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Made in Chalford Christmas Fair, Victoria Works Studio, London Road, Chalford, near Stroud, Fri 1 to Sun 3 Dec

made in chalford Christmas fair

This annual Christmas fair put on by the Stroud Valleys village that punches well above its weight in creativity is a melting pot of beautiful, handmade goodies made by local craftspeople and artists. There will be over 30 artisans in the lovely old mill that is the Victoria Works Studio, including My Blue Shed whose textiles are to die for, Jill Watton’s ceramics, ditto, Taylored Felt, ditto, Hestia’s candles, ditto – are you getting the picture?. Basically, expect gorgeous handmade stuff, with the makers on hand to chat over a mulled wine and mince pie.


Wild Boar Presents: A Curious Christmas, Wild Boar Gin Lounge, Stroud, Glos, Fri 1 to Sun 3 Dec

Did someone say gin? Always happy to follow that spirit, and on this particular weekend, your G&T will come served up with a smorgasbord of festive gifts, including art, gifts, jewellery, clothes and decorations. There will also be music and festive games. And more gin! I’m in!


7 Heaven Presents… Boca 45, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, Fri 1 8pm to Sat 2 Dec 3am

Ready for an all-nighter? Then The Marshall Rooms, Stroud’s new club hot spot, is the place to go. And make sure you’ve got your dancing pants on because Boca 45 (aka Scott Hendy) will be unleashing his hip hop, funk and beat sounds – and before you know it, it’ll be 3am and you’ll feel like you’re 19 again, until the hangover kicks in that is.


Emily Barker, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, Sat 2 8pm to Sun 3 Dec 2.30am

Anyone hardcore enough to do two all-nighters in a row? Thought not, so take your pick this weekend between hardcore hip-hop raving (see above) and the country-soul ballads of Emily Barker, an Americanophile Aussie whose new album, Sweet Kind of Blue, which was recorded in Memphis, is garnering rave reviews.


Christmas Open Studio, Hilles Studio Collective, Edge, near Stroud, Sat 2 to Sun 3 Dec

Christmas Open Studios at Hilles Studio Collection in association with SVA Stroud Valley Arts

This beautiful space dedicated to the Arts & Crafts movement will be opening its doors this weekend to showcase some of the work of its artists, including Kirsty Stockdale’s sculpture, Allie Litherland’s art projections, Saffron Knight’s fine art canvases and Annet Richards-Binns’ Christmas crafts. Original gifts guaranteed, as well as mulled wine and mistletoe. And on Sunday there is a free family drop-in workshop where you can make 3D geometric marbled Christmas decorations. In association with the equally wonderful Stroud Valley Arts.


Sleeping Beauty, The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, Sat 2 to Sun 31 Dec

The Roses supremo writer and director Ben Crocker once again injects stage magic into a traditional fairy tale, this year Sleeping Beauty. Expect all the usual panto fun and don’t sit in the front row if you’re shy! I was caught here once and blushed up to my eyebrows, shrinking violet that I am.


Grandma Claus: Waiting for Santa, on tour around Gloucestershire, Sat 2 to Fri 22 Dec

The perfect way to kickstart your Christmas, this light-hearted family show follows Grandma Claus who’s desperately hoping Santa will visit her this year. Magical and fun in equal measures, the show is doing a whistle stop tour round Gloucestershire with dates in Gloucester (2 Dec), Chipping Norton (3 Dec), Cheltenham (9 Dec), Cirencester (16 Dec) and Slimbridge (20-22 Dec). And there’ll be a meet and greet with Claus after the show! Produced by Noodle Productions, written and directed by Matt Nolan, with original music by Joel Hall & Tom Ling.


Black Penny Remedy Club, The Prince Albert, Stroud, Sat 2 Dec, 9-11pm

Known for their energetic live shows, put a rocket under your Saturday night with this unique fusion of folk, Americana, punk and ska. Highlights include tracks from their third album released this November, which has been produced by no less than Morrissey’s co-songwriter/guitarist/musical director, and Polecats and Adam Ant guitarist, Boz Boorer.


Christmas Floating Market, Bradford on Avon, Wilts, Sat 2 to Sun 3 Dec

After the success of last year’s inaugural floating market in Bradford on Avon, the crafty boaters who live on the Kennet and Avon Canal are back again this year even bigger and better. There will be 40 traders spread between 14 boats, stalls on the tow path and a takeover of West Barn in the Tithe Barn Complex. As well as retail therapy, you’ll also be able to watch makers at work, from hand spinning wool to a resident blacksmith who will be turning up with a portable forge. And, there’ll be pizza, courtesy of Wildflower Pizzeria, which prepares pizzas on its boat and then cooks them in a mini wood-fired oven. And if pizza’s not your bag, Wolf Kitchen which serves warming soups and other tasty snacks will be there to keep the wolf from the door.


Calm Before Christmas Yin Yoga, Stroud Yoga Space, Stroud, Sun 3 Dec, 10.30am & 2pm

Hosted by The Yoga Glow, these two-hour yin yoga sessions will help keep Christmas stress at bay with some seriously deep stretching. Holding poses for up to five minutes, you really get down to the nitty gritty in yin and emerge feeling rested, refreshed and revitalised. The sessions end with treats and goody bags, so you’ll leave feeling properly pampered.


Winter Gathering and Gift Market, Stroud Brewery, Thrupp, near Stroud, Sun 3 Dec

If you’ve got a reluctant male shopper on your hands, this should get him off the sofa and out the door. The focus is on laid-back socialising, storytelling and carol singing around the fire, noshing on hearty food and putting back a few pints (of course), but there will also be lovely beer-related gifts to buy including beer soap, local pickles, hop pillows, one-off art and Stroud Brewery fare.


Peter Pan, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, Sat 2 to Sun 31 Dec

Set sail with your shipmates and head for Neverland this Christmas where you’ll be hooked on this swashbuckling pantomime adventure. Featuring magnificent scenery, beautiful costumes, an abundance of comedy and stunning flying sequences, it’s the perfect treat for the festive season and outstanding entertainment for all the family. It’s an adventure you won’t want to miss – hook your tickets now! Sorry…


Jack and the Beanstalk, Salisbury Playhouse, Sat 2 Dec to Sun 7 Jan 2018

Written by Andrew Pollard and directed by Ryan McBryde (the duo behind the last two smash-hit Playhouse pantos), with spectacular designs by James Button (Little Shop of Horrors, Salisbury Playhouse), Jack and the Beanstalk is the must-see family entertainment this Christmas. The fabulous cast includes the return of Richard Ede who had audiences in stitches last year as Widow Twanky.


Jack and the Beanstalk, Arc Theatre, Trowbridge, 5-8 Dec

A Giant of a panto! Presented by Wiltshire College’s very own Performing Arts students, this brand new pantomime takes us on the most amazing journey of the boy, Jack, and his adventures up the beanstalk and into the clouds.


Wreath Making Workshop, Avebury, Marlborough, 4-6 Dec

Nothing says ‘Christmas is here’ like putting up a home-made Christmas wreath. During this workshop with professional florist, Sue Scott, you’ll learn how to make a wired wreath with natural foliage. Includes lunch in the tea-rooms.


A Country House Christmas, Lydiard Park, Swindon, 5-23 Dec

Step back in time and experience the decorated halls for the festive season. See all the elegant State Rooms adorned with traditional foliage, a beautiful Christmas tree decorated with handmade decorations and a traditional kissing ball.


Christmas Tales with Grandad, Gloucester Guildhall, Gloucester, Tue 5 to Sat 9 Dec

You’ll feel like you’re sitting by the fireside with your grandad at this Christmas show which features festive stories, including a special pair of pants, the mystery of the snowflake necklace and the mischievous shenanigans of a fantasy gnome. Perfect for your little ones and adults alike.


St Thomas’s Christmas Tree Festival, Salisbury, 5-10 Dec


Christmas Wreath WorkshopStroud Brewery, Thrupp, near Stroud, 6.30-9pm, Wed 6 Dec

Local florists Lullah Belle will help you whip up a chic, sustainable wreath in-between festive drinks and nibbles at this fun, laid-back workshop. Which means that this will finally be the year that your neighbours will be knocking on your door asking where you got your beautiful wreath from and you can smugly tell them, “Oh this thing? I made it myself.”


Late-night Christmas Shopping, Malt House Emporium, Ashchurch, near Tewkesbury, Thu 7 Dec

OK, get ready for this! At 6pm, Gloucestershire’s favourite antiques emporium will open its doors having hidden ten gift vouchers around its massive new premises near Tewkesbury. Cue mad tearing around to find the golden tickets! Of course, there will also be the usual treasure trove of one-off finds to drool over, as well as designer Emma Boyne’s stunning printed cushions, cufflinks made from discharged ammunition (that’s him indoors sorted), Hounam’s covetable collection of curios and a whole load of discounts, not forgetting complimentary mulled wine, festive music and mince pies.


Introduction to Ballet, Salisbury, 7 Dec

Led by the professional dancers of Ballet Cymru, through creative ballet exercises, tasters of show material and creative tasks, participants will explore the techniques Ballet Cymru uses to create their productions in a fun and interactive environment.


The Christmas House, Salisbury, 7-17 Dec

The ground floor rooms of Mompesson House will be open and decorated for the festive season. Each room will have a different theme, focusing on a different period of history and the characters who lived at Mompesson at that time. There’ll be a festive trail for children.


A Christmas Carol, Berkeley Castle, Berkeley, until Fri 8 Dec

The perfect outing to get you in the mood for Christmas, Dickens’ touching tale of the transformation of Ebeneezer Scrooge through the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future is brought to the stage by Split Second Productions, who are regulars at Gloucestershire’s most historic castle, which is possibly home to a few ghosts itself… can also catch the performance at Chapel Arts, Cheltenham from Sat 9 to Tue 12 DecBlackfriars Priory, Gloucester on Sun 10 Dec and Tewkesbury Abbey on Tue 19 Dec.)


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Theatre Royal, Bath, Thu 7 Dec to Sun 7 Jan 2018

Photo: Freia Turland

Is this the fairest panto of them all?  Can’t vouch for the dame played by Nick Wilton (Mr Lister, Eastenders) but Harriet Thorpe (Carole in The Brittas Empire and Fleur in AbFab) sure is a glam evil stepmother. Whatever you do, don’t take that apple…


A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Salisbury, 8 Dec

The Queen of the Fairies Titania, and Puck the mischievous messenger, inhabit the supernatural fairy kingdom. Bottom and his boot-wearing “Rude Mechanicals” present their famous play Pyramus and Thisbe. And the lovers, caught in a thrilling web of mistaken identity and confusion, finally find their way through the Athenian forest to an unforgettable and joyous reconciliation.


Sleeping Beauty, Chippenham Town Hall, 8 Dec

Vienna Ballet presents Sleeping Beauty – a classic fairytale set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, stunning choreography, beautiful costumes all combine to portray the struggle between good and evil. The wicked Carbosse casts a spell on Princess Aurora proclaiming that she will one day prick her finger – and die. The Lilac Fairy changes the spell, and instead on the fateful day the Princess and the entire Palace fall into a deep sleep. A century later Prince Florimund revives the Princess with a kiss, the Palace awakes and a parade of fairytale characters attend the wedding.


Spectacle of Light, Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Fri 8 to Sat 30 Dec

Sudeley Castle sparkling with light for Christmas

Glorious at any time of the year, over the Christmas period, Sudeley really shines! A veritable son et lumière with fairy lights, Moroccan lanterns and meteors lighting up the castle and the grounds, there’ll also be music and mulled wine, cider, hot chocolate and treats served on the terrace. Quite romantic I’d say, but if you’ve got offspring, they’ll probably be bowled over by the magic, so you may have to save the hand holding for another night.


Cinderella, Octagon Theatre, Yeovil,  Fri 8 Dec – Sun 7 Jan

There is nothing like a dame … except for another dame. Looking good ladies, looking good. The Octagon’s famed round these parts for its pantos and this year’s production of Cinderella promises to be the best yet. It’s the theatre’s fastest-ever selling panto, so I’d get in quick if I were you.


Festive Weekend, The Nursery at Miserden, Sat 9 to Sun 10 Dec

You feel like you’re in another world at this enchanting nursery and even more so when they roll out the Christmas barrel. As well as beautiful gifts for green-fingered loved ones to peruse, there will be Christmas carols, mulled wine, hot toddies and bacon butties. And kids will be able to create their own pine cone decoration and post their Christmas lists to Father Christmas.


Marlborough Choral Society Christmas Concert, Marlborough, 9 Dec

The programme will have two major pieces. “The Magnificat”, by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, is a Baroque work written in the early 18th Century. Pergolesi was well known as a composer of opera but this short and moving sacred work is set to the well loved text of the Hymn to the Virgin Mary derived from St. Luke’s Gospel.


‘Tis the Season, Tisbury High Street, 9 Dec

Tiz the season is back with a difference this year and promises to be the best one yet! Meet Santa, browse the stalls lining the High Street or take part in the mince pie eating contest.


Aladdin, Bristol Hippodrome, Sat 9 Dec to Sun 7 Jan 2018


Hop on board the flying carpet and watch a genie pop out of a lamp, etc.  You’d think Marti Pellow might be Wishee Washee (Wet Wet Wet, geddit?) but he’s the baddie Abanazar and it’s Joe Pasquale who’s WW, with Del Dingle (oops,  I mean Hayley Tamaddon) as Jasmine.


Milton Jones is – Out There, Salisbury, 10 Dec

Milton Jones is Out There. No, really out there and this time he hasn’t just forgotten his keys. He’s holding up the mirror of truth to society, and he can see right through it, which means its probably just a window.


Little Robin Redbreast, Salisbury Playhouse, Mon 11 to Sun 31 Dec

Christmas is coming and little Robin is very excited. To help him count down the days, Mummy and Daddy have given him an advent calendar. Behind every window is a picture and every picture tells a story. Join Robin as he links the pictures together on a magical quest towards Christmas Day. From the writers of last year’s The Night Before Christmas, this brand new production will be full of song, magic and surprises for all the family.


Treasure Island, Wharf Theatre, Devizes, 11-16 Dec

Avast, me hearties! “X” marks the spot in this year’s raucous Wharf Panto based on the classic by Robert Louis Stevenson. Armed with just the Map-Nav to find the treasure and his spirit of adventure, young Jim Hawkins, his true love Penny & Panto Dame Sarah the Cook join Captain Whatt and the rest of the rabble as they set sail on an adventure for a mysterious island. Little do they know, the ships crew led by Long Jane Silver, have their own questionable plans for the treasure.


The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker, Wiltshire Music Centre, 12 Dec and 23 Dec

Livestream ballet: a young girl’s enchanted present leads her on a wonderful Christmas adventure in this beautiful ballet, danced to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score.


Little Blue Monster: Lost and Found, Bacon Theatre, Cheltenham, Wed 13 DecBased on Oliver Jeffers’ children’s story about a boy who finds a penguin on his doorstep, this sweet tale of friendship follows the boy’s efforts to help the penguin find its way back home, even if it means rowing all the way to the South Pole. Puppetry, songs and music bring the story to life and will captivate the over 3s and under 83s.


Hipkiss, The Prince Albert, Stroud, Wed 13 Dec

brick wall with HIPKISS in pink lips graffitied on it

A little something to tickle you mid-week, this soul, funk, blues and rock band fronted by Patsy Gamble & Muddy Manninen blend original material with soul and blues classics – and put on a damned fine live show.


Santa Clause and the Magical Christmas Journey, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, Thu 14 to Sun 24 Dec

It’s Christmas Eve, and Santa Claus is flying high above the clouds delivering presents to all the good boys and girls around the world. Hiding in the back are two naughty elves Charlie and Kara who have snuck on-board for the ride…All is well until suddenly the Sat Nav goes haywire and breaks leaving him stranded without his list of postcodes to deliver presents to. With the clock ticking and morning fast approaching it’s down to Charlie, Kara and Muffin the bear to come up with a clever plan to save Christmas. From the producers of last year’s record-breaking production, this brand-new adventure filled with songs, nursery rhymes and magic promises to be the Christmas treat you won’t want to miss. A truly unforgettable experience which includes the magical moment when snowflakes fall over the audience – a guaranteed white Christmas at every show!


SLADE Christmas Shindig, Salisbury, 14 Dec

With their unique blend of perfect pop-rock’n’roll, outrageous flamboyance and pure fun, and no less than 23 Top-20 singles of which 6 were No-1 smash hits….plus 6 smash albums, Slade have become a
firm favourite in the hearts of pop fans all over the world.


The Camp Kitchen Pop-Up, The Garden Café at Miserden, Fri 15 and Sat 16 Dec

table set for dinner in 1920s greenhouse with candles, flowers at Miserden Nurseries

The Camp Kitchen takes over Miserden Nursery’s Garden Café this weekend, transforming the 1920s greenhouse into a magical, candlelit setting for a feast cooked up by the Michelin-trained caterers. Expect hearty, Yotam Ottolenghi-style flavours, mood music, table settings by The Cotswold Flower Co, cosy wood burners and bags of atmosphere. Bring your own, your bessies, your significant other and enjoy. Who needs to go to Richmond’s Petersham Nurseries, eh?


Snow Play, Pound Arts, Corsham, Sun 16 Dec

What would you do if one year Winter decided to stay and moved into your house? Well that’s what happens in this snowy spectacular show where you are guaranteed a white Christmas. In this wonderful, interactive play you can join the showdown between Winter and Spring over who gets to stay and who has to go away… snowball fight included.


Handel’s Messiah, Tewkesbury Abbey, Sat 16 Dec, 7pm

And relax… to the dulcet tones of Tewkesbury Abbey’s Schola Cantorum as they sing the glorious 18th-century messiah in the Norman surroundings of the Abbey.


BBC Wiltshire Carols, Salisbury Cathedral, 16 Dec

Join BBC Wiltshire for their live recording of ‘Carols at the Cathedral’ to be transmitted on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day morning. Salisbury Plain Military Wives Choir and the award-winning Aldbourne Band, will be joined by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir, along with congregational carols and readings from BBC Wiltshire presenters.


Breakfast with Father Christmas, Weyhill, Andover, 16-24 Dec

Father Christmas will be stopping in at Feathers Restaurant for a hearty breakfast ahead of his impending worldwide voyages. After a hearty breakfast, children will have the opportunity to meet Father Christmas in his grotto, as well as meeting our miniature donkeys and an owl.


Pinocchio and the Christmas Wish, Cheltenham Playhouse, Cheltenham, Sat 16 to Fri 29 Dec

Capturing the magic of being a child on Christmas Eve, waiting for your wishes to be granted, this sweet retelling of the Pinocchio story is a perfect outing for little ones. The toy workshop is full of impossible dreams: Pinocchio wants nothing more than to be a real boy, the Tin Soldier wants to win the heart of the Paper Ballerina and the Rag Doll wishes only for the Tin Soldier to notice her. However, legend tells that every Christmas the mysterious Toymaker will grant a wish to the most deserving of toys, and this Christmas they will set out on a daring journey to find their hearts’ desires and change their lives forever… Produced by Rolling Stock Theatre Company, it’s written and directed by Suzanna Segura with original music by James Lark.


Made in Bradford on Avon Christmas Market, 16 Dec

Browse the wonderful array of handmade, local gifts. This annual event is hugely successful with visitors. Take time to have a chat, meet new people and visit the refreshment area which is provided by Dorothy House Hospice Care.


That’ll Be The Day – The Christmas Show, 16 Dec

The UK’s most popular Rock ‘N’ Roll variety show celebrates the festive season with all your favourite Christmas classics from the 50s, 60s & 70s, plus plenty of hilarious comedy.


Christmas is coming to Highgrove, Tetbury, Glos, until Sun 17 December

HRH The Prince of Wales’s gaff is a princely host for a right royal Christmas festive and shopping experience. This year the famous Orchard Room will be once again offering unique gift ideas, decorations and gourmet foods. Bask in the beauty of the place and find those special, one-of-a-kind gifts. No sharp, high street elbows here, instead you can float around, glass of champagne in hand, breaking for lunch and cream tea in the brand new restaurant. Sounds perfecto. 


A Christmas Carol, Salisbury Playhouse, Tue 19 to Sat 23 Dec

Dickens’ mystical Christmas fable is brought to life by Olivier Award-winner Guy Masterson, veteran of smash hit solo shows including Under Milk Wood and Animal Farm. Famed for bringing multiple characters to vivid life, Masterson recreates Scrooge, Marley, the Fezziwigs, Tiny Tim and more in an enchanting performance that will dazzle and linger long in the memory. Guaranteed to get you into the Christmas Spirit – in many more ways than one!


A Christmas Carol, Salisbury Arts Centre, 19-23 Dec

Come face to face with the magical spirits, Bob Cratchett and Tiny Tim as you experience this enchanting setting of the Arts Centre transformed into the past, present and future of Mr Scrooge. Join him as he travels through time to learn the true meaning of Christmas and share in the festive joy of this timeless tale. A perfect opportunity for you and your family to dive into the heart of a Dickens Christmas with Smoking Apples’ unique and heart warming style of storytelling, puppetry and visual theatre.


Salisbury Christmas Market, Salisbury, Wilts, until Fri 22 Dec

This magical Christmas market sees the beautiful medieval cathedral city transformed into a winter wonderland that rivals the best of Germany’s famous Christmas markets. From jewellery and crafted handmade furniture to every flavour of liqueur you could dream of, this one could get jolly! The opening night is always special with loads of street entertainers and a real festive spirit, then on Thu 30 Nov, there’s the annual Christmas Lantern Parade which this year is in association with the Salisbury Arts Centre and is another it-feels-good-to-be-alive event.


The Three Elvises, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, Sat 23 8pm to Sun 24 Dec 3am

They smashed it at Womad, then again at Stroud Fringe and now The Three Elvises will take your festive mood to the next level as the nine piece follows the King’s journey from black leather-clad to white jumpsuit-wearing gyrator. Fancy dress optional.


The Little Match Girl, Pound Arts, Corsham, 23-24 Dec

The Last Baguette transport us to Victorian London in this touching and humorous retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale. This magical show uses visual storytelling, physical comedy and a live musician to tell the story of a young girl, who sees fantastic Christmas visions as she strikes her matches to stay warm. Laugh, cry and be inspired by this wonderful winter warmer.


The Cotswold Reindeer Herd, Ampney Crucis, until Sun 24 Dec

This is the place to go and get your Christmas tree this year. Not only is it on one of the stunning back roads around the Ampneys, but there are reindeer! Yes, real-life reindeers that will get the kids (and adults) tingling with festive excitement. Santa will be there in his Christmas grotto too. The festive season starts here.


Enchanted Christmas Market, Gloucester Quays, Gloucester, until Sun 24 Dec

Expect street food vendors, a Ferris Wheel, tons of festive stalls, a real ale tent, brass bands and an open-air ice rink. I’ll see you dancing on ice!


Disco Sucks, The Marshall Rooms, Stroud, Thu Dec 28 10pm to Fri Dec 29 1am

Shake off Christmas and get into New Year party mode with Noughties’ favourite Disco Sucks. Originally inspired by the turn-of-the-century disco revival, these days you’ll get house alongside your disco and anything else they consider to be good music. The perfect antidote to Twixmas blues.


New Year’s Eve at Bowood, Calne, 31 Dec

Celebrate this New Year’s Eve in style with a night to remember! We have two New Year’s Eve party packages that will ensure that you can celebrate 2018 the way that you would like.


Crafted for Christmas, New Brewery Arts, Cirencester, until Sun 31 Dec

New Brewery Arts, Cirencester’s go-to creative hot spot, puts on a fantabulous Christmas shopping extravaganza which showcase its regular and guest makers. Expect high-quality, individual gifts and unique homewares that will be very hard to resist.


New Year’s Eve Party, The Prince Albert, Stroud, Sun 31 Dec

You’ll need to book early for this shindig as it’s always a sell-out. This year’s theme is Barbie and other Super Heroes so crack out those pink, fluffy dresses and red capes.


Dick Whittington, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Join Dick and his cat as he travels from Gloucester to London to make his fortune and runs into a crazy cast of characters on his journey from zero to here. Molly McGuire plays Dick, with Ben Goffe as Tommy the Cat and, of course, expect to see Tweedy the Clown. Regulars to the Everyman panto and Gifford’s Circus will know his genius, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing Tweedy, he’s like a comic book character come to life. Brilliant basically. Always a sell-out, be sure to book soon, as Everyman chief exec Mark Goucher says, “It wouldn’t be Christmas without a great family pantomime.”


Snow Globe, Colston Hall, Bristol, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Kid Carpet (that’s him above) used found objects – Casio keyboards, cardboard, broken toys, sellotape – to make ‘kiddy disco punk’. Here he shakes a storyteller’s snow globe to create a musical mix up of tales, rhymes and stories for 3 to 7 year olds. colstonhall,org


Jack and the Beanstalk, Oxford Playhouse, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Jack the lad is also bean-counting in Oxford this festive season, at the Playhouse. This one isn’t a celeb-fest but nevertheless looks very sweet and is suitable for very young children. Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont St, Oxford,


Peter Pan, The Hexagon Reading, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Mr TUUUUUUUUUMBBBBBLE! The irrepressible CBeebies demi-god Justin Fletcher may make you reach for the gin bottle but any small people in your charge will surely go insane in the membrane at the prospect of seeing him live on stage. He plays hapless trainee pirate Mr Smee in his sixth panto for The Hexagon. The Hexagon Theatre, Queens Walk, Reading,


Sleeping Beauty, The Theatre Chipping Norton, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

I got insanely drunk on my 18th birthday but Sleeping Beauty celebrated hers by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel and falling asleep for hundreds of years. Bummer, eh! This promises to be a curveball, time-travelling rendering of the classic tale, spanning from Tudor times to the flower-powered late 1960s. The Theatre Chipping Norton, 2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton, Oxon,


The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Stories, Bristol Old Vic, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

Photo: Steve Tanner

After premiering up at Shakepeare’s Globe in London, the critically acclaimed production comes to Bristol. An impoverished girl strikes a series of matches to keep warm on the icy cold streets; each time she escapes into a different Hans Christian Andersen story. Expect cockles to be warmed.


Beauty and the Beast, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

Photo Camilla Adams

As you can tell from the pic, not a another stage version of the Disney film. This is a quirky re-telling of the classic French fairy tale, reminding us that beauty (or beastliness) is only skin deep. Littlies can enjoy the story of family, feathers and fitting in, in The Ugly Duckling (Sun 10 Dec to Sun 14 Jan).


The Little Mermaid, The Egg, Bath, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

Mermaid in a bath tub

This is a Hans Christian Andersen and mythical Cornish Mermaid of Zennor mash up.  Morgan lives at the bottom of the ocean in a shipwrecked 1950s cruise liner and surfaces in a 1980s yacht party on the English Riviera.  A period drama-cum-rom com with a jig-along classic 1980s pop soundtrack.


Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, until Sun 11 Feb 2018

This started just last week, Brings together over 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK . Over a working life of some forty-five years, Cézanne made almost 1,000 paintings of which around 160 are portraits and this exhibition offers a fascinating insight into this central aspect of his work.


Imagining the Divine: Art and the Rise of World Religions, Ashmolean, Oxford, until Sun 18 Feb

Could have had a catchier title truth be told! But anyhoo, this major exhibition will be the first to look at the art of the five world religions as they spread across continents in the first millennium AD. Blimey! Brand new research from a major project between The Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum and Oxford Uni, with amazing objects created when the iconography of each of the major religions was still being developed.


Twelfth Night, RST, Stratford, until Sat 24 Feb 2018

Photo by Paul Stuart (c) RSC

The RSC’s winter production Twelfth Night sees Ade Edmondson, of The Young Ones and Bottom fame, as Olivia – Kara Tointon’s dour steward Malvolio in Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedy. Directed by Christopher Luscombe, who recreated Warwickshire’s Charlecote Park on stage for the RSC’s fabulous Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, it’s set in Victorian Britain. Also starring Birmingham’s Dinita Gohil as Viola and Michael Cochrane as Sir Andrew Aguecheek. rsc


Pinocchio, National Theatre, from 1 Dec
On a quest to be truly alive, Pinocchio leaves Geppetto’s workshop with Jiminy Cricket in tow. Their electrifying adventure takes them from alpine forests to Pleasure Island to the bottom of the ocean. This spectacular new production is brought to the stage by an extraordinary team including the director of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the writer of Matilda the Musical.

Dick Whittington, London Palladium, Sun 10 Dec – Fri 12 Jan

Filed under ‘go big or go home’, we have London Palladium’s offering, starring Julian Clary and Elaine Paige. Oh yeah! And you thought Su Pollard was camp. Fans of ’80s cheesiness will be thrilled to hear that Gary Wilmot co-stars alongside Nigel ‘The Charmer’ Havers.

London Palladium, Argyll St, London,


Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Sadler’s Wells, London 

Matthew Bourne’s productions are always stunning and this is no exception. He transposes the story of Cinderella to London during the Blitz, rebooting it as a wartime romance between our heroine and an RAF pilot. The reviews have been of the rave variety, with Lez Brotherston’s sumptuous costumes and sets winning Olivier Award.

Sadlers Wells, Rosebery Av, London EC1,


Cinderella on Ice, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London, Fri 17 Nov – Mon 1 Jan

No rest for Cinders! Here she is again, this time donning ice-skates, as one of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland’s new attractions. In this show, her slinky blade moves attract the amorous attentions of the Lord Mayor’s son, much to her step-sisters’ annoyance. There’s loads of whizzy lifts, jumps and throws, plus wowzers special effects.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland,


The Little Match Girl, Sadlers Wells, 13-24 December

Our unlikely heroine is an impoverished young street girl, who wanders the ever-darkening streets with just one final match to keep her warm on a cold Christmas Eve. Beautifully recreated through dance, song and live atmospheric music, The Little Match Girl is a timeless fable about kindness and helping others, which will enthral young children and the whole family alike.


Father Christmas, Lyric Hammersmith, 22 Nov – 24 Dec

Raymond Briggs Father Christmas. Back for another brilliant year, join Father Christmas as he gets ready for his busiest day of the year, Christmas Eve. Watch as he prepares his Christmas deliveries, feeds his reindeer and finally takes flight into the snowy night. Full of merry touches with plenty of live music, songs and playful puppetry. A perfect festive treat for under 6s and their families.


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