Family Christmas Shows in London

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The Snowman

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The Snowman
The Snail And The Whale: Tall Stories
Peter Pan
Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes


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. 

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Peter Pan

The National Theatre presents JM Barrie's timeless tale for children 7 years and above.

National Theatre: Olivier Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 8XZ

Tube: Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 16th November - 29th December 2016


JM Barrie's timeless tale of the boy who refused to grow old takes flight in a devised co-production with Bristol Old Vic. Sophie Thompson (who played Mafalda Hopkirk in Harry Potter and Lydia in Four Weddings and a Funeral) portrays a vengeful Captain Hook opposite Madeleine Worrall as Wendy. Following the acclaimed Jane Eyre, Sally Cookson is back, directing this wondrously inventive version of Peter Pan to the National Theatre and exploring the complexities of growing up. Expect magic, mischief, music and make-believe in this family show suitable for children 7 years and above.


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.


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: 23rd November - 01st January 2017


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.


The Snail And The Whale: Tall Stories

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

The Albany, Douglas Way, London, SE8 4AG

Tube: New Cross Station (East London line closed. Bus service operates)


Dates: 05th December - 01st January 2017


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


Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes

World premiere of new ballet set to music by a golden-age Hollywood composer.

Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 06th December - 29th January 2017


Dance master Matthew Bourne takes on Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's film and Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale to create new ballet production The Red Shoes, being staged at Sadler's Wells this December. A beloved fairytale and Academy Award-winning movie, the story has seduced audiences and inspired generations of dancers with a tale of obsession, possession and one girl's dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. This adaptation will be set to a new score arranged by Terry Davies, using the music of Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann.


The Railway Children

E Nesbitt's classic tale, adapted by Mike Kenny, features a real steam locomotive.

King's Cross Theatre, Cnr Of King's Boulevard And Goods Way, London, N1C 4AG

Tube: King's Cross Station


Dates: 16th December - 08th January 2017


Mike Kenny's Olivier Award-winning adaptation of The Railway Children, staged at Waterloo three years ago, is now at King's Cross Theatre. 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.

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