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Fill Your Festive Season

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 18 April 2008

‘Tis the season to take the whole family to see a festive show, and this year’s Christmas stocking of theatrical treats is positively bulging at the seams. There are shows for little nippers and older kids, new productions of children’s classics and brand new plays, traditional pantos and something a little different. Caroline Bishop presents a neatly wrapped round-up of Theatreland’s Christmas hamper of family-friendly goodies – just click on the show names for more details and booking info.

New Family Shows | Family Classics | Pantomimes | For the tots

New family shows

Beauty And The Beast / Lyric Hammersmith / 29 Nov-5 Jan / ages 7+
Beautiful or beastly, the Lyric is bound to come up with something inventive for its annual Christmas show, based on the classic fairy tale.

Duck! / Unicorn / 1 Dec-27 Jan / ages 7+
A new play by Philip Osment based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, set among the duck community of a North London pond.

The Gruffalo’s Child / Arts / 28 Nov-6 Jan / all ages
Everyone’s favourite Gruffalo has spawned a little Gruffalette, who is up to mischief at the Arts theatre this Christmas.

Herge’s Adventures Of Tintin / Playhouse / 6 Dec-12 Jan / ages 5+
Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock are scouring the Himalayas for their friend Chang in Rufus Norris’s stage adaptation of the cartoon book Tintin In Tibet.

Little Wolf’s Book Of Badness / Hampstead / 6 Dec-5 Jan / ages 5+
A musical adaptation of Ian Whybrow’s tale about the little wolf who was too good to be bad.

Marianne Dreams / Almeida / 13 Dec-19 Jan / ages 7+
The Almeida’s very first family show is a stage adaptation of Catherine Storr’s classic novel about 10-year-old Marianne, who discovers that what she draws comes to life in her dreams.

Potted Potter / Trafalgar Studios / 17 Dec-5 Jan / ages 6+
A 60-minute whip through all seven Harry Potter books, with shenanigans a-plenty from performers Dan and Jeff.

War Horse / National / now playing / ages 12+
The stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel features life-size horse puppets as it tells the story of one boy’s mission to rescue his horse from the front line.

New Family Shows | Family Classics | Pantomimes | For the tots

Family classics

The BFG / Polka / until 9 Feb / ages 6+
Polka’s production of the Roald Dahl story about the Big Friendly Giant and little orphan Sophie, adapted by Dahl expert David Wood.

Danny Champion Of The World / UCL Bloomsbury / 11 Dec-26 Jan / all ages
Birmingham Stage Company is at it again with this, its sixth Roald Dahl show. A classic adventure for all boys and their dads (and girls, too).

The Magic Flute & A Christmas Carol / Young Vic / 20 Nov-19 Jan / ages 12+
Mozart’s opera and the Dickens Christmas classic are given a township twist by a company of South African actors, singers and musicians.

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker / Sadler’s Wells / 13 Dec-20 Jan / all ages
The inventive choreographer’s version of the Tchaikovsky ballet has become a Christmas favourite at Sadler’s Wells, where it returns this year.

The Nutcracker / London Coliseum / 19 Dec-6 Jan / ages 5+
English National Ballet’s version is a contemporary chocolate box of colour and charm, with designs by cartoonist Gerald Scarfe.

The Nutcracker / Royal Opera House / 8 Dec-12 Jan / ages 5+
Tradition and tutus rule this glittering production which is an annual classic in Covent Garden.

Pinocchio / Royal Opera House Linbury Studio / 10 Dec-5 Jan / ages 8+
All he wanted for Christmas was to be a real boy. Will Tuckett directs his version of the children’s classic about the wooden boy and the sinister puppet master.

The Snowman / Peacock / 5 Dec-6 Jan / ages 2+
It is the 10th birthday of the stage show based on Raymond Briggs’s gentle tale of the snowman who comes to life one Christmas Eve.

New Family Shows | Family Classics | Pantomimes | For the tots


Cinderella / Little Angel / until 27 Jan / ages 5+
We all know Cinders escapes her evil step-sisters, goes to the ball and meets Prince Charming, but it’s how you tell it that counts. Little Angel uses puppets and theatrical wizardry to wow its audiences.

Cinderella / Old Vic / 4 Dec-20 Jan / ages 5+
Stephen Fry adds to his numerous talents by writing his first panto, which no doubt involves all sorts of entertaining exploits – but most importantly, he promises cake.

Cinderella / Richmond / 7 Dec-20 Jan / all ages
Blend stand-up comedians, a ventriloquist, a glamorous leading lady, former Avenue Q star Simon Lipkin and housewives favourite Nigel Havers and you get this year’s Richmond panto.

Dick Whittington / Greenwich / 4 Dec-5 Jan / all ages
Greenwich has chosen the London-set tale of the boy with big ambitions as its seasonal celebration this year.

Dick Whittington / Hackney Empire / 1 Dec-12 Jan / all ages
Hackney’s Dick is written and directed by panto queen Susie McKenna and sees Clive Rowe back in a dress for Dame duties.

Jack And The Beanstalk / Barbican / 1 Dec-12 Jan / all ages
Jonathan Harvey provides the words, Stiles and Drewe the songs and Mel Giedroyc and Steve Furst the laughs in the Barbican’s second annual panto offering.

Peter Pan / Millfield / 30 Nov-6 Jan / all ages
Millfield takes on the story of the boy who never wants to grow up, complete with its very own be-hooked Captain, Tinkerbell and little Darling kids.

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs / New Wimbledon / 7 Dec-12 Jan / all ages
The New Wimbledon has a distinctly East End feel as Bobby Davro and Ross Kemp look behind them in this year’s panto, which also stars Harry Potter’s Warwick Davis.

New Family Shows | Family Classics | Pantomimes | For the tots

For the tots

The Big Ugly Monster And The Little Stone Rabbit / Pleasance / 12-30 Dec / ages 3+
Rik Mayall provides the voiceover narration for this cute story about a big, and indeed ugly, monster who just wants to be loved.

Christmas Claytime / Lyric / 24 Nov-29 Dec / ages 3-6
Kids can play with clay in this festive edition of the hands-on creative workshop.

Little Cinders / Little Angel / 2 Dec-27 Jan / ages 2-5
A special version of the fairy tale for little people.

Princess And The Pea / Polka / 21 Nov-24 Feb / ages 5 and under
A show for tiny tots about the queen, the princess and the pea that caused all the trouble.


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