The Best Family Theatre Shows for Summer 2021
Hooray for the return of live theatre! In celebration, Junior has rounded up this summer’s must-see shows for families. Whether you’re looking to inspire a lifelong long of the performing arts or just fancy some alfresco entertainment to brighten up the holidays, there’s something for everyone happening on stage this summer.
Junior Round-Up: Best Family Theatre Shows for Summer 2021
The Wind in the Willows, Kew Gardens, London
Join Ratty, Weasel and the loveable Mr Toad for this brilliantly bonkers performance, set in the delightful surroundings of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. This outdoor musical extravaganza takes full advantage of its setting, as you’ll (quite literally!) hop between two picturesque stage set locations.
The wonderfully eccentric cast are skilled at keeping the children’s attention, from babies to teens, with a 90-minute show that’s impressively interactive. You’ll soon be wiggling your bunny ears and dancing along as Rabbit serenades the audience.
The Wind in the Willows ticket price includes admission to Kew Gardens after the performance,making it great value for a family outing. Bring a blanket, picnic, plus waterproofs in case of showers and make a day of it. Little ones can also dust off their favourite costumes, as fancy dress is actively encouraged. This is outdoor theatre at its most engaging.
- The Wind in the Willows at Kew Gardens runs until 30th August 2021, with morning and afternoon shows available.
- Suitable for all ages.
- Adult £22.90, Child (age 1-15) £17.90 Group of 4: £70
The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Theatre Royal Haymarket, London
Judith Kerr’s classic book The Tiger Who Came to Tea has been brought to life with this charming musical play that’s perfectly pitched for younger children. Kerr’s iconic illustrations are reflected in the jolly stage set and costumes. There’s also the addition of plenty of feel-good songs and audience interaction to keep little ones engaged. At one point the cast even manage to get the audience singing in rounds – which is no small feat given their ages!
This award winning production of The Tiger Who Came to Tea is now in its 7thWest End season, having been adapted and directed by David Wood, the renowned writer and director of musicals for children. It’s a lovely opportunity to see the nation’s favourite tea-guzzling tiger on stage, set against the beautifully ornate and intimate surroundings of the Royal Theatre Haymarket. The show runs for 55 minutes without an interval and there’s also a little kiosk of tiger-themed toys and books to purchase.
- The Tiger Who Came to Teaat the Theatre Royal Haymarket runs until Sunday 5 September 2021. The production will continue on a national tour into 2022, full touring dates to be announced.
- Suitable for ages 3+
- Tickets: from £14.50
Billionaire Boy, Garrick Theatre, London
Billionaire Boy is one of those great shows where the parents are soon laughing out loud alongside the kids. Fans of the bestselling children’s author David Walliams will be familiar with this tale of Joe Spud, the richest kid in the country who is sorely lacking in the friendship department. The 2010 novel has since been adapted for the stage and is making a welcome return to the West End this summer, following a sell-out run in 2019.
Billionaire Boy is the third David Walliams stage adaptation; hot on the heels of the hit shows Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie.Cue plenty of songs, silliness and a humorous cast that manage to juggle multiple roles, while still looking like they’re having an absolute blast onstage!
The two hour long performance has been sprinkled with catchy, original songs that will bring a smile to your face and have you tapping your toes in the aisles. And the helicopter scene is sure to impress young theatregoers. Billionaire Boy is a riot of a show that expertly manages to appeal to the whole family.
- Billionaire Boy at the Garrick Theatre runs until 22 August 2021.
- Suitable for age 5+.
- Tickets start from £19
Horrible Histories: Balmy Britain, Part Five! Apollo Theatre, London
The world’s most entertaining history lesson returns to the West End this summer for a raucous romp through the most bizarre and entertaining chapters of British history!
Ten years after the Horrible Histories team made their stage debut, this two-person show is back and jam-packed with amusing new characters, throwing light on Britain’s balmy past. During the 70 minutes show, expect lots of costume changes, cheeky jokes and even a rap about William the Conqueror thrown in for good measure! Learning about Thomas Becket or King Henry VIII has officially never been so much fun.
- Horrible Histories: Balmy Britain runs from 29 July – 28 August 2021
- Tickets start from £21
Puppet Picnic, Little Angel Theatre, London
2021 marks the 60-year anniversary of the Little Angel Theatre, and this much-loved London institution is celebrating in style with a packed schedule of playful puppetry. Making a comeback for August, Little Angel Theatre’s popular puppet picnics return to Islington Square. Bring a picnic and rug, sit back and be entertained by an alfresco puppet show.
A highlight of the puppet picnic schedule is the Wishing Tree, running from the 9-29thAugust. Set against a backdrop of six magical trees designed by different artists, this thoughtful play was inspired by a new poem from award-winning poet Joseph Coelho, incorporating ideas from local Islington school children coming out of the pandemic. It’s an uplifting tribute to the importance of friendship when life gets tough, brought to life with vivid puppetry.
- The Wishing Tree runs 9 – 26 September 2021. Weekdays: 10.30am & 1pm.Weekends: 10.30am, 1pm & 3.30pm.
- Suitable for ages 5-11
- Tickets: £13.50 adults, £11.50 children
The Gruffalo, Alexandra Palace Theatre, London
Find out what happens when a mouse takes a stroll through a deep dark wood, in this gentle but fun musical adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s famous picture book. The 55 minute show is produced by award-winning theatre company Tall Stories, who’ve also adapted stage hits including The Gruffalo’s Child and Room on the Broom.
Playing multiple roles, the three main actors do a great job of making this show interactive – to the extent that the Gruffalo evens runs amok in the audience at one point, much to the delight of the little ones!
Make an Ally Pally day of it and hire a unicorn or dinosaur shaped pedalo on the nearby boating lake or cool off with a skate on the ice rink. There are also food trucks and a play-park on the doorstep.
- The Gruffalo runs until the 29thAugust.
- Recommended for ages 3 years and up
- Ticket Prices: £14 - 20 + £1 booking fee