There is nothing more exciting than settling into a book and allowing yourself to be whisked away to imaginary lands, secret gardens or chocolate factories. We would all love to meet tigers who like tea, children with magical powers and insects who live in giant fruit. So what if you could see your favourite stories brought to life before your very eyes? Here’s a round up of book-related children’s shows, many of them are part of Kids Week in London’s West End which allows children to go for free during August – booking opens for Kids Week on 14 June 2016.
The first stop on our literary themed theatre tour is the Kings Cross Theatre, so jump aboard to see this fun family show.
In this story by E Nesbit, Roberta, Phyllis, Peter and their parents move from London to The Three Chimneys, a house near the railway in Yorkshire. Their father is accused of being a spy and is sent to prison. The children meet an old man who takes the same train from near their home everyday, can he help the children prove their dad is innocent?
The show is set on a stage built around a real train track which you will have to carefully cross to find your seat.
Now booking until January 2017.
For passengers aged two and up, ALL ABOARD!
Out of the award-winning children’s book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler and onto the West End stage, you will find The Gruffalo at the Lyric theatre this summer.
Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep dark wood in search of a nut, meeting the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the party mad Snake on the way.
This show has entertained audiences at the Sydney Opera House and on Broadway and it is now preparing to delight audiences in London. Theatre company Tall Stories have added a heap of songs, just a pinch of scares and a bucket full of laughs.
Mouse and friends will be at the Lyric Theatre from July until January 2017.
This show is suitable for ages three and up.
Everyone’s favourite tea drinking tiger is pouncing onto the London stage this summer before heading off on an international adventure.
Written by Judith Kerr, Sophie and her mum are just sitting down to tea when the doorbell rings. When they answer to the door they don’t expect to see a tiger in their doorway...
The tiger’s antics are bound to be fun to watch, especially with all the new fun songs written especially for this live show.
Join them for tea throughout August.
This show is suitable for ages three and up.
As the summer approaches it seems like the perfect time to visit the secret garden with Mary Lennox.
This musical is based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel about Mary, an orphan who has been sent to England from India to live with her uncle - who she never sees - and his poorly son, Colin. Mary discovers a locked garden and a boy who talks to the birds.
Like the British summer, this show’s season is short so make sure you catch it this summer.
The garden will open in August.
Children aged five and up are welcome to visit the secret garden.
Roald Dahl is quite popular in theatres at the moment, and James and the Giant Peach is the first of three of his stories to make the list!
This is the tale of James Trotter, a boy who is given a mysterious and magical gift of wriggling, glowing lights. When James drops his present under a tree he doesn’t realise that a peach has started growing and growing. The giant peach begins James’s exciting adventure and takes him away from his two horrible aunts.
You can join James and his bug-eyed buddies this summer on their journey as they laugh and sing together and travel half way across the world.
This show is playing until August.
This show is recommended for ages five to 11.
This is the second of Roald Dahl’s books on the list.
Matilda is a lovely little bookworm with special powers. Her family, however, don’t understand her and would rather watch telly than read a book.
With music by Tim Minchin, this musical is fun for all the family. There is some brilliant dancing, clever songs and a lot of surprises in store.
You’ll leave the theatre singing the songs and you’ll probably want to read the book, or re-read it probably!
You can join the revolting children until May 2017.
This show is suitable for ages six and up.
Well we all know the muffin man who lives on Drury Lane but this theatre is also currently home to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
Charlie Bucket is an ordinary boy who comes from a poor family. One day an exciting announcement comes from the old abandoned chocolate factory saying that five lucky guests will be allowed to visit Willy Wonka if they find the Golden ticket.
Willy Wonka and the cast invite you in for an evening of pure imagination and of course a lot of chocolate.
This sweet show is booking until January 2017.
This show is suitable for ages six and up.
So it’s time to prepare yourselves for a special production of Horrible Histories featuring your favourite characters from our barmy past to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Barmy Britain in the West End!
Barmy Britain is part of the much loved and highly acclaimed Horrible Histories series by Terry Deary. If your favourite book happens to be Vile Victorians, Slimy Stuarts, Terrible Tudors or any of the other hilariously horrible books then fear not, as The Best of Barmy Britain will open on the West End in August until 3 September.
This show is recommended for ages five and up.
This book was written by Michael Morpurgo, the same man who wrote War Horse.
Keeping up with the war theme, this shows uses music and puppetry to tell the tale of an unknown story that took place during the D-Day landings and is based on real life!
Michael’s grandma lived in Devon during the second world war and the story is told using her diaries from when she was 12 years old, in 1943.
Everyone must leave their homes as the soldiers in the village are called upon to invade France. Lily’s cat, Tips, decides not to leave and scampers under the barbed wire. Lily is left with no choice but to return to the danger zone to save her beloved pet.
This show will be playing selected dates in August.
Recommended for ages eight and up.
Five years after the last Harry Potter film hit the silver screen and nine years after JK Rowling published the final book comes the latest addition to the magical world.
The play’s official synopsis was released at the end of last year:
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
You can see both parts from 7 June 2016, although you probably need to be a wizard to get tickets.
This play is for magic-loving muggles aged 10 and up.
15-year-old Christopher finds Mrs Shears’ dead dog. It’s just after midnight and there is a garden fork in the dog. Christopher becomes a suspect in the dog’s murder. Christopher makes it his mission to find out who killed the dog and records every bit of information he finds. His detective work takes him on a rather unexpected and frightening journey, as he’s never even been past the end of his road before!
Mark Haddon’s book was originally published in 2003 and has won more than 17 literary award including prizes in Japan, Holland and Italy.
Now booking until June 2017.
This show is suitable for ages 11 and up.
Based on Truman Capote’s book, this is the story of Holly Golightly who lives by socialising with rich men who take her out and buy her nice expensive presents. Holly hopes to marry one of her suitors one day.
Holly enjoys shocking people around her by telling them about her personal life and is outspoken in what she thinks.
Singer Pixie Lott is playing Holly in this new stage adaptation and as it is such a classic story and film, don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along to some much-loved classic songs.
Holly will be touring the country before settling in London on 30 June.
This show is suitable for ages 12 and up
A play about loss and young people’s yearnings by Carnegie and Guardian children’s fiction prize winner David Almond, based on the book he wrote The Savage. It’s a story about a story: a boy who has lost his father writes a story called The Savage, and then that ‘Savage’ comes to life. The book and play are set in Newcastle – and that’s where you can see the play too.
The show opens on Thursday 30 June and runs until Saturday 23 July 2016
Live Theatre, Newcastle. Suitable for ages 9+.
Please big up other plays based on books across the country that we should add to this blog by emailing email@example.com or tell us on Twitter @GdnChildrensBks.