Half-Term Theatre for Children Across England (Sat 26th October-Sun 3rd November)

You’ve been conker-collecting, made crumble with all those apples and now you can sit back and enjoy the best of children’s theatre across England this autumn. We’ve pulled together a pick of children’s book adaptations currently touring theatres across England over half-term. (Sorry if you’ve got different half-term dates in your part of the country but you may be tempted by a back-to-school treat.)

Michael Morpurgo’s highly-rated War Horse continues to take the West End by storm. Experience the terror of World War One battlefields with Joey, the farm horse. Life-sized puppets make this a theatrical must-see for older children and teenagers.

Lynley Dodd’s Hairy Maclary books are lovely to read with young children and now Hairy Maclary and Friends is touring the country. Over half-term, you can catch the show at theatres in Leicester, Middlesbrough, Kettering, Stevenage, Peterborough, Aldershot and Birmingham.

Although not a theatre performance, we couldn’t resist including this one. For a unique book-related experience, don’t miss ‘Mr Big Plays Jazz’ at Birmingham Town Hall. Join Mr Big author Ed Vere for a live draw-along as Mr Big learns to play the piano and discovers the world of jazz. Ed’s illustrations will be accompanied by live illustration by the Neil Cowley Trio. If you bring along some paper and a pencil, you can draw along with Ed.

It wouldn’t be a holiday without the chance to see a Julia Donaldson book come to life onstage. Tall Stories have earned a great reputation in adapting the former Children’s Laureate’s books (amongst others).  This half-term, you can see Room on the Broom at artsdepot in London and at Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre, whilst The Snail and The Whale comes to Loughborough Town Hall and The Lowry in Salford.

Arthur’s Dream Boat, by author-illustrator Polly Dunbar, is brought to the stage by Long Nose Puppets, the children’s theatre company she co-founded. Over the holidays you can catch the show at The Electric Theatre in Guildford, The Spring in Havant, Cornerstone in Didcot and Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts.

Watershed Productions are the team behind Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play, based on the hugely-popular books by Lauren Child (and the hit Cbeebies series). Follow the siblings’ adventures as they team up with Lotta, Marv and Sizzles. The show’s will be performed at New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion and The West Yorkshire Playhouse over the holiday week.

Room on the Broom illustration ‘copyright Axel Scheffler and Macmillan Children’s Books’).

Keep an eye out for our pick of Book Week Scotland events coming soon.

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