G, a ten year old who has never been outside – because that's just the safest thing to do, according to Q, the man who runs the town where G lives. Everyone in town sticks to Q's rules; that is, until G's grandfather remembers something extremely important and then suddenly disappears…

For the first time in her life, G breaks the rules and goes outside to look for her grandfather and discover the secret of Q.

13 - 16 years old: Matilda and The Animals and Children Took to the Streets

Inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl, with book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda is the captivating musical masterpiece from the Royal Shakespeare Company that revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination and the inspiring story of a girl who dares to change her destiny.

It must also be said that whilst Matilda is in this age bracket for this article, we would recommend it for any age range, from the young'uns right up to the grandparents!

Welcome to the Bayou, a part of the city feared and loathed, wherein lies the infamous Bayou Mansions: a stinking sprawling tenement block, where curtain-twitchers and peeping-toms live side by side, and the wolf... is always at the door.

When Agnes Eaves and her daughter arrive late one night, does it signal hope in this hopeless place, or has the real horror only just begun?

Following two sell-out runs at the National Theatre, the show by award-winning company 1927 returns. Synchronizing live music, performance and storytelling with film and animation, The Animals and Children Took to the Streets is suitable for children aged 11 years and up.

Age guidance: 11 years

16 : Let the Right One In and In the Heights

Following its sell out success at the Royal Court, Let the Right One In transfered to the recently re-furbished and re-opened Apollo Theatre. Based on the novel and film by John Ajvide Lindqvist, director John Tiffany told us:

"Like all the best fairytales about the journey to adulthood, Let the Right One In gets to the heart of what it is to be a teenager - with stunning design, music and acting, and a vampire the kind of which you've never seen before..."

Winner of the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical, In the Heights is an exhilarating journey into Washington Heights, one of Manhattan's most vibrant communities – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music.

With an Über-cool Latin and hip-hop infused score, In the Heights is a modern musical - currently playing at the Southwark Playhouse - about what it takes to make a living, what it costs to have a dream, and what it means to be home.