Top 10 shows to take the kids to this half term

Fancy treating your children to a trip to the theatre this school holiday? Here’s some tips for the best half term shows

Danny Childs as the Ugly Duckling in Ugly Duckling
Danny Childs as the Ugly Duckling in Ugly Duckling
© Brian Slater

10. Ugly Duckling

The Montgomery, Sheffield, 21 October and then tours

Emma Reeves, the name behind the hit adaptation of Hetty Feather, has created this version of the old fable with theatre company tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal. Expect great puppets in the retelling of the classic tale of a little duck who goes on an adventure to try to fit in. The show tours ahead of a run at The Albany from 4 to 31 December.

Le Gateau Chocolat in Duckie
Le Gateau Chocolat in Duckie

9. Duckie

Contact Theatre, Manchester 24 to 25 October

The effervescent performance artist, actor and cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat has made a surprising swerve into the world of children's theatre. Duckie is his first foray and it is another riff on Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling. The piece is all about not fitting the mould and set in an animal circus.

Read our week in the life of Le Gateau Chocolate here

Spun Glass Theatre's Princess Charming
Spun Glass Theatre's Princess Charming
© Vix Paine

8. Princess Charming

Ovalhouse, 24 to 28 October

We love the sound of this show which celebrates boys who like pink and girls who like football. Princess Charming is a cabaret for both boys and girls who like to dressing up and jumping about. Spun Glass' show explores gender stereotypes for kids aged 7 to 11 and sounds like a whole lot of fun.

Read more about Ovalhouse's new season here

Debbie Korley as Beowulf
Debbie Korley as Beowulf
© Graham Michael

7. Beowulf

Unicorn, 21 to 22 October

An intriguing concept from theatremaker Chris Thorpe: this is an adaptation of the original, epic old English poem from 975 AD, re-imagined in a contemporary staging. The show has an immersive metal and electro live soundtrack and it's all directed by Justin Audibert. The show has an age guidance of 8 to 13.

Check out our first look at Beowulf here

Stick Man
Stick Man
© Steve Ullathorne

6. Stick Man on tour

artsdepot, 21 to 22 October

Stick Man is an old reliable, but Scamp Theatre is well-known as an excellent interpreter of classic kids books. And this one, about a stick man who gets stuck on a misadventure after heading out for his morning jog, is no exception. A three-strong cast tell the original story with lots of fun and it's on a huge tour so will likely be visiting a theatre near you very soon.

Find out everything you need to make a great children's show here

© Tall Stories

5. The Gruffalo's Child

Nuffield Southampton Theatres, 23 to 28 October

Tall Stories' stage adaptations of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's children's books have been wowing children for over 15 years. Their current tour stops off in Southampton this half term before a West End run this Christmas.

Read our Gruffalo blog from the founders of Tall Stories

Simon Lipkin, Daniel Boys and Sarah Earnshaw with the Children of St Bernadette's School
Simon Lipkin, Daniel Boys and Sarah Earnshaw with the Children of St Bernadette's School
© Simon Turtle

4. Nativity! The Musical

Birminham Repertory Theatre, 20 October to 12 November

We're not quite sure why this is on in October either, but we're glad it is. Christmas isn't Christmas without Debbie Isitt's film starring Martin Freeman. Now you can see it on stage with a cast including Simon Lipkin, Daniel Boys and Sarah Earnshaw.

Read more about Louis Walsh's stage debu in Nativity!

3. Disney's Fantasia: Live in Concert

Royal Albert Hall, 23 October at 1.30pm and 6.30pm

Here's something a little different for your littl'uns this half term. As part of the Royal Albert Hall’s Festival of Film you can watch Walt Disney’s original 1940 Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 on a huge screen, with live music from the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.

Read our review of Disney's Broadway Hits at Royal Albert Hall

© Manuel Harlan

2. The Lorax

Old Vic, 15 October to 5 November

No half term is complete without some puppet-shaped entertainment and David Greig's adaptation of Dr. Seuss's classic tale The Lorax is back at the Old Vic, following its acclaimed run at the venue in 2015. Directed by Max Webster, the production also has choreography by the brilliant Drew McOnie.

Read our review of the 2015 production of The Lorax

© Manuel Harlan

1. Matilda

Cambridge Theatre

Six years after it opened in London's West End, Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly's musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's book is still a favourite for children and adults alike. A new cast including Gina Beck and Tom Edden has just joined too so it's a perfect time to visit (or revisit).

Watch our video with the new cast of Matilda

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