Category Archives: Theatre

Best London Summer Drama & Art Camps

Do you want to win a Tony Award, RA scholarship, or would you prefer a BAFTA? These are the questions you should be asking at tea time, if you have found that you are now managing the career of your mini-award winning actor or artist

As I know time is money, and I want to save you both, I have put together a round up of some of the hottest Theatre, Dance & Art Summer courses. Although many of these have limited places, and get booked up early, they also offer term time classes. If you have recommendations, or know of schools I can include, please let me know. I have a limited time to get this together, so your comments would be great to have.

image credit : Unicorn Theatre

DRAMA, MUSIC & PERFORMING ARTS

SYLVIA YOUNG THEATRE SCHOOL, MARYLEBONE

Ages 7-18yrs : Musical Theatre, Dance, Drama

Holiday School offers a number of sessions in varying styles. Theatre Skills Course 7-18 years & Musical Theatre Course 10-18 years.  Students do not have to audition to take part in Holiday School.

ARTS EDUCATIONAL SCHOOL, CHISWICK

Ages 4-15yrs ; Drama

Book your child in for a fun packed week this summer. Each course promises loads of creative activities and new experiences to try, all in a fun and welcoming environment. All courses are taught by experienced ArtsEd tutors and industry professionals, encouraging confidence, creativity and performance skills.

(image credit : zoonation dance company)

UNICORN THEATRE

Ages 7-11yrs ; (Drama, Dance, Puppetry workshops)

Get on stage and make your own show! Our popular week-long workshops are back for the Summer holidays. These intensive, fun and sociable holiday workshops are led by experienced professional theatre-makers, and culminate in a performance on the Unicorn’s stage to family and friends.

LONDON SCHOOL OF CAPOEIRA

(not holiday, term time)

LSC classes for children are structured for the absolute beginner and also for the regular student. The lessons are taught by Capoeira masters, Master Marcos and Master Silvia of the London School of Capoeira with 50 years teaching experience between them and have updated CRBs. Together with an assistant, the master will encourage the children to develop their physical abilities through the training of Capoeira.

LYRIC THEATRE, HAMMERSMITH

Ages 7 – 25yrs; Dance, Multi Arts, Music, Film – Digital – TV, Theatre

Imagination will play a key part in this one week course where you will use drama to create the future you want and turn it in to a performance. The future’s bright, the future’s yours.

WEST END STAGE, CENTRAL LONDON

Age 8 – 21yrs ; Musical Theatre

West End Stage is the UK’s leading theatre summer school based in the heart of London. This amazing week-long course is led by West End stars and gives you the chance to perform at Her Majesty’s Theatre – home to the world famous Phantom of the Opera. An exciting mix of drama, singing and dance classes, as well as exclusive West End masterclasses and a trip to a West End musical.

(image credit : Mountview)

MOUNTVIEW THEATRE SCHOOL

Ages 9-16yrs & Older ; Acting, Musical Theatre

Experience three-weeks of triple-threat musical theatre training at one of the UK’s top musical theatre drama schools. Mountview has been training West End and Broadway stars for 25 years. Join us and be among the next generation of musical theatre talent. Or choose from weekly acting and musical theatre courses for younger children. Children will spend the week with fantastic directors learning the skills used by professional actors on stage and screen and get a taste of life behind the scenes at drama school.(image credit : Mountview)

THEATRE TRIBE

Age 8+yrs; Musical Theatre

Theatre Tribe is the UK’s leading holiday camp provider for Musical Theatre training. Inspired by a huge passion for the performing arts, Theatre Tribe welcomes students from all over the world who love the theatre and who wish to immerse themselves in the exciting world of show business.

NATIONAL YOUTH THEATRE 

(Ages 11-14) ; Theatre/ Drama

This six day course is the perfect introduction to the NYT’s approach to ensemble theatre making. Using story-telling, chorus, character and song, you will develop your talent working as part of a company. Ideal for those who are already taking part in our Saturday classes, or those who would like to get involved for the first time. On the final day there will be a sharing of your work to friends & family. Classes will run over six days, 10am – 5pm

STAGE COACH

Ages 6-18 yrs – Theatre, Dance, Singing

Students will sing, dance and act their way through five exciting action-packed mornings. Students will make new friends, build confidence, stay entertained and achieve something really special.  Students will learn a variety of numbers from popular West End productions such as Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Shrek and many more! On the final day they will perform a unique and brand new production to family and friends.

LAMDA

Ages 18+

THIS INTENSIVE EIGHT-WEEK SUMMER SCHOOL IMMERSES STUDENTS IN THE WORLD OF SHAKESPEARE AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES; EXPLORING THE CHALLENGES, CONNECTIONS AND THRILL INVOLVED IN PERFORMING THIS TYPE OF WORK. VALIDATED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF KENT. Students on this course train in small groups, guided by the same experienced tutors and industry professionals who lead LAMDA’s full-time training.

DANCE CAMPS

SYLVIA YOUNG THEATRE SCHOOL

Ages 10-18yrs; Musical Theatre

Our musical theatre courses offer a truly hectic week of rehearsals where students will dance, act and sing in preparation for a studio style workshop performance on Saturday which parents are invited. The course is open to anyone aged 10-18 years. Students are grouped according to age and will present excerpts from musicals. Each group has a production team consisting of a Director, Musical Director and Choreographer.

ZOONATION DANCE SCHOOL

(Term time only)

I had to include info about our favourite hip hop dance school. They offer Saturday classes for kids of all ages at their North London studio, and over in West London too. Check the website for the details.

  • Under 8’s Class   9 – 10 AM
  • Beginners A+B Class  10 – 12 PM
  • Intermediate 1 + 2 (2 X 1.5 Hour classes)  12 – 3 PM
  • Intermediate 3 + Advanced (2 X 1.5 Hour classes) 3 – 6 PM

PINEAPPLE ARTS

Ages 8-16yrs ; MUSICAL THEATRE and STREET DANCE SUMMER SCHOOLS

Two intensive courses each lasting 5 days, both courses include a certificate, a t-shirt and a performance at the end of the week for all students!  Musical Theatre and Street Dance students get to perform all the routines they have been working on in a Spectacular Showcase at the end of each week at one of Central London’s prestigious venues Logan Hall!

image credit : Hamstead School of Art

ART & DRAWING

ART ACADEMY

The Art Academy is a wholly independent art school based in central London, offering a wide range of art education programmes to a very diverse group of participants. Alongside the long-term courses (3-year Diploma in Fine Art, 1-year Fine Art Foundation and 2-year Certificate courses) it offers evening classes, part-time study, and weekend and short courses.

HAMPSTEAD SCHOOL OF ART, HAMPSTEAD

Ages 8+yrs

The school offers a brilliant wide range of courses. Choose from experimental drawing and painting, watercolour workshop, and comic book workshops… there are lots more too.

CAMDEN ARTS CENTRE

MINI ARTISTS

MINI PICASSOS

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Best London Christmas Family Theatre, Babies to 6 & Age 6 +

The Best Christmas Family Theatre in London, 2016

“If you would like me to book your tickets for you and give you warm and cuddly concierge style service with your booking, email me with the details of which show, date & preferred time (matinee or evening) and the number of children & adult tickets required. I will find the best deals, and take care of it all for you! sian.gwilliam@me.com or 07958 385 929.” – See more on My Culture Club.

Christmas Fringe Family Shows in London

Scrooge and the Seven Dwarves, Theatre503 (Ages 6+)

The pantomime Scrooge and the Seven Dwarves is brought to you from award-winning Sleeping Trees who return to Theatre503 following the sold-out success of Cinderella and the Beanstalk last year.

Sleeping Trees recreate every character you’d expect to meet in a pantomime, as well as some you might not – from Scrooge, Snow White, the Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, the seven dwarves, Harry Potter and, of course, Father Christmas. The show is a huge Christmas mash up!

A Family ticket for 2 Adults and 2 Children is £40. Suitable for ages 6+ (babes in arms under 24 months also welcome), Runs, 22 November 2016 – 7 January 2017, Address : Theatre 503, The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BW

 

 

Why the Whales Came, Ovalhouse

Why The Whales Came by award-winning children’s writer Michael Morpurgo will be staged at Ovalhouse theatre from 22 – 31 December. With Wizards Presents, multi-award winning performer and storyteller Danyah Miller brings to life this enchanting tale.

Children Gracie and Daniel have been forbidden to go near the mysterious and seemingly dangerous Birdman. But messages and clues intrigue them and, after being lost at sea in the fog and stranded on his tiny island, they begin to unravel the Birdman’s secrets, the villagers’ fears and superstitions and learn why the whales came to the island.

Runs 22 – 31 December 2016 ; Address : 52-54 KENNINGTON OVAL LONDON SE11 5SW Call the BOX OFFICE: 020 7582 7680

Lives, Loves and Loss: Traces at Fenton House 

This December, the National Trust’s Fenton House in Hampstead will be reimagined, transformed by art community Traces into an immersive experience that delves into the intriguing world of the Gee family. Wander through the abandoned rooms and unpick their secrets as fictional narratives are interwoven with factual discoveries.  Discover the lives, loves and loss of these former inhabitants.

3rd – 23rd December 2016, Address : Hampstead Grove, Hampstead, London, NW3 6SP. Call 0344 249 1895 to book tickets. Adult £10, Child £5. NT members FREE (join on the day, from £5.25 a month). Under 5s FREE. NT members and Under 5s must also pre-book. Entry slots available 11am-4.30pm. No maximum stay.

 

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FAMILY PANTOS
Mother Goose, Wiltons Music Hall, Dec 2nd – Dec 31st
Red Riding Hood, Hoxton Hall, December 17 2016 – Saturday December 24th
Aladdin, Broadway Theatre Catford, December 3 2016 – Saturday January 7
Sleeping Beauty, Hackney Empire, November 26 2016 – Sunday January 8
Sinbad the Sailor, Theatre Royal Stratford East, December 3 2016 – Saturday January 21 2017

CHILDREN AGED 6 and UNDER

Peter Pan: A New Adventure  : Greenwich Theatre (All ages) Runs 18 Nov 2016 – 8 Jan 2017 (Running Time 2hrs20) : From £14

Raymond Brigg’s Father Christmas  : Lyric Hammersmith (Under 6) Runs 18 Nov – 24 Dec  : From £10

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, Live on Stage, Arts Depot, Finchley  ( Age 3+) Runs Wed 7th Dec to Monday 2nd Jan. From £12.50

Stick Man : Leicester Square Theatre, (Ages 3+) 5 Nov–30 Dec 2016. Family Ticket Available: 2 adults / 2 children or 1 adult / 3 children. Babes in arms: Under 18 months permitted without a ticket. Running time: 55 minutes. From £16.50 per child & £65 for a family ticket.

Baddies: The Musical Is Back!  : Unicorn Theatre, (Age 6+) Runs15 Nov – 31 Dec  : From £12

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon : Bloomsbury Theatre, (Ages 3+) Runs 13 Dec–31 Dec 2016. Adults £12, Children £10

In A PickleArts Depot, Finchley. (Ages 3-5) Runs 13th – 31st Dec. From £10

Room on The Broom, Stratford Circus (Ages 3+) Runs 2 – 18 December (55 mins, no interval) : From £12

The Mad Hatters Tea Party, Roundhouse, Camden. Join a Culture Club Trip on SATURDAY 21 JAN AT 2.30PM. (All Ages). RUNNING TIME : 2hr20mins. Tickets : Adults £24 for those aged 16+. Child £18 for children aged 16 and under. Family Discount: £65 4 full price tickets for parties of 2 adults and 2 children, or 1 adult and 3 children.

Breaking the Ice : Stratford Circus, (Ages 2-5) Runs 19–24 Dec 2016. From £8, Duration: 40 mins + 15 mins stay & play

CINDERELLA THE PANTOMIME : The Palladium, (Age 4+) 2.30PM TUES 3RD JAN 2017. From £33. Running Time : TBC

The Railway Children  Kings Cross Theatre, (Ages 2+) until 8 Jan 2017. Various prices. (Running Time 2hrs.10m)

Boing, the Unicorn Theatre, Clore Theatre, (Ages 2-6) Runs 30 November to 1 Jan (RT : 50 Mins)

The Snowman: Sadler’s Wells – Peacock Theatre,  (All Ages) 23 Nov 2016–1 Jan 2017. From £32. (Running Time : 1hr50 with 20 min interval)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show : Ambassador’s Theatre,  (Ages 2-7) 2 Dec 2016–8 Jan 2017.  From £ 26.50 + fees. NOTE : Babes in arms, aged 12 months or under, will be permitted access to The Ambassadors Theatre without a ticket for performances of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Babies must be securely strapped to their parent or carer by way of a baby carrier, sling, papoose or similar.

 Adventures to OzChickenshed Theatre, Oakwood, Runs Nov 23rd to Jan 7th. From £15 + fees

Christmas Tales at ChickenshedDates: Saturday 3, Tuesday 6, Saturday 10, Thursday 15, Saturday 17, Thursday 22, Friday 23, Tuesday 27, Wednesday 28, Thursday 29 December (Ages 0-6yrs) Running time: 50mins. Tickets:  £8, free to babies under 1 year.

CinderellaChiswick House & Gardens, Runs Dec 16th to Dec 31st. From £30. Brought to you by Humdalila Productions, specialists in Immersive Theatre, this thrilling version of the classic tale combines an eclectic mix of first-class performers. Expect dancing mice, acrobatic lizards, ballerina snowflakes and a crazy magician. Arrive early for the full experience. Children can have their faces painted, interact with amazing balloonists and much more. Adults can enjoy a stress-free drink at the fully licensed bar and the family can all enjoy a variety of snacks and Christmas goodies from the stalls inside the Big Top.

Peppa Pig Live, Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road, (All Ages) Thursday 15th Dec to Jan 7th. From £22+ fees

A Magical Stick Man Screening & Show, Enjoy songs and storytelling with Julia Donaldson and live illustration from Axel Scheffler followed by the award-winning animated film of Stick Man on the big screen. Royal Festival Hall, (Ages 5-8) Thursday 22 December 2016. Prices vary.

“YOU COULDN’T WISH FOR A SWEETER INTRODUCTION TO THEATRE” – Time Out

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt at Jacksons Lane, Highgate, (From the Little Angel Theatre) Ages 2+ Runs between 6 Dec to 24th Dec. Tickets from £14.95 + bookings fees, sold out until 10th Dec, when last looked.

HOW ABOUT A CRAFT WORKSHOP AT THE LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE?

Crafty Festive fun and stories for 2–8 year olds and their families with Santa’s Little Workshop Little Angel Theatre, N1 (Ages 2-8) Runs Sunday 4  – Saturday 24 December. £10 per child / £8 per adult +fees. For age 2 to 8. No more than 3 children per adult please, due to the craft activity. Under-2s can attend with older siblings or friends but the activity is not suitable for them, and please note that all children aged one or over on the day of the event need their own tickets. DURATION : 50 mins

CHILDREN AGED 6+

Babe, the Sheep-Pig : Polka Theatre, (Ages 5-11) Runs 25 Nov 2016–5 Feb 2017.  Main Stage, approx 1hr 45 mins
Tickets £18.50 | Concessions £12 | Previews £14  £1.50 transaction charge per booking

Peter Pan Goes Wrong : Apollo Theatre, (Ages 8+) Runs until 29 January 2017 ( Running Time :  2 hrs with one interval). Tickets from £35 BOOK ON CULTURE CLUB and join a lovely group … there might be goody bags too!

Aladdin : The Lyric Hammersmith (Ages 6+) 11 NOV – 7 JAN ( Please note that all children over 18 months will require their own tickets). From £30 + fees

The Nutcracker : The Royal Opera House, (Ages 5+) Runs until 12 January 2017 (RT, 2 hrs and 15 mins with one interval). Pretty much sold out, or remaining tickets expensive around the £135 mark when I last looked. Email me if you want me to search out what’s available for you.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY PERFORMANCES Tue 3 Jan, 2.30pm & Sat 7 Jan, 2.30pm  Children under 5 may attend these performances, and up to two children under 16 can go free with each full paying adult.

Duckie : Royal Festival Hall, (Ages 6+) Southbank, Runs 16 Dec–24 Dec. Tickets from £14 + fees.

The Red Shoes (Matthew Bourne Ballet) Sadlers Wells, Runs 6 Dec – 27 Jan (RT’ 2 hrs). From £35 for stalls.

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Peter PanNational Theatre (Age 7+) Runs from 17 Nov to 4th Feb (RT tbc). From £22

Kiki’s Delivery ServiceSouthwark Playhouse SE1, Runs Dec 8th to Jan 8th. From £16 kids and £64 for a family ticket.

The Little Match GirlShakespeare’s Globe, Runs Nov 24th to Jan 21st. From £10 for standing tickets

The Wind In The WillowsRose Theatre Kingston, Runs Dec 6th to Jan 3rd. From £10-£30 (various Family Ticket options)

All the AngelsShakespeare’s Globe, Runs Dec 6th to Feb 12th. Fixed Position Standing: £10 | Seated: £15 – £48 | Premium Tickets: £62

No Fit State Circus : Bianco, Hungerford Bridge Car Park Southbank, Runs Nov 23rd to Jan 22nd. Prices £39.50 £30 £25

Million Dollar Quartet, Royal Festival Hall, Saturday December 17 2016 – Monday January 2 2017. Tickets range from; £95 £79.50 £59.50 £49.50 £39.50 £20 (selected performances £95 £75 £55 £45 £35 £20)

Have you any suggestions and recommendations of shows I have missed out? Can you recommend any family friendly restaurants nearby the theatres ?

5 Reasons to Watch ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ at the Unicorn (6-12yrs)

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When the #busstopkids and I were invited to review this show at the Unicorn last weekend, I had to do a some research on what happened to Jason in this particular Greek Myth, incase the kids asked me any questions! (I never reached the classics department at school, too busy in the drama studio!)

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Valentina Ceschi, Dylan Townley, Dorian Simpson and Guy Rhys / Photography by Helen Murray

The research didn’t take long, I found a concise article on the BBC history site, that explained the story as …

“The Greek tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece has been told for 3,000 years. It’s a classic hero’s quest tale – a sort of ancient Greek mission impossible”.

Done job. Thanks BBC, again.

Here are 5 reasons you should book your ticket to see the show, which finishes next week on Oct 20th.

  1. The play has been produced with young kids in mind, it’s set within the frame of a video game, with the God Hera, setting Jason and his argonauts his challenges as if he is moving up through a game. Think Donkey Kong meets Fallout.
  2. I loved the set design. It’s simple, inventive and clever.
  3. The actors are able to turn what is a complex story with lots of twists, turns, deaths and tragedy into a fast paced show with live music, a sing-a-long theme tune, and a lightness of touch from the ensemble.
  4. It’s heart warming to watch the actors perform with such warmth and energy, and good therapy to think that the audience are learning about Classics.
  5. If you have a few hours to spare, you could do a lot worse than hang out down by the River Thames, with Borough Market, Tower Bridge and the Southbank all within 5 mins of the theatre. Also the Unicorn team always make your time with them, welcoming, easy and effortless. No problem is ever too small for their staff.
  6. If I had to give constructive feedback, I’d say it was 10 mins too long and at times I lost track of which place they were in … Though, the audience didn’t seem to mind about either of those things, so don’t take my word for it!
Valentina Ceschi as Medea and Dorian Simpson as Jason  Photography by Helen Murray
Valentina Ceschi as Medea and Dorian Simpson as Jason
Photography by Helen Murray

Here’s 4 handy facts about this Greek Myth

  1. Why a fleece? Fleeces are connected with magic in many folk traditions.
  2. The story is a set a generation before the time of the Trojan War, around 1300 BC
  3. The Greek claim that the Argo was the first ship ever built can not be true, but Jason’s journey was seen by the ancient Greeks as the first long-distance voyage ever undertaken.
  4. Lemnos, an island in the north-eastern Aegean was Jason’s first stop. This was a place inhabited by women who had murdered their husbands after being cursed by Aphrodite.
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Jason (Dorian Simpson), Atalanta (Valentina Ceschi) and Dylan Townley as musician Photography by Helen Murray

SHOW INFORMATION

Wednesday 12 October 2016, 10.30 relaxed performance

Join the team for a free post-show insight discussion after these performances: Thu 13 Oct, 1.30pm

SAT 15 OCT: MYTHS AND LEGENDS Take the stage for a truly dramatic workshop focusing on Jason & The Argonauts.

This event is part of Up Club+, tickets are £10 per child which includes a photo of you in action and a signed poster. Places are limited, book now to avoid disappointment.

The show is kindly supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Jason and the Argonauts is playing the Unicorn Theatre until 20 October 2016. For more information and tickets, see Unicorn Theatre website.

(So you know, we paid for 2 tickets and the #busstopkids were given complimentary ones).

The Almeida Drama Academy for 5-14 year olds

“It’s really quite unique, you get to learn about scripts, about what really happens in drama and I think the teachers are really nice.” – student, 9

The Almeida Academy is a programme of Saturday drama classes for children and young people aged 5 to 14.

The courses at this Islington theatre are run by industry professionals and give children and young people the opportunity to experiment with their creativity, build confidence, and develop talent.

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Although the teachers deliver a drama focus in their classes, kids also get to learn about movement, voice work, and the creative use of the voice and body for performance.

Sessions (which are split into ages 5 – 7, 8 – 10 and 11 – 14) start with warm up activities, and over the term will cover skills such as improvisation, playwriting, movement, voice work, devising and storytelling. The classes end with the kids sharing and evaluating each others work.

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Weekly classes last an hour and a half, and the themes of the theatres shows inspire the workshops. It’s worth knowing that the educators always ensure that they tailor the time to the skills of the group, so all new kids will be given the confidence to grow, whilst the more experienced kids build on their talents.

Then the exciting bit, is that during the course of the year, there will be opportunities for the work of the Almeida Academy to be performed to an audience. Oh! and there is never any homework, apart from the kids being a little bit ‘dramatic’ at home occasionally!

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Booking info;

Sign up at the start of each term, or book now for all three terms at a reduced rate*

Saturday sessions: 

5 – 7 year olds | 1.15 – 2.45pm

8 – 11 year olds | 3 – 4.30pm

12 – 14 year olds | 4.45 – 6.15pm

Address:

Almeida Theatre Rehearsal Room
108 Upper Street
London N1 1QN

Booking;

Book your place now by calling the Box Office on 020 7359 4404.

Prices :

£150 per term  *£400 for the full year when booking three terms together

Photo credits;
Eileen Walsh and Adam Greaves-Neal in #LittleEyolf by Henrik Ibsen | adapted and directed by Richard Eyre | Photo: Hugo Glendinning
Audiences at the Almeida Theatre before The Odyssey | 12 Nov 2015 | Almeida Greeks | almeida.co.uk/odyssey | Photo: Manuel Harlan

Septimus Bean and His Amazing Machine, Unicorn Theatre (Age 4+) : Bus Stop Family Review

“This is a wonderful production for young children” – Laura, Mum

“It was so funny” – Tommy, 4

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My husband and I attended the Unicorn Theatre’s terrific production of Septimus Bean and His Amazing Machine with our nine-year-old daughter and four-year-old son and were all captivated from the very start. In my son’s words, “It was so funny!”

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The set was decorated with portraits of the king and queen in the styles of various famous artists, and before the play began, my daughter, husband and I had fun identifying references to everyone from Boticelli and Dali to van Gogh and Warhol. (In fact, it got me thinking about ways to have fun with some family portraits of our own.)

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Then the action began. Septimus Bean is an inventor who makes machines so marvelous, he simply must present them at the palace. The only issue is that he’s never quite sure what his creations actually do.

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As he, King Alfred the Third and Queen Petronella puzzle this out, again and again (and again) and in wonderful rhyming verse, hilarity ensues.

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Fionn Gill as Septimus Bean was superbly adept at infecting the youngsters in his audience with enthusiasm for his ever-more-fabulous inventions–when we attended, children were actually calling out to him throughout the performance.

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Terence Frisch and Llewella Gideon as the king and queen are wonderful comic actors who had everyone laughing.

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*****SPOILER ALERT!*****

Most exciting of all was the play’s finale, which had the audience exit the theatre to see what had had become of Septimus’s latest creation. All of its odd components had been set up around the theatre’s entrance hall as Bean Park, a fantastical children’s play area.

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Both of my children, even the older one who had found the play a bit young for her, had a grand time feeding balls into twisty transparent tubes, using a pump to blow a foam ball into the air, taking apart and remaking an enormous magnetic puzzle, stomping on pedals to operate a fountain and sliding down a small chute, to name but some of the activities.

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We were among the last to leave, and my children have been conceiving of ingenious improvements to our modest climbing frame ever since.

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This is a wonderful production for young children.13322080_10150642225859950_3692141217541724397_n

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JOIN US ON A CULTURE CLUB FAMILY TRIP

Join the Culture Club members, and come along to a special workshop & see the show. Register your details on the Culture Club website here.

Date : June 26th

Workshop  : 1200-1300

Show : 1100

Workshop £5.00

Children £10

Adults £16

(All bookings subject to a my culture club £2.50 concierge fee per person).


SIGN UP AND FOLLOW THE CULTURE CLUB GANG
 
WHATS ON FOR YOU | Beautiful the Musical | Gifford’s Circus | Tate Modern Family Tours | Nature Explorers Day Camp | Matilda the Musical | TEDx London

ZooNation ‘Into The Hoods Remixed’ : Bus Stop Kids Review

I am Sofia and I a nearly 8 years old. I went to watch Into The Hoods with my mum on Friday night. It was really good and I have never seen dancing like that. It looked like slow motion when they were jumping. My favourite character was a boy called Jaxx. He could really move. I loved seeing the street dancing on the stage like that. The story was easy to follow and I really enjoyed the twists on the familiar fairytale themes.

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I am Sofia’s mum. This was definitely a night out with my daughter that I easily enjoyed as much as her! The music was nostalgia central and had me bopping in my seat. The spin on the fairy tale characters was witty and out loud funny in many places. It was hugely entertaining to see the characters performs some incredible dance moves that not only move the story along and express the characters but in a kind of ‘dance off’ vibe also served to showcase the performers individual extraordinary dance talents.

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I would totally recommend this for all ages. The place was packed with families, couples, and singles so you definitely won’t feel out of place. It’s even cool enough for your teenagers, of which there were a fair few that night!! Seriously, don’t miss it.

If you want to read a bit more about the brilliant Kate Prince, Artistic Director of Zoonation, here’s a Q&A about her 5 Favourite London places, and find out more about the fantastic kids Saturday Dance Academy that she runs, check out their website here.

If you’d like to take your Bus Stop Kid to review a show for us, drop me aline here at sian.gwilliam@me.com, we’d love to have your  join the gang.

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SHOW INFO : ZooNation Dance Company; Into the Hoods: Remixed

Friday 4 May – Saturday 21 May 2016

Performances: Tue – Sat at 7.30pm, Sat at 2.30pm & Sun at 2pm & 6pm

Tickets: £15 – £38 (Under 16s half price)

Ticket Office: 020 7863 8222 or www.peacocktheatre.com

Image credit front cover : Corey Culverwell in Into the Hoods Remixed.© Hugo Glendinning. 

 

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Into The Hoods: Remixed features music from James Brown, Queen Latifah, Jay Z, Jennifer Hudson, Kool + The Gang, Salt n Pepa, Chemical Brothers, Kano, MC Hammer and new original work from Danilo ‘DJ’ Walde (Some Like it Hip Hop, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party). The newly revamped show is once again directed and written by Kate Prince and features an updated creative team with musical direction by Danilo DJ’ Walde, set design by Ben Stones, video design by Andrzej Goulding, costume design by Ben Stones and Russell Royer and lighting design by Andy Murrell. The production also features Carrie-Anne Ingrouille as associate director and Rowen Hawkins as associate choreographer.

5 Weekend Family Events for London Kids 

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1) Imperial College Festival
This festival has hands-on science experiments, music workshops, comedy, dance, cookery and more, for the whole family. Free, just turn up, 12pm, until 8 May

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2) The Showstoppers’ Fantastical Story, Udderbelly, Southbank (Age 6+)

A team of award-winning West End improvisers explore magical kingdoms as you decide what happens next. But grown-ups take heed – they only take suggestions from kids…

Saturday 7 May, Sunday 19 June & Saturday 2 July, 1.30pm

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3) St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, WC2
All ages Creative family fun with a historical twist. Choose from over 100 replica brasses from churches and cathedrals across the UK and try brass rubbing with a range of specialist papers and metallic waxes. Saturday – 10:00am, Sunday – 11:30am

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4) Under the Sea Family discovery Day, British Museum, WC1

All ages A day of creative activities. Make your own artwork, take part in storytelling sessions, and explore the galleries. Saturday – 12:00pm to 6.00pm

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5) Covent Garden May Fayre

Choose from a puppet festival, workshops, stalls, live music and a quick visit to the Dr Martens shop. The May Fayre is a very British affair, celebrating Mr Punch and Judy in all their glory, and apparently they will feel very at home in Covent Garden, as that’s where it all started back in 1662. Sunday from 1030am.

Credit image : V&A Childhood museum

 

The 5 Best My Culture Club Family Events To Book Now

” The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain”. – Dolly Parton.

Ok, Ok, so this is a little biased, but you can’t blame a girl for trying. I’ve been getting my head down recently, setting up my events and concierge company My Culture Club.

In a nutshell, the site will offer curated group events, often at a fraction of the published price. The aim is to get like minded people to make friends, and help families and all of us to get out and about and make the most of the exciting things to do in London and around. Call me your Social PA, your Culture Girl, or your private tour guide, I’m fine with all of the above and more.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, good and bad, I would be over the moon if you could spare 5 mins to tell me what you think of the idea, and if there are any improvements I can make.

Here is a pick of 5 of the events you can book now, there are more on the site. Leave me a comment any which way to request your tickets. EmailFacebookInstagramTwitter.

Hope to see you at an event soon. Sian xo

1. AURORA ORCHESTRA, AGATHA THE PIRATE : KINGS PLACE, SUNDAY, 8 MAY 2016 : 11AM (AGES 0-4) From £5

Join Aurora for a swashbuckling treasure hunt adventure with Agatha the Pirate. With brand new chamber arrangements of music by Béla Bartók, audiences will meet a host of glimmering jellyfish, sail the high seas and play hide-and-seek with a wonderfully wicked parrot.

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2. BABY FRIENDLY PRIVATE TOUR, TATE MODERN, SE1 (AGES 0+), 10-11AM, FRIDAY JUNE 3RD, £15 PER FAMILY

I’m excited to be working with the team at the Tate, and hosting this baby friendly private tour at the Tate Modern. The tour will focus on the display Material Worlds wing. Come along with your kids and bring friends, make friends or just get out of the house to soak up some culture.

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3. SEPTIMUS BEAN (AGE 4+), SHOW & WORKSHOP, UNICORN THEATRE SE1, SUNDAY JUNE 26TH, 11AM, FROM £12.50

Septimus Bean has invented a very great machine but is yet to work out what it is for. With the help of the king and court, he finds out lots of things that it isn’t for and one unexpected thing that it is utterly perfect for.

This comical, rhythmical and inventive show, based on the much-loved book, will be a highly enjoyable performance for the summer months. We need little inventors to stick around after the show and help us build the magical machine! We’ll be pasting, painting, drawing and sticking – it will get messy.

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4. FAMILY FUN DAY: IMAGINATIVE INVENTIONS, THE ROYAL INSTITUTION, SUNDAY 15 MAY 2016, 11-4PM, (ALL AGES), FROM £9.50

From the ancient Greeks to the modern day, inventions have shaped the way society has grown and the world has progressed, with many of these important developments invented right here at the Ri. Hear from Adam Hart-Davis, get hands-on, see demos, and explore the amazing inventions that have shaped our modern world.

Family Fun Day activities are suitable for 6-12 year olds though older and younger siblings also very welcome.

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5. GIFFORDS CIRCUS, (FAMILY) CHISWICK HOUSE & GARDENS, FRIDAY 8TH JULY 5PM, FROM £19.50

Giffords Circus was started in 2000 by Nell and Toti Gifford. They wanted to create a small traditional circus company that would bring the magic of circus back to British audiences. Since then the pair have been touring with a troupe of performance artists, musicians, horses and wagons producing unique circus shows and experience, loved by all the family, young and old. Giffords tour much of rural Gloucestershire, South West and Festival

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and one for luck … MATILDA THE MUSICAL, CAMBRIDGE THEATRE, (AGE 6+) TUESDAY 6TH & 7TH SEPT, 7PM (&7.30pm)

Matilda The Musical is the multi-award winning musical from the Royal Shakespeare Company, inspired by the beloved book by the incomparable Roald Dahl. Winner of over 50 major international awards, including 13 for Best Musical, Matilda continues to delight audiences in London, Australia, on Broadway and on tour around the USA.

 

 

The Best London Theatre for Kids in 2016

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Aladdin the Musical (Ages 5+)

Fresh from the New York production, Trevor Dion Nicholas plays Genie, with Don Gallagher (Priscilla Queen Of The Desert) as Jafar, Peter Howe (Matilda The Musical) as Iago, Irvine Iqbal (Bend It like Beckham The Musical) as Sultan, and Nathan Amzi, Stephen Rahman-Hughes and Rachid Sabitri as Aladdin’s three friends Babkak, Kassim and Omar.

The Book Of Mormon’s Casey Nicholaw directs Disney’s Aladdin.

Show Details; Show times Mon-Sat 19:30, Mats Thu & Sat 14:30 Previews from 27.05.2016 Opening night 15.06.2016 Booking until 01.10.2016 Box office 0844 482 5151

War Horse, New London Theatre ends 12 March

War Horse is the National Theatre’s Olivier Award-winning World War I-set family drama.

War Horse is set at the outbreak of World War I, when Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He is soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.

Show Details; Seats priced £47.00 or less will have a partially restricted view of the stage. Seats at £15.00 have a very restricted, side view of the stage. Duration 2 hours 40 minutes including interval

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The Elves and The Shoemaker (ages 3-9) Lyric Hammersmith

There’s nothing like a pair of new shoes. From soft dancing shoes to swarthy pirate shoes, they’re delightful on the feet; silver buckle and silken souls. No one makes shoes like an elf.

The well known and well loved tale The Elves And The Shoemaker – made popular by the Ladybird Classic – has been re-heeled by Theatre of Widdershins in their own inimitable style.

Beautifully crafted set and puppets, sublime music, a kaleidoscope of miniature shoes and a comic mouse make this show a magical must-see.

Show Details; Times,  Sat 11:00 & 13:00 Duration 55 mins  Opening night  12.03.2016  Closing  12.03.2016  Box office  020 8741 6850

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Freya – A Viking Saga (Ages 4+) Lyric Hammersmith 

This story follows a girl who is about to become a giant’s dinner.

She must use all her wits to escape and prove human friendship is stronger than the strength of a giant and more powerful than the magic of the gods.

The rivalry between the Norse gods and the giants is brought humorously to life in this retelling of two Viking myths and Freya’s own saga.

Show Details; times  Sat 11:00 & 13:00  Duration 1hr  Opening night  30.01.2016  Closing 30.01.2016  Box office 020 8741 6850

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George and The Dragon, Lyric Hammersmith (Ages 5-12)

Beware! In a cave under the castle lurks a fiery dragon waiting to devour monks, knights, sheep and princesses! Will George be bold enough to challenge it or will he run away?

Show Details; See links for Lyric above

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Little Lord Fauntleroy, Peacock Theatre (All ages)

London Children’s Ballet is a leader in producing beautiful, entertaining ballets for a family audience.

This is the world premiere of Little Lord Fauntleroy, a ballet based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic tale about a poor American boy who discovers he is heir to an English title and fortune. Through this little boy’s courage, quirky charm and eternal optimism, he softens the heart of his fearsome old grandfather and restores his broken family.

The production is performed by a cast of 60 talented young dancers, aged 9-16. Composer Richard Norriss and choreographer Jenna Lee have teamed up to create their second ballet after the sell-out success of LCB’s Snow White in April 2015.

Show Details; Duration 1hr50 Opening night  21.04.2016 Closing  24.04.2016

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The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie, Greenwich Theatre (Ages 6+)

Roll up; roll up, for the most ‘magnifical’, ‘tremendible’ and ‘fantasticulous’ experience in town!

A caravan of curiosities and its crew of mysterious misfits have arrived to entertain, amuse and beguile you: The Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie.

Ever wanted to count a Decapus’s legs? Or wondered what a Whistling Pank eats?

Would you like to catch a glimpse of the fabled ‘Massive Paw’, or lick a Tresillian Toad? Or perhaps see a cow that looks like Brian May?

Then you’ve come to the right place! Dr Longitude and his team of “experts” are here to guide you through a puppet-packed, ludicrously lyrical and magically musical tour of the Imaginary Menagerie’s finest exhibits.

From the acclaimed creators of Alice’s Adventures Underground, The Trench, and Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, Les Enfants Terribles tour with the silliest, funniest and most entertaining family shows to date – suitable for big kids and small grown-ups!

Show Details; Opens Friday 25th March : Performance time 2pm, Prices from £13,50 for children and (£12.50 & £10 tickets plus £1 booking fee) Family ticket (4 people) £40

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MINOTAUR , Unicorn Theatre, (Age 8+) 24 Jan – 2nd April

NO ONE EVER RETURNS FROM THE LABYRINTH. By Adam Peck & Directed by Tarek Iskander

In Crete, in an impossible labyrinth, lives a fearsome and lonely beast with the head of a bull and the body of a man. Only his sister Ariadne cares for him, and she dreams of setting them both free from the rule of their selfish father, the King.
But when Ariadne sees her chance to escape, she makes a terrible pact with the enemy’s son that will change everyone’s future for better or for worse.

This playful, clever retelling of the well known Greek myth will be an action-packed treat from the writer of the Unicorn’s highly successful 2013 Christmas show, Cinderella: A Fairytale. Minotaur was first performed at Bristol Old Vic in Feb 2014.

Show details; Weston Theatre & Under 18s: £8 / £10 / £12 & Adults: £12 / £16 / £18 (concessions £3 off)
Duration: Approx 1 hr 15 mins

MY FATHER, ODYSSEUS, Unicorn Theatre,  (Ages 11+)

I WANT TO GO HOME. By Timberlake Wertenbaker & Directed by Purni Morell

Telemachus’ father left long ago to fight a war. He doesn’t remember him. Now the man of the house, he must step up to defend his father’s legacy and protect his mother from the suitors that lounge around the court.

Meanwhile, the great Odysseus has been trapped by the goddess Kalypso for ten long years. Lost in his memories of past glories he longs to return home.

This timeless Greek myth has been reinvented by extraordinary playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker to create a modern, rich and powerful new work about a son searching for his father and a father searching for himself that explores masculinity and the effects of war.
Show details; Weston Theatre & Under 18s: £8 / £10 / £12 & Adults: £12 / £16 / £18 (concessions £3 off) & Duration: Approx 1 hr 15 mins
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Jeramee, Hartleby And Oooglemore  Unicorn Theatre, (Ages 3+)

This is the tale of a surprising and surreal encounter with three people who have a lot to say – and only three words with which to say it.

Where is Jeramee? Who is making that noise? What is under the sheet and why does it keep moving?

This is a show delivered with wit, impeccable timing and plenty of clowning around.

Suitable for ages three and older, the show sees the return of director Tim Crouch to the Unicorn Theatre following international touring success with “I, Malvolio” and “An Oak Tree” at the National Theatre, and is written by Gary Owen whose recent hits include “Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco; Violence and Son” at the Royal Court.

Opening night 06.02.2016  Closing 15th March 2016  Tickets, Box office 020 7645 0560

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The War Of The Worlds, Dominion Theatre

This show lands at London’s Dominion Theatre featuring brand new music, an all-star cast and Liam Neeson in 3D holography.

Adapted from HG Wells’ legendary novel, The War Of The Worlds tells the story of ruthless but highly intelligent Martians with machinery and weaponry of devastating capabilities who arrive on Earth with the aim of destroying the human race.

This new stage adaptation, which follows decades of arena tours, sees Wayne conduct his 1970s cult progressive rock score, which became one of the bestselling musical albums of all time, selling more than 15 million copies.

Directed by Bob Tomson, the production – in addition to Neeson’s holographic presence – promises video walls, the iconic Martian Fighting Machine and many more special effects.

Show Details, PLEASE NOTE: Children’s tickets are also available at £40.95-£61.95 (Face value: £39-£59). Opening night 17.02.2016 Closing 30.04.2016 Box office 0845 200 7982

Bus Stop Review of Goodnight Mister Tom

Last week, Thea one of our Bus Stop Kids went to see the recently opened theatre show Goodnight Mister Tom at the Duke of York’s Theatre, (St Martins Lane WC2). She had a great evening out with her lovely Dad, and has given us a sparkling review below.

(ps. thank you Hannah and the Press Team).

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Goodnight Mister Tom is an emotional and entertaining theatre production by David Wood, from the novel written by Michelle Magorian for ages 8+. It follows the story of a boy who was sent away from London to escape the bombs, and went to the country where he finds new friends and a family.

8. (L-R) Hollie Taylor (Ginnie) and Martha Seignior (Carrie) in Goodnight Mister Tom 2015 Credit Dan Tsantilis.jpg.jpg

I liked all of the words that Zach made-up especially ‘scrumpdeliumtious’ a cross between scrumptious and delicious.

I found the story funny in some places and sad in others and has made me think a lot about how William felt. He lived a very very different life compared to us. It is interesting and sad to think that this happened over 70 years ago and sometimes still happens today.

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Even though it was quite grown-up I understood most things and my dad explained some of the things to me like what some of the words meant and things that happened in the war.

9. David Troughton (Tom Oakley) and Alex Taylor-McDowall (William) in Goodnight Mister Tom 2015 Credit Dan Tsantilis.jpg.jpg

I would tell my friends to go, especially the Bus Stop Kids because I think they would like all the made up words.

Synopsis

Celebrating the 35th anniversary of Michelle Magorian’s much loved children’s classic, Chichester Festival Theatre’s Olivier award-winning production of Goodnight Mister Tom returns to the West End just in time for Christmas. Set during the dangerous build up to the Second World War, Goodnight Mister Tom follows young William Beech, who is evacuated to the idyllic English countryside and forges a remarkable and heart-warming friendship with the elderly recluse, Tom Oakley, played by David Troughton.  All is perfect until William is suddenly summoned by his mother back to London.

Tickets

Performance Times ; Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm, Wed*, Thu & Sat mats at 2.30pm : Tue 22 Dec & Tue 29 Dec at 2.30pm *Except Wed 20 Jan, Wed 27 Jan, Wed 3 Feb, Wed 10 Feb at 1.30pm

Prices : start from £15

Running Time : 2h 15mins

UK TOUR LISTINGS:

23 – 27 February 2016

Manchester Opera House
3 Quay St, Manchester, Lancashire M3 3HP http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/opera-house-manchester/

1 – 5 March 2016

Milton Keynes Theatre
500 Marlborough Gate, Buckinghamshire MK9 3NZ http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/milton-keynes-theatre/

8 – 12 March 2016

Glasgow Theatre Royal
282 Hope St, Glasgow G2 3QA http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/theatre-royal-glasgow/

15 – 19 March 2016

Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre
Suffolk Street Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands B5 4DS http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/

22 – 26 March 2016

Oxford New Theatre George St, Oxford OX1 2AG

29 March – 2 April 2016

York Grand Opera House
Cumberland St, York YO1 9SW http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/grand-opera-house-york/

5 – 9 April 2016

Richmond Theatre
Little Green, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1QJ http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/richmond-theatre/

12 – 16 April 2016

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
Exchange St, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP20 1UG http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/aylesbury-waterside-theatre/

19 – 23 April 2016

Woking New Victoria Theatre
The Ambassadors, Peacocks Centre, Woking, Surrey GU21 6GQ http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-victoria-theatre/

Booking line for all ATG venues: 0844 871 3051

26 – 30 April 2016

Bath Theatre Royal
Theatre Royal Bath, Saw Cl, Bath BA1 1ET http://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/
01225 448844
*Will go on sale on December 2015 – check website for details

3 – 7 May 2016

Cambridge Arts Theatre
6 St Edward’s Passage, Cambridge CB2 3PJ

01223 503333

*Will go on sale on 14 December 2015 – check website for details

10 – 14 May 2016

Cardiff New Theatre

Park Pl, Cardiff CF10 3LN

029 2087 8889

17 – 21 May 2016

Newcastle Theatre Royal

100 Grey St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6BR

0844 811 2121