London’s world class theatre district has a huge number of shows on offer at any given time. Its programme brings everything from family-friendly shows for toddlers to cutting-edge dramas for young adults. There’s even biopic greats and timeless classics for older generations too. No matter your taste, the West End always has a show for every age.
So, enter your age in our quiz below to find out which West End show you should see next based on your age…
What did you get? Scroll below to discover more suggestions based on your age group.
West End shows for each age group
Little rascals (0-3 years)
While there are lots shows clearly geared towards young children, many still possess age restrictions. It can sometimes be hard to find shows for babies and toddlers, but don’t despair – there are still some around. Particularly around the Christmas period, pantomimes are a great way to keep the little ones engaged and entertained.
Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever is showing at the Duke of York’s from Friday 29th November 2019 – Sunday 5th January 2020.
The Snowman (Birmingham Repertory Theatre production) shows at the Peacock Theatre from 21st November 2019 – 5th January 2020.
There’s also children’s theatres like Rhubarb Theatre and Little Angels Theatre if you venture outside the West End. Half Moon Young People’s Theatre also admit under ones free of charge for select shows.
Although it may be tempting to stay home with your little rascal, there’s many benefits of taking children to the theatre from a young age.
School starters (4-7 years)
If you have more the one child that falls in this age bracket, it can be slightly tricky finding a West End show to see. Not only do children aged 4 years have completely different interests to those aged 7, but plenty of shows have restrictions. Some limit entry to those over 5, while others only accept children over 6 years.
One of the best shows that caters to pretty much the whole family is Disney’s The Lion King. According to From the Box Office, the show is recommended for children aged 6 and over, but they will admit from as young as 3. It’s colourful, engaging and a story that everyone loves.
Disney’s The Lion King is showing at the Lyceum until 16th February 2020. It’s often regarded as one of the West End’s most successful shows, so will likely be extended further.
If your child/children are on the younger end of this age bracket, you could also try The Gruffalo. It’s suitable for ages 3 and up and is packed full of songs and colourful characters.
The Gruffalo Live On Stage is showing at the Lyric until 8th September 2019.
Alternatively, the Horrible Histories are also great for children and adults. Blogger Mads Panchoo of The London Mother believes theatre, and in particular Horrible Histories, can be the ideal blend of educational and entertaining.
“We love seeing Horrible Histories at the theatre and think they’re suitable for kids from age 6 right up to grandparent age! The team at HH have found the perfect way to distill history down into funny yet educational morsels for children. The adults will learn a thing or too also!”Mads Panchoo, Founder of The London Mother
Horrible Histories is running at the Apollo Theatre throughout August.
Jovial juniors (8-12 years)
There are lots of West End shows geared towards this age group, but are clearly enjoyable for adults too. School of Rock the Musical is the Laurence Olivier Award-winning show based on the 2003 Jack Black movie. With music by the illustrious Andrew Lloyd Webber, it’s a great night out for everyone.
School of Rock is playing at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, with booking available until 5th January 2020.
Similarly, Matilda the Musical is another West End favourite that also puts talented children on stage too. It’s the perfect example of by kids for kids of this age group, yet is also a great one for older generations too. The age recommendation is 6, which comes with a warning of potentially scary scenes. This is why it’s the perfect choice for those that little bit older.
Matilda the Musical runs at the Cambridge Theatre, with booking until 20th December 2020.
Tenacious teens (13-15 years)
The early adolescent years can be tough when it comes to finding a suitable show to see. Often, they’re too child-like or too adult, and it can be hard to find something appropriate that keeps early teens intrigued.
Big the Musical is a great choice for 13-15 year olds. The story is all about wanting to grow up too fast, featuring a 12 year old boy desperate to be an adult. When he gets his wish, he soon discovers that adulthood comes with its own set of troubles. The ultimate coming of age musical based on the Tom Hanks movie of the late eighties. It’s set to storm the West End for the first time September 2019.
Big the Musical is due to run for a limited 9 weeks, showing at the Dominion Theatre until 2nd November 2019.
Another coming of age musical bound to grab their attention is The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4. The protagonist, Adrian, is a misunderstood and sensitive teenager guaranteed to warm their hearts.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 is playing at the Ambassador’s Theatre until 12th October 2019.
Almost adults (16-17 years)
Transitioning from children to adults can be an emotionally-charged time. It’s the moment of making important life choices, taking exams, saying goodbye to school. So it seems only fitting that our recommended choice is as equally emotive, but with injections of humour to help relieve troubled minds. The musical also deals with very important issues affecting some of today’s youth, including teen suicide and social anxiety.
Dear Evan Hansen lands at Noël Coward Theatre in November 2019 with booking until 4th April 2020.
If a big musical production isn’t traditionally your thing, The Play That Goes Wrong is a fantastic alternative. Variety describes it as ‘comic gold’, making it a great opportunity to laugh away any life stresses.
The Play The Goes Wrong is running at the Duchess Theatre, available to book until 3rd May 2020.
The faces of Gen Z (18-21 years)
At this age, you could pretty much take your pick of West End shows. But as the faces of Gen Z, you may be more inclined towards progressive and new material. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie opened in 2017, inspired by the 2011 documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16. It’s a tale of bravery and adversary. It’s fearlessly funny and inspirational at the same time.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is showing at the Apollo Theatre, booking until 25th January 2020.
You might also enjoy Hamilton – Lin-Manuel Miranda’s award-winning masterpiece. It uses a multitude of musical genres, particularly rap, to portray the life of American Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. On Broadway, the show has broken records, and is one of the most successful musicals of all time.
Don’t miss Hamilton playing at the Victoria Palace Theatre, with booking until 30th November 2019.
The roaring twenty-somethings (22-26 years)
In your prime of life, the twenties are generally the most fun. It’s that post-graduate, self-sufficient, time-for-travelling-the-world phase. Which is why we’ve chosen the latest play from Mischief Theatre for you. Groan Ups is all about reflecting on who we were as school children at 16, and who we are as adults at 30. The actors hilariously play both their characters at both ages, taking us on a journey of self discovery.
Groan Ups is playing at the Vaudeville Theatre from 20th September until 1st December 2019.
And in the moment of your life where you’re ticking off bucket list to-dos, like renting your first home (trashy student pads did not count) or backpacking to Machu Picchu, you might also apply this to the theatre. If you’ve not already see it, Les Miserables is a classic. And if you’ve only seen the movie, then you’ll no doubt love it even more.
Travel back to the French Revolution as Les Miserables plays at the Sondheim Theatre from 18th December 2019. If you can’t wait that long, try the The Staged Concert version at the Gielgud Theatre from 10th August – 30th November 2019.
Young millennials (27-30 years)
You’re either starting to settle down yourself or are at least surrounded by friends buying houses, popping the question or having children. Either way, there’s nothing like escapism at this age, perfect via a laugh out loud West End show.
The Book of Mormon is perhaps the funniest show around. It’s from the creators of South Park and Avenue Q, combining witty jokes and hilarious musical numbers. Despite being offensive to pretty much everyone, it’s generated positive reviews and won a whole heap of awards.
The Book of Mormon is playing at the Prince of Wales Theatre, with booking available until 9th November 2019.
Or why not take a trip down memory lane with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? As the generation that grew up with JK Rowlings’ infamous wizarding world, you’ll no doubt enjoy a new tale that brings Harry Potter and the gang before your very eyes.
Prepare to be spellbound as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at London’s Palace Theatre, with available shows until 16th February 2020.
Thrifty tricenarians (31-39 years)
Life gets a little more serious once you hit your thirties, where the mid-30s blues is actually a thing! But that’s all the more reason to see West End shows that will help you forget your age. After all, the theatre is all about escaping that routine-driven, responsibility-led lifestyle.
& Juliet is the perfect choice for those who grew up listening to Britney, Justin, Backstreet Boys or Bon Jovi. The epic rock ballads and unforgettable pop tunes are the soundtrack to our childhoods, as well as this brand new musical. & Juliet is the work of genius songwriter Max Martin who wrote all these iconic numbers. It’s also a fantastic and comical retelling of Juliet Capulet, who decides she doesn’t want to kill herself beside her beloved Romeo, and instead wants to live her own life.
& Juliet opens at Shaftesbury Theatre on 2nd November 2019 until 28th March 2020.
Alternatively, check out another new musical with yet another mega soundtrack. Grammy-nominee Sara Bareilles provides music and lyrics to Waitress, an all-female creative production. Waitress is the story of Jenna, who escapes her abusive marriage by baking. Wanting to make a new life for herself, Jenna enters a baking competition in the hopes of winning big.
Having recently crossed the pond from Broadway, Waitress now shows at the Adelphi Theatre. Tickets are currently available to book until 4th January 2020.
The faces of Gen X (40-41 years)
You may not believe it, but the 40’s is actually the golden age. Just look at who else shares your age group – Snoop Dogg (47), Victoria Beckham (45) and The Rock (47) – all no doubt living their best lives! But if you feel less golden and more rusty, then all you need is a good dose of nostalgia from your next theatre trip.
Back to the Future the Musical couldn’t be more perfect. It’s the return of Marty McFly who travels back in time to when his parents were young. He awkwardly becomes the love interest of his mother for a time, and develops a friendship with his father, matchmaking while desperately trying to return to the present. The musical has a book by Bob Gale who worked on the original motion picture too, giving it authenticity and making it a must-see for film-lovers.
Opening in March 2020 in Manchester for a limited run, Back to the Future the Musical will extend to the West End after May 2020. Details are still to be confirmed.
And if you need more nostalgia, Mamma Mia is the ultimate feel-good show of the West End for any age. However, it’s particularly enjoyable for ABBA fans and those wanting to dance the night away.
Escape to a romantic Greek island without leaving London, as Mamma Mia plays at the Novello Theatre with booking until 7th March 2020.
Baby boomers (50+ years)
Though there’s a great selection of West End shows for any age, but there are some that only your generation will truly appreciate. TINA: The Tina Turner Musical is one of those examples. The biopic show documents her lifelong career that extends from the 60’s to today. The jukebox musical will carry you through past decades as you witness the legendary singer’s life behind the scenes along the way.
If you’re not a Tina Turner fan or have perhaps already seen it, why not consider Only Fools and Horses the Musical? Another show set to transport you back in time, the musical resurrects Del Boy and Rodney. It recreates some of the classic scenes from the sitcom, while bringing fresh new stories to light.
How did we do? Still not found the right West End show? Take a look at upcoming theatre in London to discover more.