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Top tips for taking children to the theatre for the first time

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Top tips for taking children to the theatre for the first time

Taking children on their first trip to the theatre can be very exciting, but also daunting. To make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible, follow our tips to make sure your trip is the best it can be.

Taking children to the theatre

Pick a show that your children would love to see

Aladdin
Photo credit: Deen van Meer

With many shows showing in London, it can often seem like there’s too much choice. However, there are plenty of West End shows filled with lovable characters from classic children’s films. Take the kids on a magic carpet ride to Aladdin, a family-friendly show guaranteed to keep younger audiences engaged and entertained.

During the school holidays, there are often productions that take place during the day at West End theatres. The Gruffalo will play at the Lyric Theatre in 2019 in the daytime, while Thriller Live is performed in the evening. A theatre’s stage may be shared by two different productions, especially during busy periods like half term and Christmas.

If you’re looking for a show to spark your child’s imagination, why not head to The Showstoppers Kids Show as part of the Underbelly Festival this summer. During the show, children will be able to suggest anything that happens on stage, so give your young ones the opportunity for their imagination to run wild. The Showstoppers Kids Show has an age recommendation of 6 years and above.

Our collection of family-friendly shows are bound to inspire any trip to the West End when you’re taking young ones. With a range of shows for younger children to productions that your teenagers will love, there really is something for everyone with our great line up of family theatre.

Where should I sit in the theatre?

You can buy a ticket for a seat as close to the action as you want, but if you think that you’re going to be getting out of your seat regularly, booking an aisle seat may be best. Doing this, you’ll be able to get in and out of the theatre while disturbing fewer people than if you were in the middle of a row.

When booking a ticket with us, you’ll be able to see seating plans, so you can be confident you’re booking the best seat available for you and your children.

Follow age recommendations and age restrictions

Many family-friendly shows in the West End and productions have age recommendations. These aren’t set in stone and act as a guide for how old audience members should be. While these don’t always need to be followed strictly, shows set age recommendations with everyone in the audience in mind. These recommendations act much like certificates for films, but also give you a sense of whether your child will understand the plot of the show.

Age restrictions must be followed and children who are younger than the age restrictions may not be allowed into the venue. Some productions do not have an age restriction, but children must be at least three-years-old to be admitted into The Lion King and seven years old to attend The Worst Witch. It’s good to check out the age restrictions and age recommendations before you choose what show to buy tickets for.

Head to a matinee performance

If you’re wanting to take your children to the theatre and get them home in time for tea, why not book tickets for an afternoon performance? With our complete list of West End productions with weekday matinees from the biggest plays and musicals to one-off performances at the Underbelly Festival, you’ll be able to explore the very best of London’s theatre scene without having to worry about the last train home.

Get the children excited before the show!

If the show you are going to has a soundtrack, then why not play it in the car before you go to see it? This is a great way to get children familiar with the show without overloading too much information. If there’s a storybook of the show, it could be a fun way to get to know the story with younger ones before seeing the show in front of their eyes.

Don’t worry about telling the story of the show to children. Family-friendly shows will be both spectacular, and easy to understand.

What should I do before the show?

Before the show, make sure that you arrive to the theatre with plenty of time to get comfortable. If you have pushchairs, the theatre will have space to store your pushchair. There are ways to make your trip even more comfortable: If your children cannot see the stage from their seat, make sure to ask a theatre usher if there are booster seats or cushions available so they have a clearer view of the stage. If you’re sitting further away from the action, it may be worth paying for the binoculars in front of your seat to catch all the action.

What should I do during the show?

Matilda

The magic of going to the theatre is sharing those wow moments together when you see an incredible performance. If there is an interval, talk about the characters, the music and what you think might happen next. Let both of your imaginations run wild as you come up with storylines and what you think of the characters to really immerse them in the world of theatre.

Some productions offer relaxed performances. During these performances, the house lights often stay up, loud noises are made quieter and there’s sometimes a chillout area to sit in if the show and going to the theatre is overwhelming. To find out dates of relaxed performances for specific productions, contact us directly and we’ll be able to tell you when the next relaxed performances are happening so you can go to a performance that will suit your needs.

What should I do after the show?

Take your time! There’s no need to rush out of the theatre. With a children’s show, it’s likely that there’ll be hundreds of children with their families so don’t try to beat everyone in the crowd.

Why not plan your day with more than just your trip to the theatre either. With our long list of attractions, your London adventures don’t have to stop at the theatre, so take advantage of everything there is to see and do. There’s plenty of attractions to visit in London, so why not make the most of your day trip to the capital with these incredible places.

Pick the perfect show for your child’s first trip to the theatre from our guide.