I’ve loved going to the theatre for as long as I can remember – the buzz of excitement, the captivating music, the overwhelming joy of watching a story unfold before your eyes – all creating the truly mesmerising experience that has me hooked still now, let alone as an extremely excitable child.
There is nothing else like it and it gives something really special for people of any age, race or background, creating lasting memories and teaching valuable and important lessons about life and love to be cherished forever. I feel that this topic is such an important one – my love of theatre has massively shaped who I am as a person; it has influenced many of the decisions I have made throughout my life, it has moulded my beliefs and has taught me many lessons about history and the way the world works.
I’m so lucky to have had these amazing experiences and feel that it is very important that other young people are able to have similar opportunities. Introducing children and young people to the theatre at a young age is a great way to help their imaginations blossom, and it’s one of the most rewarding and exciting things you can do. Here is my run down of the top 10 shows that can inspire future generations to greatness.
Disney’s classic musical is beloved by children and adults alike, telling the story of Simba the Lion cub as he meets new friends and learns how to become King of the Jungle. This is a great first show to help introduce your children to the theatre as it is so full of colour, with wonderful costumes and amazing music.
Your children will be amazed from the first note to the last, and the look on their faces when they see the animals is priceless. They will be talking about this for years to come.
Based on Roald Dahl’s wonderful novel, Matilda tells the story of a wonderful young girl who uses her intelligence to overthrow mean parents and a spiteful headmaster, restoring order and achieving good. This fascinating story can inspire children to speak out against grown-ups if what they’re doing is “not right” – however, watch out: because it might make them want to be “a little bit naughty”.
This show features some extremely talented children (and adults) and this alone might make children want to join a theatre group and become the future stars of London’s theatre!
School of Rock
For any aspiring musicians, this show is the perfect one to show children that with practice they can achieve anything. This show has three children’s bands rocking out eight times a week and will blow them away from the very start. Based on the hit film School of Rock this musical tells the story of ‘teacher’ Dewey Finn and a group of extremely talented children who enter the ‘Battle Of The Bands’ to become the next biggest rock band.
These wonderful children who perform each night won the 2017 Olivier award for Outstanding Achievement in Music and it’s so easy to see why; the skill they have in playing their instruments is mesmerising and would inspire any child or young person to want to do the same.
Based on the hit books and TV show, the Horrible Histories series is now an extremely popular production. These shows are perfect for helping children learn about history without the boring bits, providing factual information that children learn about in schools, in a show that is absolutely hilarious!
This show is geared directly at children and they absolutely love it! Combining funny anecdotes and brilliant costumes make it a fun and lively way for children to have a great time whilst providing a bit of education – isn’t that great?
This classic MGM-style musical is wonderful for anyone of any age, with the most mesmerising group of performers in the whole of the West End. For any child with an interest in dance, this one is perfect – it features incredible tap dancing that will inspire any avid dancer and tells a wonderful story that will have you and your child hooked.
This is a really wonderful example of a show that can teach children to dream big, and the true value of friendship. This story of Effie White and the Dreamettes will inspire children and young people to be inspired by the story of love, fame and friendship. If nothing else, they will be blown away by the incredible talent of the performers, particularly the performance of “And I Am Telling You”.
Billy Elliot is a world-famous show telling the story of a young boy with an incredible talent for ballet. This truly wonderful story has inspired many young boys to take up ballet and has moved so many people with its amazing story (based on the true events of the miner’s strike) of community power and a young boy’s dream.
Exploring Billy’s battle to overcome the stigma surrounding ballet, his best friend Michael’s cross dressing and the community’s struggle with poverty, this wonderful show will inspire and empower all people, both young and old.
This is one of the most inspiring shows I’ve seen, and I really love the message it leaves. It teaches that if you can accept yourself for who you are then you can accept others for who they are – dressing up as a woman doesn’t stop you being a ‘real man’, but trying to force people to change so that they will ‘fit in’ does nothing for you.
The end of Kinky Boots leaves the audience with the message ‘you change the world when you change your mind’ – I think this is something extremely important for young people (and adults) to learn, and the show is so utterly feel good it will be impossible to come away without a smile on your face.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
Based on the book by Mark Haddon and adapted to stage by Simon Stephens, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time is a fascinating play that gives the audience a unique insight into life with Aspergers Syndrome; it is truly an incredible experience.
It will teach young people more about life with Aspergers and will give them an immense amount of respect towards those who live with it, opening their eyes to why they do things the way they do and exploring how some people see the world differently.
One of my absolute favourite musicals, Wicked has so much that it can teach young people. It doesn’t just inspire them to love the theatre but also tells a very powerful story that should be heeded by people of any age, especially with the way the world is heading at the moment – sing it with me: skin colour does not matter!
This show teaches us that what we perceive to be true isn’t always correct – green witches can be good – it’s all about looking at things in a different way. It’s a story of friendship, of love and of betrayal, and it is perfect.
Lauren is an avid theatre fan who just can’t see enough shows. She is a regular blogger for several sites including the Musical Theatre Appreciation Society and also a qualified Children’s Nurse.