The must-see Christmas theatre shows for 2019

Pantomime season is nearly upon us, as Britain’s theatres prepare themselves for a festive makeover. From Christmas classics to children’s favourites, here’s how you can celebrate the holiday season with a healthy dose of yuletide performances.

 

London

1. La Clique

The multi-award winning La Clique returns to London in early November, a decade after packing out the Leicester Square Hippodrome. The alternative Christmas show, featuring comedy, cabaret, circus acts, burlesque and more, promises to bring laughs and cheeky adult cabaret to the Leicester Square Speigeltent this festive season.

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La Clique

2. The Snowman

Birmingham Repertory Theatre production of The Snowman

Venture into a world of wintery magic as enchanting festive tale The Snowman returns to the Peacock Theatre for a 22nd year in late November. Based on the book by Raymond Briggs and adapted by John Coates, this unique blend of dance, music and storytelling continues to enthral audiences as a boy and his magical snowman meet dancing penguins and Father Christmas while escaping the clutches of Jack Frost.

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Peacock Theatre

3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Wander through the wardrobe this winter to discover the London Theatre Company’s take on the magical world of Narnia, based on C.S Lewis’ classic novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The Bridge Theatre will see Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter wave goodbye to wartime Britain and embark on an epic adventure from early November, in a production that broke box office records at the Leeds Playhouse in 2017.

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The Bridge Theatre

4. Dick Whittington

Join Dick Whittington and his beloved cat as they go in search of fame and fortune in London in this Christmas panto classic. Expect a set of original songs and a sprinkling of festive magic at the Theatre Royal Stratford East from late November as Dick sets off on his enchanted adventure.

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Theatre Royal Stratford East

5. Cinderella

Cinderella at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, starring Timmika Ramsay.

Prepare for the Fairy Godmother of pantomimes from late November as Timmika Ramsay stars as Cinderella at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith. Expect all the usual suspects from this festive fairy-tale, as the Ugly Stepsisters look to make Cinderella’s quest to find Prince Charming as difficult as possible.

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Lyric Theatre Hammersmith

6. A Christmas Carol

Be transported to a bitterly cold Christmas Eve in Matthew Warchus’ joyous adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic from late November. As an old miser is visited by ghosts of the past, present and future, does Scrooge have it in him to overcome his selfish existence?

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Old Vic

7. Goldilocks and the Three Bears

The London Palladium welcomes Goldilocks and the Three Bears to the capital this Christmas, a festive extravaganza packed with hilarious comedy routines, incredible special effects and an all-star cast. Paul O’Grady joins the One Show’s Matt Baker and panto favourites Julian Clary and Nigel Havers for a riotous performance packed with festive frills that all the family can enjoy.

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London Palladium

8. The Tiger Who Came to Tea

The Tiger Who Came To Tea, starring Jocelyn Zackon as Sophie, David Scotland as Tiger.

Based on Judith Kerr’s much-loved children’s picture book, the Olivier Award nominated The Tiger Who Came to Tea arrives at Theatre Royal Haymarket this December. Discover what happens when a clumsy tea-guzzling tiger arrives unexpectedly, in David Wood’s family-friendly adaptation of this classic tale of teatime chaos.

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Theatre Royal Haymarket

9. English National Ballet’s Nutcracker

More than 100 dancers and musicians of the English National Ballet are set to deliver an enchanting festive performance of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, Nutcracker, at the London Coliseum this December. Telling the tale of a young girl’s Christmas in snowy Edwardian London, the festive showpiece returns after sell-out performances in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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London Coliseum

Around Britain

10. Nativity The Musical

After a popular tour and London run for 2018, Nativity The Musical returns for another tour of Britain from October to December, finishing at the Eventim Apollo. An all-star cast featuring Sharon Osborne, Danny Dyer and Dani Dyer star in Debbie Isitt’s musical adaptation of her popular films, as the children of St Bernadette’s School attempt to deliver an unforgettable festive Nativity play.

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Eventim Apollo

11. Thursford Christmas Spectacular

Marching band at the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, Norfolk.

With a production budget of two million pounds, the annual Thursford Christmas Spectacular is one of Europe’s biggest Christmas performances, held in one of Norfolk’s smallest villages! Now in its 43rd year, from early November get ready for an incredible musical theatre show, as 120 actors, dancers, musicians and comedians join to welcome in the festive season in spectacular style!

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Thursford

12. Beauty and the Beast

An enchanting production of Beauty and the Beast arrives at Newcastle Theatre Royal in late November, featuring some of the region’s finest pantomime stars. Join Danny Adams, Clive Webb and Chris Hayward on a spellbinding quest as they look to help the beautiful Belle unleash the beauty within the beast.

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Newcastle Theatre Royal

13. An Edinburgh Christmas Carol

Director Tony Cownie provides his take on Charles’ Dickens’ infamous festive story, with a seasonal production of An Edinburgh Christmas Carol, getting underway in November. Set in the heart of the Scottish capital at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, expect a guest appearance from Greyfriars Bobby, a faithful dog from Victorian Edinburgh who guarded his master’s grave long after his passing.

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Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh

14. The Night Before Christmas

Discover the true meaning of the festive season as The Night Before Christmas returns to the Leeds Playhouse after four years away at the end of November. See what happens when Carol, who doesn’t feel very Christmassy at all, has her Christmas Eve rudely interrupted by Elf 30046 – can the pair find Father Christmas before it’s too late in this magical tale of friendship for all the family?

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Leeds Playhouse

15. Cinderella

Starring Gok Wan as the Fairy Godmother and comedian Phil Butler as Buttons, Cardiff’s New Theatre is gearing up for panto season this December with a magical Christmas performance of Cinderella. Expect an array of special effects, plenty of song and dance and laugh-out-loud comedy, in this brilliant adaptation for all the family.

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New Theatre Cardiff

16. Dick Whittington

Soap star Shane Ritchie leads as Dick Whittington this Christmas, seeking fame, fortune and happiness at the Bristol Hippodrome. Watch as he seeks to free London from a bunch of revolting rodents with guidance from the magical Fairy Cow Bells, outwitting the evil King Rat and securing Alice’s hand in marriage in the process. It’s an action-packed pantomime classic with plenty of twists!

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Bristol Hippodrome

17. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

Having broken records on Broadway, Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical arrives for a UK tour in 2019, culminating at The Lowry, in Salford, Manchester this December. With magnificent sets and striking costumes, follow the scheming Grinch as he attempts to steal Christmas from the people of Whoville.

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The Lowry

18. Peter Pan

Join the villainous Captain Hook for a swashbuckling adventure at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre in mid-December, as Peter Pan gets ready to serve up a boat-load of laughter, thrills and pantomime comedy. Jump aboard the Jolly Roger and set sail for Neverland, as award-winning singer-songwriter Marti Pellow (Hook) and Union J’s Jaymi Hensley (Peter Pan) embark on their highflying journey.

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Mayflower Theatre
22 Oct 2019(last updated)