Arts Ballet Christmas Culture Fitness Iweekend Shows Theatre

40 best Christmas shows to book now: From thigh-slapping pantomimes to classic ballets

Aladdin, Hackney Empire




Hackney Empire

Clive Rowe returns to the place his panto profession began (as Widow Twankey), the place author/ director Susie McKenna (in her 20th yr at this lark) all the time serves up a glittery deal with.

As we speak-6 Jan,


The Theatre, Chipping Norton

The antidote to business panto – and, to add to the appeal, carried out in what was as soon as a Salvation Military citadel.

To 13 Jan,

Dick Whittington

Lyric Hammersmith, London W6

Alt-panto in a theatre that over the previous decade has earnt a popularity for rebooting the shape, co-written by Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd, starring Margaret Cabourn Smith as Mayor Pigeon.

To six Jan,


King’s Theatre Glasgow

Comedy establishment Elaine C Smith

(Rab C Nesbitt, Two Doorways Down) is Widow Twankey and Johnny Mac performs her eejit son, Wishee Washee.

1 Dec-6 Jan,

Jack and the Beanstalk

Grand Opera Home, Belfast

Might McFettridge, in her 29th yr in panto, is Dame Might Trot, whereas Olivier award-winner David Bedella – considered one of panto’s most memorable baddies – is the enormous’s sidekick, Fleshcreep.

1 Dec-13 Jan,

Aladdin, Hackney Empire's 20th anniversary pantomimeAladdin, Hackney Empire’s 20th anniversary pantomime


Bradford Alhambra

Christopher Biggins, who’s all the time an incredible Dame, is Widow Twankey, with Billy Pearce and Simon Webbe as her troublesome sons. This magnificent theatre serves up conventional fare, so get your vocal cords prepared.

Eight Dec-20 Jan,

Snow White

Palladium, London W1

Daybreak French makes her panto debut because the Depraved Queen (above), alongside Julian Clary and Nigel Havers in what guarantees to be extra filthy enjoyable at this iconic venue (though very grownup jokes will go above little heads).

Eight Dec-13 Jan,

Peter Pan

Richmond Theatre, London

Olivier Award-winning Robert Lindsay has a Darling of a task as he makes his panto debut as Captain Hook, with Britain’s Obtained Expertise finalist Jon Clegg as Mr Smee.

Eight Dec-6 Jan,

Magnificence and the Beast

Cardiff New Theatre

Native rugby legend Gareth Thomas dons his tights once more to play reverse Lisa Riley’s Belle, in what was a well-liked panto lengthy earlier than it acquired the Disney remedy.

Eight Dec-13 Jan,


New Wimbledon Theatre

Have I acquired information for you: Paul Merton is making his panto debut as Widow Twankey, with Lee Ryan within the title position. Merton, an skilled on silent comedy movies, will little question be delivering some groaners.

Eight Dec-6 Jan,

Grand Previous Dame of York

York Theatre Royal

All rise for the best dwelling Dame, Berwick Kaler, who dons his false bosoms for a 40th time. That is all the time a delightfully old style panto, together with sweets thrown into the viewers and a slosh scene.

13 Dec-2 Feb,

The Snowman at Sadlers WellsThe Snowman at Sadlers Wells

Jack and the Beanstalk

Liverpool Empire

Strictly decide and Wirral native Shirley Ballas cha-cha-chas her approach to her panto debut as Mom Nature. Will it’s a 10 from us?

14 Dec-6 Jan,

Peter Pan

Birmingham Hippodrome

Wolverhampton woman Meera Syal makes her panto debut alongside Jimmy Osmond – an American who will get British vaudevillian humour – at a venue recognized for its innovation.

19 Dec-27 Jan,


Disney on Ice: Dream Huge

Motorpoint Area Nottingham and O2 Area London

That is the European premiere of a present that pulls collectively tales from Disney household favourites: watch Moana and Maui set out on an journey, go to Arendelle with the characters from Frozen and rejoice Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday.

At this time, tomorrow, Nottingham; Boxing Day-6 Jan, London,

La Clique Noël: Half Deux

Pageant Sq., Edinburgh

Olivier Award-winning La Clique first carried out on the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004. Now they arrive residence for a seasonal spectacular of acts of derring-do carried out to reside music.

To five Jan,


Residence, Manchester

A present that’s just a little bit totally different from the usual seasonal fare: virtuoso reside music and energetic bodily comedy from the Netherlands circus troupe, which pays homage to slapstick performers of the previous together with Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy.

13-22 Dec,

Circus 1903

South Financial institution Centre, London SE1

The golden age of circus, reinvented for contemporary audiences with trapeze artists, contortionists, high-wire acts and life-size elephants created by Handspring, which constructed the Struggle Horse animals.

19 Dec-5 Jan,

Circus 1903, South Bank CentreCircus 1903, South Financial institution Centre


Nativity! The Musical


Debbie Isitt has tailored her widespread youngsters’s movies for the stage – and this piece is about in St Bernadette’s Catholic Faculty, the place the Nativity play doesn’t go to plan. Dani and Danny Dyer are within the London forged, alongside Jo Model (who additionally seems in Edinburgh).

Tonight, tomorrow, Nottingham Theatre Royal; 28 Nov-2 Dec, Edinburgh Pageant Theatre; 5-Eight Dec, Regent Theatre, Stoke; 11-15 Dec, Oxford New Theatre; 19-31 Dec, Eventim Apollo, London W6,

Alice in Wonderland

Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

Don’t be late for an important date with an ensemble forged of actor-musicians, beautiful units and objects that aren’t as they first seem, as Alice’s most curious journey is introduced to
life in Mike Kenny’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic story.

To 29 Dec,

Warfare Horse

Nationwide Theatre, London SE1

Because the centenary of the top of the First World Warfare has simply been marked, a well timed return of this completely magical dramatisation of Michael Murpurgo’s Nice Struggle story of loyalty and loss, with Handspring’s nonetheless fascinating equine puppetry.

To five Jan,

Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales

Unicorn Theatre, London SE1

Anticipate the sudden on this new manufacturing (tailored for the stage by Philip Wilson) with witches, enchanted forest creatures, careless mother and father and fearless youngsters.

To six Jan,

A Christmas Carol

Previous Vic, London SE1

Matthew Warchus’s acclaimed manufacturing of Jack Thorne’s joyfuk adaptation returns. Stephen Tompkinson stars as Scrooge in a present that cleverly makes use of viewers interplay.

To 19 Jan,

The Box of DelightsThe Field of Delights

The Wind within the Willows

New Vic Theatre, Newcastle

Be a part of Rat, Mole, Badger and Mr Toad for an journey on the River Financial institution. It’s a story of braveness and friendship advised with a big forged and stay music at a theatre that may be relied on to produce a top quality Christmas present.

To 26 Jan,

The Night time Earlier than Christmas

Southwark Playhouse, London SE1

In Anthony Neilson’s darkish (very darkish) seasonal comedy, it’s Christmas Eve and it’s all kicking off between a coked-up Scrooge, his grumpy pal, a prostitute and an unruly Elf.

Tues-29 Dec,

The Wind within the Willows

Polka Theatre, London SW19

How higher to introduce youngsters to the thrill of reside theatre than with Kenneth Grahame’s classic story of friendship and bravado alongside the River Financial institution?

To 17 Feb,

La Bohème

London Coliseum

Want an excellent cry? Properly, it’s Christmas Eve and (spoiler alert!) it’ll be Mimi’s final… Jonathan Miller’s classic manufacturing of Puccini’s tear-jerker stars Natalya Romaniw and Jonathan Tetelman.

26 Nov-22 Feb,

The Messiah

Richmond Theatre and The Different Palace, London SW1

It’s a second coming, as Hugh Dennis returns to the stage after 20 years in Patrick Barlow’s idiosyncratic retelling of the best story ever informed. Lesley Garrett and John Marquez co-star in a comedy of Biblical proportions.

26 Nov-1 Dec,; three Dec-5 Jan,

Alice: The Musical

Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Tumble down the rabbit gap with Alice in pursuit of the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts and different fantastical characters in Paul Boyd’s musical model of Lewis Carroll’s story.

29 Nov-5 Jan,

A Christmas Carol

Bristol Previous Vic

Charles Dickens’ classic story of redemption has been tailored by Tom Morris for this new manufacturing starring Felix Hayes as Scrooge, on this magnificent, lately refurbished theatre.

29 Nov-13 Jan,

Matthew Bourne's Swan LakeMatthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

The Field of Delights

Wiltons Music Corridor, London E1

Theo Historic (who performed Albus Potter within the West Finish’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Baby) stars on this John Masefield story tailored by the award-winning youngsters’s writer Piers Torday (The Final Wild, The Misplaced Magician), a few boy who encounters a magician on a practice.

30 Nov-5 Jan,

A Christmas Carol

RSC Stratford

A smash hit final yr, David Edgar’s politically conscious adaptation (the Victorians might have invented genteel poverty however trendy audiences know all about austerity) stars Aden Gillett as Scrooge.

Four Dec-20 Jan,

White Christmas

The Curve, Leicester

Based mostly on the Paramount Footage movie of the identical identify, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. Danny Mac and Emma Williams star on this household favorite set in a snow-bound Vermont lodge, chock filled with nice songs, together with, in fact, “White Christmas”.

6 Dec-13 Jan,


The Nutcracker

Birmingham Hippodrome and Royal Albert Corridor, London SW7

The return of Peter Wright’s classic manufacturing created for Birmingham Royal Ballet, full with gigantic units, lavish costumes and 60 dancers. The reimagined model, created for the Hippodrome, additionally returns to the Royal Albert Corridor.

To 13 Dec,; 28-31 Dec,

The Snowman

Peacock Theatre, London WC2 and Birmingham Repertory Theatre

One other era can fly by way of the air to take pleasure in what’s, astonishingly, the 25th anniversary of Birmingham Rep’s manufacturing of Raymond Briggs’ magical story (with music by Howard Blake) a few boy and his cool pal.

To six Jan,; 16-26 Jan,

Matthew Bourne's Swan LakeMatthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

The Nutcracker

Royal Opera Home, London WC2

The present that defines Christmas for ballet followers: a winter wonderland by which Clara is enchanted by dancing snowflakes, a magical Christmas tree, a good-looking Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy. The forged consists of Marianela Núñez and Steven McRae, each principal dancers with the Royal Ballet.

three Dec-15 Jan,

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

Sadler’s Wells, London EC1

Return of the multi-award-winning manufacturing (with design by Lez Brotherston and lighting by Paula Constable), which reimagines the unique by changing the feminine corps de ballet with a
menacing all-male ensemble.

Four Dec-27 Jan,



Christopher Hampson’s acclaimed Scottish Ballet manufacturing provides the classic fairy story – through which good should conquer evil – a recent and humorous makeover, carried out to Prokofiev’s magical rating.

Eight-30 Dec, Edinburgh Pageant Theatre; Four-12 Jan, Glasgow Theatre Royal; 16-19 Jan, His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen; 23-26 Jan, Eden Courtroom, Inverness; 30 Jan-2 Feb, Newcastle Theatre Royal,


Winter Wonderland Comedy Membership

Hyde Park, London SW1

New and established comics (together with Glenn Wool, Paul Sinha and Luisa Omielan) carry out within the Zippo Circus MegaDome. Entry to Winter Wonderland is free, comedy occasions are ticketed.

To five Jan, 

Al Murray Presents the Twelve Days of ChristmasAl Murray Presents the Twelve Days of Christmas

Al Murray Presents the Twelve Days of Christmas

Leicester Sq. Theatre, London WC2

Ribald seasonal enjoyable from the Pub Landlord (who wears 5 gold rings day by day of the yr, in fact) plus particular friends every night time.

11-23 Dec,

9 Classes and Carols For Curious Individuals

Kings Place, London N1

Robin Ince’s strictly non-religious present celebrates the best humanity has to supply, with friends together with mathematician Dr Hannah Fry and geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford, and comedians Josie Lengthy and Andy Zaltzman.

14-15 Dec and 19-20 Dec,