12 suitable shows for an educational trip to the West End
Wow schoolchildren of any age and bring they’ve what learned in the classroom into the real world with a trip to the West End. Whether it’s musicals like Fiddler On the Roof or Les Miserables that bring past decades to life or seeing a performance of a National Curriculum show including War Horse and 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.
Shows for an educational day out
The Prince of Egypt
The tale of Moses as told in the Book of Exodus will be told on the West End stage at The Prince of Egypt, opening at the Dominion Theatre next year. When Moses learns of his past life, he is compelled to free his people, saving millions from persecution. In a musical embodying kindness and what it means to be spirited, see Moses change the course of religious and social history. Featuring a soundtrack by Stephen Schwartz including the Academy-Award winning song ‘When You Believe’, there is nothing quite like The Prince of Egypt.
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery
A hilarious, comedic play in the heart of the West End, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery offers audiences a masterclass in comic timing. Set at a city bank in Minneapolis in 1958, follow an escaped convict as they try to get their hands on a valuable diamond without anyone catching on. With mistaken identities, love triangles and hidden agendas, even the most reputable can’t be trusted. In a town where everyone’s a crook, who will end up bagging the jewel?
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.
Fiddler on the Roof
The 1905 Russian Revolution comes to the West End with Fiddler on the Roof at the Playhouse Theatre. Andy Nyman and Judy Kuhn lead the cast as Tevye and Golde, a pious Jewish couple whose religious values are tested under the scrutiny of Russian fighting forces sweeping through their small community of Anatevka. Make a new “Tradition” in the West End with tickets to see Fiddler on the Roof and immerse yourself in an all-singing, all-dancing history lesson.
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 Queen’s Theatre.
The original production will run until 13 July before the Queen’s Theatre closes for refurbishment. The Queen’s Theatre will reopen on 18 December with the acclaimed new production.
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.
Let you and your children feel like kids together at Big, making its West End premiere at the Dominion Theatre. Starring The Wanted band member and Strictly Come Dancing winner Jay McGuiness, join Josh Baskin who wakes up in the body of a thirty year old after a carnival wish came true. Filled with plenty of toys and coffee, don’t miss your chance to see Big during its nine-week limited run in London.
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, a piece of West End history.
School of Rock
Looking for a production that will inspire your children to take up an instrument? Then head no further to the Gillian Lynne Theatre to see School of Rock. When Dewey Finn finds himself as a substitute teacher for a class at Horace Green, will he be able to show the children how to have a rocking time? Forming a band out of their musical talents, see them compete at Battle of the Bands, bringing the kids closer to their parents and a community spirit at the school.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
The “coat of many colours” returns to the West End, as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is set to tell the biblical story at the London Palladium. 50 years since the concept album was first released, celebrate the well-loved musical, filled with show tune classics including “Any Dream Will Do” and “Close Every Door”. With a star cast including Sheridan Smith as the Narrator and Jason Donovan returning to the production to play the Pharaoh, this is definitely going to be one of this summer’s hottest tickets, so make sure you’re ready for a trip to biblical times at Joseph.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
The stage adaptation of Louis de Bernières wartime-based novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is guaranteed to provide an educational West End experience. Follow Captain Corelli on a journey where his military service is tested by the course of true love, and experience the sweeping passions of what fighting can mean.
Albert and Joey return to the London stage, as the stage adaptation of the Michael Morpurgo’s children’s book plays at the new Troubadour Theatre in Wembley Park. Set in the outbreak of World War One, see Albert travel to France in order to save his horse Joey, sold to assist the frontline of the British Army. Risking his life for his horse, Albert embarks on a death-defying adventure to be reunited with the animal. With puppets by the Handspring Puppet Company bringing the equine character to life, enjoy a theatrical and educational feast at War Horse, returning to London for just six weeks.