The top educational West End shows in London right now
Wow schoolchildren of any age and bring they’ve what learned in the classroom into the real world with a trip to these educational West End shows. Whether it’s musicals like Matilda or Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, or seeing a literary classic like The Woman in Black, embracing the very best of what London theatre has to offer can make for an exciting day that’s both inspiring and educational. Check out our guide to suitable productions for a theatre-filled day to delight adults and children alike.
Educational West End shows in London
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Take a trip back to school at Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, an upbeat musical based on the true story of a 16-year-old from Sheffield. Living on a council estate, Jamie New has always felt different from the crowd – and deciding to wear a dress from his high school makes him stand out. Supported by his incredible mother Margaret, Jamie overcomes the prejudice that he faces and decides to make his dreams come true. Nobody can tell Jamie that he can’t, and soon his drag persona Mimi Me takes centre stage. Teaching audiences to accept all people in society, you’ll be talking about Jamie once the show’s over.
The Woman in Black
One of the West End’s longest-running shows, The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre has been scaring audiences with its spooky goings-on, and its dimly lit, eerie scenery for almost three decades. Just two actors perform in this ghost story, as Arthur Kipps tells of his experiences at Eel Marsh House to an actor, who tries to erase the memory of a young, ghostly woman dressed in black. Written by Susan Hill and adapted by Stephen Mallatratt, this haunting play will stay in the minds of all theatregoers who dare enter the auditorium showcasing a masterclass in atmosphere, illusion and controlled horror.
Matilda Wormwood is born special. Reading books at the library by age five, her desire to learn as much as possible is impressive. But, her astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers don’t please everyone, especially her headteacher Miss Trunchbull. Adapted for stage by Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin, the Roald Dahl story continues to charm audiences at the Cambridge Theatre, with Matilda staging a revolution by being a “little bit naughty”.
It may be the longest-running musical in the West End, but the undeniable charm of Les Misérables makes it a must-see production that’s both educational and a theatrical icon. Follow Jean Valjean in an epic struggle from chain-gang convict to fighting on the barricade, with timeless songs including “Bring Him Home”, “I Dreamed a Dream” and “One Day More”. There’s nothing like experiencing an original production for yourself in the West End, so if you’re looking for an educational lesson in musical theatre and history, you’ll want to book tickets for Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre.
Come From Away
Nominated for nine Olivier Awards, be swept away in the heartfelt, true stories told in Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre. Inspired by the residents of Gander and the 7,000 passengers stranded on 38 flights immediately after 9/11, see how the “come from aways” dealt with their newly-found surroundings, where stories of romance, resentment and a community spirit grow. 12 cast members play 84 characters of those who suddenly found themselves in Gander, so if you’re looking for an educational show that’s heartwarming and fast-paced, you’ll want to see Come From Away.
The Lion King
Journey to the heart of the Serengeti at The Lion King, a Disney musical that’s been wowing audiences since 1999. Follow Simba from young cub to becoming king of the Pride Lands, guided by his father Mufasa. Along the way, audiences will see 200 puppets bring the animal kingdom to life, as well as spectacular costumes to bring out the best of beloved Disney characters including Nala, Timon and Pumbaa. Heavy with the haunting sounds of Africa, you’ll want to take your children to see The Lion King.