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From story time to the stage: 10 family-friendly shows based on books


From story time to the stage: 10 family-friendly shows based on books

See some of the greatest childhood stories presented in the West End at these incredible productions. Whether it’s a journey into the unique mind of Matilda Wormwood at Matilda the Musical, or the stories of Beatrix Potter at Where is Peter Rabbit?, audience members from 2-102 is sure to enjoy these childhood adventures coming to life right before their very eyes.

Watch a story come to life

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

J.M Barrie’s childhood classic is adapted for the stage at Peter Pan, set to mystify and wow all ages at one of London’s newest theatres. Brimming with inventive movement and tricks that defy belief, throw away the books and see Peter Pan presented live, as he and the Darling children journey past the second star to the right to Neverland.

Where is Peter Rabbit?

Immerse yourself in the world of Beatrix Potter, with stories brought to life by colourful puppets, original songs and magical voiceovers provided by some of Britain’s leading actors. Fall in love with Peter Rabbit on his jolly adventures, meeting Mr. McGregor and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle during the show. Returning to the Theatre Royal Haymarket this summer, you won’t want to miss out on this exciting family-friendly show.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

Adrian Mole

After a six-week run at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2017, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole returns to London for its West End premiere. Follow the teenager through what it’s like to be 13 and 3/4 in the 1980s, in an original musical based on the Sue Townsend books that is exploding with life. If you’re looking to watch a witty, fun-filled musical that’s guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of adults and children, you’ll want to see The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.

The Worst Witch

The Worst Witch

Flying to the West End this summer, The Worst Witch is sure to bring hubble bubble, toil and trouble! Based on the childrens books by Julie Murphy, follow Mildred Hubble, a teenage witch who wants to go on a big adventure with her friends in her final year at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. But, will she be able to succeed in her big adventure, or will Ethel Hallow and Miss Hardbroom stand in her way? Make sure you head to the Vaudeville Theatre to see the well-loved kids stories jump off the page.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

Playing at the Troubadour White City Theatre this summer, celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar this summer. Wiggling its way to London, see the animals come to life on stage at this exciting production. During the hour-long production, see Brown Bear10 Little Rubber Ducks, The Very Lonely Firefly and of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar as told on stage in a kid-friendly production.

The Gruffalo


Julia Donaldson’s famous storybook comes to life at the Lyric Theatre this summer with The Gruffalo. On a daring adventure through a deep, dark wood, follow Mouse, Rat, Snake and Fox as they get up close to the Gruffalo, a beastly creature. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from ending up as dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? Aimed at children aged 3 and over, make sure you take a trip to the woods at The Gruffalo, with original songs and plenty of fun!


Zog roars into Cadogan Hall during July and August, with the lovable dragon taking centre stage. Based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, experience stage magic that’s suitable for audiences young and old, as a world brimming with adventure comes to life.

War Horse

War Horse

One of Michael Morpurgo’s best-known children’s books, War Horse was adapted for the stage and first performed at the National Theatre in 2007. After worldwide touring productions and a seven-year run at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, the tale of Albert and Joey in World War One returns to London as the inaugural production at the new Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. Follow Albert as he journeys across the French battlefields during the war, risking life and limb through the trenches to reunite with his horse Joey and travel back to Britain as a pair. Featuring one-of-a-kind puppets curated by the Handspring Puppet Company, you won’t want to miss out on seeing this stellar production that’s entertained millions of theatregoers worldwide.

Want to know more about War Horse? Read our complete guide to the show from its first performance at the National Theatre and how it became a worldwide phenomenon.

Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Four

Back in the West End by popular demand, find out all the goriest facts in British history at Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Four. After the success of Terry Deary’s historical anthology to the television series, Horrible Histories has enjoyed a West End residency for seven years. From Richard III to Mary Queen of Scots, peep into British periods gone by including the Stuart era, the Georgian period and see if you’d be able to mount a mutiny against King Henry VIII himself. Learn even more about the past with all the mucky bits left in!



The story of a little girl possessing an incredible telekinetic power that’s seen to believed, Matilda joins Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a Roald Dahl story which has been adapted for the stage. With an original score by British comedian Tim Minchin featuring songs including “Revolting Children” and “When I Grow Up”, follow Matilda Wormwood as she uses her powers for good especially when faced against her parents and her nasty headmistress Miss Trunchbull. See your favourite parts from the book and the film adaptation in this stage show at the Cambridge Theatre, which has won seven Olivier Awards to date.

Photo credit: Mark Douet