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Family Christmas shows bring magic to Stratford-upon-Avon and nearby venues



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Panto, ballet and a giant elephant

This year's family festive shows are as magical and inspiring as ever.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Stratford Playhouse, 18th to 31st December, £16 standard or £52 for group of four, www.stratfordplay.co.uk, 01789 333990

The playhouse promises an evening of laughs, song and dance courtesy of this panto classic that’s full of beans. Cabaret seating lets the whole family feel part of the adventure.

A Christmas Carol

Albany Theatre, Coventry, 4th to 26th December, £15 to £18, www.albanytheatre.co.uk/whats-on, 024 7699 8964

David Dickens’ much-loved yuletide tale comes to Coventry, with magical costumes and spectacular sets. This family-friendly production means there'll be plenty of Christmas spirit to fight off the spooky Victorian snow.

Jason Donovan, Birmingham Hippodrome. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Jason Donovan, Birmingham Hippodrome. Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Birmingham Hippodrome, 18th December to 30th January, £16 or family and group offers, www.birminghamhippodrome.com, 0844 338 5000

Jason Donovan makes his panto debut as The Evil Ringmaster in this take on the classic tale complete with comedy, special effects and circus acts. Dame Betty Barnum and her daughter Goldilocks find their circus threatened by a rival Big Top owner and fight to save it with the help of their circus friends and three remarkable bears. With sets and costumes straight from the London Palladium, this production will bring the Big Top to Birmingham this Christmas.

What a Camp Christmas

Home Guard Club Tiddington, 17th and 18th December, £11, 16+, www.absolutelydragulous.com/tickets

Absolutely Dragulous’ Marilyn and Amanda bring festive spirit, fabulous outfits and stand-up comedy to Tiddington. Yuletide merriment and a good-time atmosphere will also include strong language.

Magician's elephant (52730469)
Magician's elephant (52730469)

The Magician’s Elephant

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford, open now until 1st January, £16 to £62, www.rsc.org.uk/whats-on, 01789 331111

A magician conjures an elephant from the sky, changing the town of Baltese forever in this magical musical that promises extraordinary sets and songs. From the team behind War Horse, The RSC's Christmas production will amaze and astound the whole family with puppetry, a powerful story and enough festive spirit to cheer you through till next year.

Rapunzel

Chipping Norton Theatre, 17th November to 9th January, £13 to £30, www.chippingnortontheatre.com/whats-on/rapunzel, 01608 642350

Rapunzel makes a bid for freedom from an evil witch with the help of her nanny, and of course a prince! Let your hair down and enjoy songs, sword fights and sweets in this reimagining of the favourite fairy-tale from one the country's best loved theatres for panto.

Jack and the beanstalk (52545670)
Jack and the beanstalk (52545670)

Jack and the Beanstalk

Cheltenham Everyman, 26th November to 9th January, £5 to £24, www.everymantheatre.org.uk/whats-on, 01242 572573

A giant adventure awaits with a cast of Everyman favourites ready to dazzle with song and dance. Gloucester's favourite clown Tweedy joins the action for what will no doubt be a night of fe fi fo fun!

Beauty and the Beast

Belgrade Theatre, 24th November to 8th January, £13 to £35, www.belgrade.co.uk/whats-on, 024 7655 3055

Coventry’s favourite dame Iain Lauchlan writes and stars in this eternal panto favourite, joined by Craig Hollingsworth to create Christmas chaos with the help of sets and costumes that make the Belgrade a must for panto lovers.

Beauty and the Beast

Playbox Theatre Warwick, 16th to 30th December, £18 or £10 concession and groups, www.playboxtheatre.com/whats-on, 01926 419555

There’s magic, music and monstrous fun to be had in this festive favourite that promises thrills and uplifting family fun.

Beauty and the Beast

Attic Theatre Stratford, 17th December to 2nd January, £15, www.theattictheatre.co.uk/whats-on-2020, 07748 479507

Tread the Boards bring this fairytale favourite of true love to the Attic theatre, with spellbinding sets and costumes to warm our hearts this winter.

David Bradley as Scrooge (52733605)
David Bradley as Scrooge (52733605)

A Christmas Carol

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, 13th to 23rd December, £8 to £22, www.belgrade.co.uk/whats-on, 024 7655 3055

David Bradley stars in this acclaimed one-man staging of Dickens' festive fable. Simon Callow's adaptation takes inspiration from Dickens' own one-man readings of the story to invite the audience into the world of snowy, lamp-lit Victorian streets and ghoulish visitations. With added musical accompaniment, this is a family favourite for the past, present and Christmas to come. See this week's Herald for our interview with David Bradley.

Nutcracker (52734057)
Nutcracker (52734057)

Nutcracker

Birmingham Royal Ballet, 20th November t0 11th December, Birmingham Hippodrome

Sir Peter Wright’s legendary 30-year-old production of The Nutcracker opens on a wintry soundscape; the Dickensian tones of Simon Callow as Drosselmeyer echo across the auditorium as he introduces the enchanting tale to our captivated audiences. The toyshop, the Stahlbaums’ beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and King Rat’s scary midnight world where he battles the Nutcracker doll are all brought vividly to life by Set Designer Dick Bird’s wall of mirrors, with beautiful projections by award-winning 59 Productions.

Tchaikovsky’s soaring score and the 60-strong Royal Ballet Sinfonia take centre stage in this unique production that brings the orchestra out from the pit and onto a platform raised above the stage.

And, of course, in front of all of this we see Birmingham Royal Ballet’s company of world-class dancers as they beautifully tell this most nostalgic of stories, taking Clara on the ultimate Christmas journey through a fantastical winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes to the kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy.



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