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What’s on this week

MON 4 - SUN 10 DEC

Sleeping Beauty, The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, 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. rosestheatre.org

 

Grandma Claus: Waiting for Santa, on tour around Gloucestershire, 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. grandmaclaus.com

 

Peter Pan, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, 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… swindontheatres.co.uk

 

Jack and the Beanstalk, Salisbury Playhouse, 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. salisburyplayhouse.com

 

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.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury

 

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. arctheatre.org.uk

 

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.

lydiardpark.co.uk

 

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. venues.gloucester.gov.uk

 

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

stthomassalisbury.co.uk

 

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.” stroudbrewery.co.uk

 

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. malthouseemporium.com

 

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. salisburyartscentre.co.uk

 

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. nationaltrust.org.uk/mompesson-house

 

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… berkeley-castle.com(You 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… theatreroyal.org.uk

 

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. salisburyartscentre.co.uk

 

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. sudeleycastle.co.uk

 

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.

octagon-theatre.co.uk

 

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. miserdennursery.co.uk

 

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. marlboroughchoralsociety.org.uk

 

‘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

pantomime

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. atgtickets.com

 

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. cityhallsalisbury.co.uk

 

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. highgrovegardens.com 

 

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. salisburychristmasmarket.co.uk

 

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. facebook.com/cotswoldreindeerherd

 

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! gloucesterquayschristmas.co.uk

 

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.” everymantheatre.org.uk

 

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, oxfordplayhouse.com

 

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, readingarts.com

 

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, chippingnortontheatre.com

 

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. bristololdvic.org.uk

 

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). tobaccofactorytheatres.com

 

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. theatreroyal.com

 

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. npg.org.uk

 

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. ashmolean.org

 

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, dickwhittingtonpalladium.com

 

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, sadlerswells.com

 

Cinderella on Ice, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London, until 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, hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

Father Christmas, Lyric Hammersmith, until 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.

www.lyric.co.uk

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