As coronavirus restrictions begin to ease, theatres are reopening with a host of fun productions suitable for the whole family. Here is our roundup of family theatre shows to watch in summer.
What The Ladybird Heard: Palace Theatre, 15 July-29 August
What The Ladybird Heard is an adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ award-winning picture book of the same name. Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len are planning to steal the farm’s prize cow, and it is down to the Ladybird to lead the animals on a quest to save the day. The production will have a West End run before embarking on a UK tour in autumn.
Maanika and The Wolf: Centre Court Shopping Centre, 31 July-29 August
A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, this show is ideal for children aged between three and six. The show is staged by Polka Theatre, and will take place in a pop-up theatre in Wimbledon’s Centre Court Shopping Centre.
Nature Elly: Little Angel Theatre, 2-31 July
Created by Barmpot Theatre in association with Little Angel Theatre, Nature Elly is a fun, interactive show that uses puppet animals to tell a mystery set on Elly’s farm. The production features original music and is aimed at children aged between 2-5 years old.
This Noisy Isle: Various venues, 29 July-15 August
This immersive adventure created by Spun Glass Theatre will visit five different venues across England over the summer and is perfect for 7-11 year olds. It deals with themes of human displacement and the challenges faced by migrants to the UK, and is loosely based around Shakespeare’s The Tempest, although no prior knowledge of the text is required to enjoy the show.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Pinocchio: Greenwich Theatre, 5 August-5 September
An adaptation of Joan Aiken’s novel of the same name, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase tells the story of two girls who battle through snowy wastelands and take on ferocious wolves. It will run alongside a new retelling of Pinocchio, and both shows are directed by Greenwich Theatre’s Artistic Director James Haddrel.
The Wind in the Willows: Sunnymead Meadow, 24 July-8 August
Helen Eastman’s adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s novel will bring the book to life among the meadow and river. Staged by Creation Theatre, tickets can be purchased in family bubbles of up to five people.
Little LTF 2021: St Luke’s Bombed Out Church, 12-18 July
Little LTF takes place from 12-18 July and includes 14 shows in a variety of genres. Children may particularly enjoy The Forgotten Forest, an interactive show celebrating friendship, togetherness, environment and the power of community. The festival also features showings of Anne Taft and David Paul’s Now! The Musical, and Asa Murphy’s The Monkey With No Bum – The Musical.
The Princess and the Pauper: Mowlem Theatre, 17-28 August
This new family musical is fully BSL-integrated, and all of the songs are choreographed with sign song, creating an equal experience for both deaf and hearing audiences. It is set in Elizabeth I’s reign, and retells Mark Twain’s tale using female protagonists.
Guildford Fringe Festival: Various Venues, 2-25 July
Guildford Fringe Festival takes place across July and includes over 70 events. In addition to family-friendly shows, there is comedy, poetry, music, and visual arts, so you’re bound to find something that appeals to everyone.
Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain- Part Five: Apollo Theatre, 29 July-28 August
Described as “history with the nasty bits left in”, audiences will have the opportunity to meet a range of characters from Britain’s past such as King William and King Henry I. Based on Terry Deary’s best-selling series Horrible Histories, the show is ideal for young history buffs.
London Theatre’s Kids Week, 1-31 August
While not a specific show, London Theatre’s Kids Week is a great initiative intended to encourage more young people to get involved in theatre. Children aged 17 and under can attend selected performances for free when accompanied by an adult. A family theatre trip certainly is a good day out!
Words by Ellen Leslie.
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