What to take school groups to see at the theatre

A new take on Shakespeare and Pinter's political plays are among the highlights of this term's theatre offerings

A new term and a new adventure awaits those intrepid enough to brave the stalls with children in tow. The autumn seasons at the majority of UK theatres offer a fairly traditional diet of Shakespeare, novel adaptations and family Christmas shows. However, there are still a few bold options for the brave theatregoer: a new production of The Tempest that restores the original music to Shakespeare's text and a site-specific staging of some of Pinter's political plays. If it's a production of a set text you're after, here are our top picks.

Animal Farm

George Orwell, adapted by Peter Hall

Theatre Clywd, Mold, Flintshire

CH7 1YA. Tel 0845 330 3565


13 Oct to 5 Nov. Tickets £10 to £19.50

Beasts and Beauties

Carol Ann Duffy

Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, London, NW3 3EU. Tel 020 7722 9301


1 Dec to 7 Jan. Tickets £12 to £24

Last year's hit Christmas show is back at the Hampstead Theatre for another outing: sensitively and wittily staged, Beasts and Beauties puts a contemporary spin on much-loved children's stories.

Beautiful Thing

Jonathan Harvey

Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann's Square, Manchester, M2 7DH. Tel 0161 833 9833


9 Nov to 3 Dec. Tickets £9 to £33


CP Taylor

Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann's Square, Manchester, M2 7DH. Tel 0161 833 9833


12 Oct to 5 Nov. Tickets £9 to £33

CP Taylor's rarely-revived play about an academic struggling to remain "good" in Nazi Germany is staged at the Royal Exchange. Ideal for students of history and theatre studies.

Great Expectations

Charles Dickens, adapted by Neil Bartlett

The Watermill Theatre, Newbury.

Tel 01635 46044. www.watermill.org.uk

Until 5 Nov. Tickets £14.50 to £26


William Shakespeare

Young Vic, 66 The Cut, London, SE1 8LZ

Tel 020 7922 2922


28 Oct to 21 Jan. Tickets £10 to £29.50

The Homecoming

Harold Pinter

Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BB. Tel 0870 609 1110. www.rsc.org.uk

Until 15 Oct. Tickets £5 to £32

A top-drawer production of Pinter's play about chickens coming home to roost.In the intimate setting of The Swan Theatre, David Farr's production brings one of modern drama's most fascinating families to vivid life.

I, Malvolio

Tim Crouch

Swan Room, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BB. Tel 0870 609 1110. www.rsc.org.uk

19 to 23 Oct. Tickets £5 to £10

Tim Crouch's Shakespeare shows for young people are always a thoughtful treat: his new piece I, Malvolio examines the workings of Twelfth Night from the perspective of one of its most intriguing characters. I, Peasebottom runs at the same venue over the same dates.

The Importance Of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde

Old Rep Theatre, Station Street, Birmingham, B5 4DY. Tel 0121 236 4455


Until 22 Oct. Tickets £10 to £28.50

King Lear

William Shakespeare

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Playhouse Square, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UP

Tel 0113 213 7700. www.wyp.org.uk

Until 22 Oct. Tickets £11 to £27

Tim Pigott-Smith takes to the stage in Leeds to play one of Shakespeare's most demanding roles.


William Shakespeare

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BB. Tel 0870 609 1110


Until 6 Nov. Tickets £14 to £58

A Midsummer Night's Dream

William Shakespeare

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BB. Tel 0870 609 1110


Until 5 Nov. Tickets £14 to £58

The New World Order

Harold Pinter

Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT. Tel 020 7638 8891


16 Nov to 11 Dec. Tickets £18

Brighton-based company Hydrocracker bring their pioneering site-specific work based around a selection of Pinter's short political works to the stunning surroundings of Shoreditch Town Hall. Ideal for students of English and theatre studies.


William Shakespeare

Crucible Theatre, 55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield S1 1DA. Tel 0114 249 6000


Until 15 Oct. Tickets £12 to £25

Daniel Evans's new production of Othello reunites The Wire's Clarke Peters and Dominic West in what promises to be a fascinating examination of jealousy, insecurity and naked ambition.


Jane Austen, adapted by Tim Luscombe

Salisbury Playhouse, Malthouse Lane, Salisbury, SP2 7RA. Tel 01722 320 333


20 Oct to 12 Nov. Tickets from £12 to £21

The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui

Bertold Brecht

Playhouse Theatre, Williamson Square, Liverpool, L1 1EL. Tel  0151 709 4776


Until 22 Oct. Tickets from £12 to £21


Edward Bond

Lyric Theatre, King Street, London, W6 0LQ. Tel 0871 22 117 29. www.lyric.co.uk

6 Oct to 5 Nov. Tickets £12.50 to £30

A rare revival for Bond's seminal and shocking play. Saved isn't suitable for younger audiences, but more mature groups are sure to be engaged by the boldness and ambition of this modern classic.

The Tempest

William Shakespeare

St Giles Cripplegate, Fore Street, London, EC2Y 8DA. Tel 020 7638 8891


Until 22 October. Tickets £21

This production of The Tempest aims to restore much of the original music that Shakespeare's audience would have enjoyed to the theatre experience. For those who prefer their productions a little more traditional, Ralph Fiennes plays Prospero at The Haymarket.

Top Girls

Caryl Churchill

Trafalgar Studios, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DY. Tel 0870 060 6644


Until 29 Oct. Tickets £20 to £45

The Wind In The Willows

Kenneth Grahame, adapted by Alan Bennett

The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ. Tel 0843 208 6010


2 Dec to 14 Jan. Tickets £8.50 to £18


Federico García Lorca, adapted by Anthony Weigh

Gate Theatre, 11 Pembridge Road, London W11 3HQ. Tel 020 7229 0706


9 Nov to 17 Dec. Tickets £10 to £20

A new version of Lorca's play about longing and loneliness promises to fill London's tiny Gate Theatre with colour and life.

• This article was amended on 4 October 2011. The original said The Wind In The Willows will be at the Library Theatre, Manchester. This has been corrected.


Lyndsey Turner

The GuardianTramp

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