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Family friendly theatre in London for the festive season 2021

We've gone ahead and compiled a mammoth list of all the best kid friendly London theatre, shows and panto to keep the family entertained for Christmas 2020.

Christmas 2020 is most certainly not cancelled. There are still a variety of family friendly shows to enjoy this Christmas 2020 and beyond, whilst supporting an industry that has struggled this year.

Gruffalo’s Child

Join the Gruffalo’s Child on her adventurous mission in this magical musical stage adaptation of the much-loved picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Expect songs, laughs and lots of festive fun for children aged 3 and above.
When: Various dates (and times) throughout December until 3 January 2021
Where: Alexandra Palace
How much: £12 to £18 per person, more info and booking via their website here.

Dear Santa!

Santa is determined to deliver the most fantastic Christmas present to Sarah, but he doesn’t get it right straight away! With the help of his cheeky Elf, he finally settles on something ‘perfect’, just in time for Christmas Eve. From the author of the well-loved children’s book DEAR ZOO, Rod Campbell, comes ‘Dear Santa’ and it’s LIVE!
When: 3 – 24 December 2020
Where: Riverside Studios
How much: £16 per person for a two seat bubble and £25 per person for a 4 seat bubble more info and booking here.

A Christmas Carol

Enjoy this Dickensian classic with older children as there is smoke, infrequent swearing and loud noises. A Christmas Carol didn’t just invent Christmas as we know it. It’s also scary, joyful, spooky, hilarious, furious, beautiful, and a triumphant declaration that even the hardest heart can melt.
When: 3 December 2020 until 16 January 2021
Where: Bridge Theatre
How much: from £15 more info and booking here.

The man who wanted to be a penguin

This is the story of an extraordinary explorer, a curious conjurer and pioneering problem-solver. You’ll find him pottering in his shed; planning his latest mission. He is learning to speak Penguin and hopes that you will too! With a playful energy and a mix of puppetry, music and song, this show will be a delightful celebration of wild creativity and the joy of individuality.
When: 5 December 2020 – 23 December 2020
Where:
The Albany
How much:
Little bubble (one adult and two kids) £20 and a big bubble is £40 (two adults and three kids). More info and booking here.

Mr Stink Live on stage

The very kind, but lonely, 12 year old Chloe invites the homeless ‘Mr Stink’ to leave behind the wooden bench where he has taken up residence and secretly move into her family’s shed for Christmas. Matters become more complicated when Chloe’s mother – with unfulfilled political ambitions – tries to take credit for Chloe’s generosity. And precisely who is Mr Stink, anyway?
When: from 5 December 2020 until 5 January 2021
Where: Chickenshed Theatre
How much: from £8 more info and booking here.

The Crow’s Tale

Hear the story of a Crow with colourful rainbow feathers that flies to the sun to save the world from an endless winter. Inspired by a Lenni Lenape Native American legend, and based on the picture book (of the same name) by Naomi Howarth, Crow embarks on a journey that will transform his appearance forever.
When: 6 December until 31 January 2021
Where: Puppet Barge
How much: £5 more info and booking via their website here.

Stick Man 

The 2008 children’s book written by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is brought to life in this jolly performance on stage. Expect laugh out loud moments, loads of audience participation, live music and puppetry alongside a visit from Santa. 
When: 10 December until 2 Jan 2021
Where: Rose Theatre in Kingston
How much: tickets start at £12 and can be purchased here

Dick Whittington 

Join Dick Whittington and friends on an adventure to save the true spirit of London as pantomime comes to the National Theatre for one year only. This hilarious and heartfelt panto is packed with the cheekiest of jokes, the chattiest of animals, the awesomest of songs and the messiest of silliness.
When: 11 December 2020 until 23 January 2021
Where: National Theatre
How much: Tickets from £20 more info and booking here

Wow! Said the owl

Explore the wonderful world of colours with a curious little owl, who is determined to stay awake and see what daylight brings. From the warm, pink glow of dawn through to a day filled with the bright colours of green leaves, blue sky, white clouds and, finally, a stunning rainbow – ‘WOW!’ But despite the beauty of the daytime world, the little owl decides that the night-time stars are the most beautiful of all.
When: 12 December 2020 until 31st December 2020
Where: Little Angel Theatre
How much: £12.50 for adults and £10 for children over the age of one. More info and booking here.

Pantoland 

Celebrating the very best of pantomime, with comedy in abundance and big show-stopping numbers, this star-filled extravaganza will play to a socially distanced audience for three weeks only.
When: from 12 December until 3 January 2021
Where: London Palladium
How much: from £25 more info and booking here.

Eunice: A Christmas Musical

Join Eunice and her best friend Hortense in this magical Christmas musical story, as they go on an adventure to find out who Eunice really is. They’ll meet a whole array of wonderful characters, and rumour has it that Santa will be making an appearance and during the Christmas week you’ll even be able to meet him in the Santa’s Grotto.
When: 15 December 2020 – 27 December 2020
Where: Stanley Halls
How much: £8 for children and £12 for adults more info and booking here.

The little match girl

Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story, Arthur Pita presents a beautiful recreation of The Little Match Girl through dance, song and Frank Moon’s live atmospheric music. Perfect for the whole family this festive season. 
When: 17-27 December 2020
Where:
Sadler’s Wells
How much: from £18 more info and booking here

Three little Christmas pigs

The Three Little Christmas pigs tells the traditional tale of Piggy Straw, Piggy Sticks and Piggy Bricks, with a great big Christmassy Twist. Full of singing, dancing, counting, phonics and madcap fun this interactive show will have little ones entranced, grown-ups in stitches and everyone feeling the magic of Christmas.
When: 17 December until 22 December 2020
Where: The Exchange in Twickenham
How much: £10 to £12 more info and booking here.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

This exciting, fun filled adaptation of Joan Aiken’s classic children’s novel sees cousins Bonnie and Sylvia and their friend Simon the Gooseboy encountering a host of unforgettable characters as they discover that the wolves roaming the forests and fields outside may not be as dangerous as the wolfish adults plotting inside. A magical, musical, wintry treat, this socially distanced family production is the perfect way to celebrate the festive season in true theatrical style.
When: from 18 December 2020 until 10 January 2021
Where:
Greenwich Theatre
How much: £20 more info and booking here.

The Little Match Girl

Rediscover the magic of live theatre this Christmas with a brand-new festive musical performed in the historic grounds of The Old Royal Naval College. Based on the short story by Hans Christian Andersen, you will be transported to a magical world through original songs, superb storytelling, and the awe-inspiring backdrop of a UNESCO world heritage site. 
When: 18 December 2020 until 21 December 2020
Where: Old Royal Naval College (outdoors)
How much: £5 adults and £3 for kids, more info here.

Breaking the ice

This playful and light-hearted show is inspired by the true story of an unlikely friendship between a husky and a wild polar bear. Expect a journey into the snow where music, shadows and projection will transport you to a place where polar bears and huskies really can be friends. Breaking the Ice is a non-verbal show which combines physical theatre, puppetry, interactive projection, animation and traditional Sami music. It’s the perfect arctic adventure for your pack this festive season!
When: 19 – 31 December 2020
Where: Arts Depot 
How much: from £9 more info and booking here.

The Gruffalo and the Snowman

The Gruffalo has been re-worked into an enchanting piece for narrator and orchestra by Philip Mackenzie. In the manner of Peter and the Wolf, each character in the tale is represented by a different instrument of the orchestra – any guesses what the Gruffalo will be played by? Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without The Snowman and what better way to see this iconic film than with a live symphony orchestra providing the soundtrack and guest soloist, eleven-year-old Alice Mackenzie singing ‘Walking in the Air’?
When: 21 – 22 December 2020
Where:
Cadogan Hall
How much:
£32 more info and booking here

Far Far Away: Tchaikovsky and The Marvellous Kingdom

Join musicians from Aurora Orchestra on a glittering adventure through the Marvellous Kingdom: meet singing ducks, dancing shoes and soaring space rockets.
When: 21 December 2020
Where: King’s Place
How much: £7.50 to £9.50 more info and booking here. 

The Ballad of Rudy

In this story, Rudy doesn’t have a red nose; rather it’s his talent for music that sets him apart from all the other Reindeer. Meeting new friends including a magical Jazz Penguin, Rudy goes on an adventure that teaches him that life isn’t about following the herd.
When: 27 December 2020
Where: Brasserie Zedel
How much: From £12 more info and booking here

Theatre from home

If you are unable to make it to a show in person, here are some suggestions of what you can enjoy from home.

The Seashell Stew: A show in a box

With original artwork, sound design and music, The Seashell Stew brings a little bit of theatre magic to your home this winter. Enjoy a screen-free family experience with this craft box / paper theatre / radio play. Snuggled inside the box, you’ll find everything you need to create your own festive family show including your very own storyteller! Cut out and colour the puppets and set from The Seashell Stew, listen to this heart-warming story inspired by a traditional folk-tale and act along or create your own version. More info here.

Christmas at the Snow Globe 

The Globe Theatre has a variety of family friendly activities and shows that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home. From workshops and storytelling to live streams and crafts. More info via their website here.

Little Angel Theatre

With a variety of courses, crafts and a series of online shows (most available to watch on demand as well as live stream) there is sure to be something for you at the Little Angel Theatre. Find it via their website here.

Father Christmas show

The Lyric Theatre are bringing Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas to you this year with an online version that is available for £10 to watch anytime between 9 – 24 Dec, so you can choose the time to best suit the rest of your festive plans! More info and booking via their website here

Akin: we cover the universe

Awaken your imagination with this interactive, sensory and wondrous online show for under-fives brought to you from the Barbican. Expect poetry, drawing and gentle play to broaden your horizons. More info and booking via their website here

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