Go back to school at these educational West End shows
It’s nearly that time again: fresh notebooks, a new class, maybe even a new school, as the summer holidays draw to close and the autumn term starts up. Yes, it can be difficult to remotivate after the long break, so why not add a treat to the equation? Make this year’s back to school a great opportunity to also catch a fantastic family-friendly West End show.
London’s theatres are teeming with great plays and musicals for young audiences – and some even have a few lessons sprinkled in among the fun, if you want to make your West End trip educational. There are dedicated trips to the past from the Horrible Histories team, or some grappling with philosophy and faith (alongside gasping in wonder at the puppet animals) in Life of Pi.
Or perhaps you just want a breather from exam prep and school rules – in which case head straight for the theatrical rebels like Matilda or Frozen’s Elsa, or take a voyage like no other with Back to the Future. Here’s our round-up of the best West End shows for back to school.
Roald Dahl’s pint-sized heroine is also heading back to school — only hers is run by the fearsome Miss Trunchbull. Luckily, Matilda has superpowers (both her telekinesis and her incredible storytelling prowess), and she can provide a salient lesson in how to stand up to bullies. Tim Minchin’s witty songs are an added bonus for parents.
Book Matilda tickets on London Theatre.
Don’t let it go! If your family loves Disney’s mega-hit movie, then make a beeline for this majestic stage version, which includes all your favourite songs and several new ones too. Plus it’s thrilling to see Elsa’s use her frosty powers live in the theatre – and to meet Olaf and Sven in puppet form.
Book Frozen tickets on London Theatre.
Escape the classroom, and the 21st century, by travelling back in time to the 1950s with Marty McFly, who must help his parents get together and then find his way home in this explosively entertaining musical. Mind, a few sessions in the science lab might come in handy here…
Book Back to the Future tickets on London Theatre.
You might notice the odd parallel if you’re studying Hamlet in English classes, otherwise just enjoy the jaw-dropping spectacle in this West End hit musical, as the African Pride Lands are brought to life via amazing puppets. Plus those Elton John and Tim Rice songs guide you through the Circle of Life.
Book The Lion King tickets on London Theatre.
The only downside to heading back to school: seeing those classmates you just can’t get along with. That makes the initially difficult bond between Elphaba and Glinda, roommates at Shiz, very relatable, and this popular musical also has powerful lessons about standing up for what’s right.
Book Wicked tickets on London Theatre.
Of course, we’re all still waiting for our letter to Hogwarts. Harry’s son Albus is lucky enough to get his, but he has a difficult time at school – which, again, will be relatable to many. Thankfully, Ron and Hermione are around to help when Harry and Albus must face a dark wizarding force in this epic play.
Book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tickets on London Theatre.
Most of us studied Henry VIII at school, but look beyond your history syllabus for this badass herstory version of events. The king’s six wives finally get to have a voice, and they express themselves like modern pop diva rivals. Who had it worse, and who will win? There’s no way you can miss getting down with the queens.
Book Six tickets on London Theatre.
Another popular text on the English reading list, but it’s even more exciting to see Harper Lee’s story play out as a suspenseful courtroom drama. Watch with the young Scout, Jem and Dill as idealistic lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black man, Tom Robinson, against a false charge in 1930s Alabama.
Book To Kill a Mockingbird tickets on London Theatre.
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