Family festive frolics – the young ones

If you have children but can't face the panto pace then there are classic stories and new adventures for your small people to enjoy, followed by shows for older children:

The Little Prince opens 12 December, DanceEast, Ipswich (5+)

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic story given a fresh and witty new adaptation by Luca Silvestrini using dance, humour, words and music.

Mr Rabbit meets Brer Santa, Puppet Theatre Barge, opens 1 December, Little Venice, London

One of the few companies in England dedicated to marionette theatre, the Puppet Theatre Barge is presenting the story of Mr Rabbit meets Brer Santa told with hand-carved marionettes. Brer Rabbit is back to his mischievous ways in this Christmas adventure full of fun and surprises.

Horrible Histories—Horrible Christmas opens 13 December, Alexandra Palace Theatre, London (5+)

An informative madcap race through seasonal periods featuring Victorian villains, Medieval monks, Puritan parties and Tudor treats, in the company of Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII, St Nicholas and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Return to Elm House opens 1 December, Battersea Arts Centre, London (6+)

An immersive adventure for all ages shares the radical and inspiring true story of Jeanie Nassau Senior (1828–1877), an early feminist and social pioneer who helped improve the lives of thousands of children. All performances will be 'relaxed'.

Knitmas: A Winter Yarn opens 4 December, Greenwich Theatre, London (4+)

SharkLegs take a sideways look at what really makes Christmas special in this story of unwanted gift LongSleeves, a jumper thrown aside and forgotten because of his mismatched arms.

Hansel & Gretel opens 6 December, Rose Theatre, Kingston

A new version of this classic tales is delivered with original music and a cast of young actors from the Youth Theatre alongside a team of professional actors. When young Hansel and Gretel are caught passing food to their poor neighbours, they are as surprised as anyone to be rewarded with a trip to the far side of the forest…

Duckie 9 December, Roundhouse, London and then Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (3+)

Le Gateau Chocolat's reimagining of childhood classic The Ugly Duckling emphasises the importance of self-acceptance and tolerance in a story of finding our place in the world. Sounding a bit strange? Watch Duckie triumph by realising these are his strengths.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular, Thursford, Norfolk

The tiny village of Thursford becomes home to a hundred performers armed with rhinestones, feathers and pom-poms to deliver the 41st Thursford Christmas Spectacular. A show for all ages, there is rock ‘n’ roll, showtunes, the Can Can, carols, dancing and circus.