12 Christmas shows and pantos for 2023
Find Christmas shows near you
He’s behind you! Oh no, he’s not! Oh yes, he is! Well, believe it or not, it is almost that time of year again – when laugh-out-loud pantos, spine-tingling orchestras and mind-blowing dance productions come out in force to entertain the nation for the most wonderful time of the year… Christmas. And if 2023’s line-up is anything to go by, you’re in for a treat.
From carol singing in an ancient Oxford oratory to all-singing, all-dancing extravaganzas in Norfolk, family-friendly pantomimes full of famous faces in London to side-splitting stand-up in Bath – there’s more than enough Christmas cheer to go around.
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The Spirit of Christmas at Liverpool Philharmonic
Enjoy a feast of festive music, old and new, at the beautiful Grade II-listed Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. Hosted by Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason and conducted by Ian Tracey, you’ll be able to sing along to traditional carols and music that embodies the feeling of Christmas.
Other Christmas events at the Philharmonic Hall include Carols by Candlelight and Love Actually in Concert, with the much-loved rom-com screened alongside music from the live orchestra for that extra emotional punch.
When? Selected dates from 16 to 22 December 2023Celebrate Christmas in Liverpool
Thursford Christmas Spectacular
With a cast of 130 (many hailing from London’s West End), the biggest Christmas show of its kind in Europe is an extravaganza of non-stop singing, dancing, music, humour and variety. Set in the magical surroundings of mechanical organs and fairground carousels, this spectacular show is guaranteed to impress – all rounded off with a special surprise before the curtains close.
Make a day of it and check out Thursford’s Enchanted Journey of Light. You’ll travel past penguins and giant teddy bears to the outdoor lantern light display, filled with breathtaking luminous sculptures, from a fantasy underwater world to the snowy scenes of the North Pole.
When? 8 November to 23 December 2023See Norfolk’s most anticipated Christmas show
Christmas Spectacular Circus & Water Show
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
Full of fun, thrills and excitement for the whole family, Great Yarmouth’s hit festive show returns to the seaside town’s historic Hippodrome this December. From circus tricks to synchronised swimmers and hilarious comedy, this fast-moving show is guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit.
When? 9 to 31 December 2023Get tickets to this coastal Christmas event
Peter Pan at The Palladium
London’s best-known panto is returning to the West End for this Christmas with the iconic tale of Peter Pan. Enjoy roaring comedy, show-stopping numbers and a star-studded cast – with appearances from Jennifer Saunders, Julian Clary, Gary Wilmot and many more.
When? 9 December 2023 to 14 January 2024See London’s favourite Christmas panto
The Snowman Tour 2023
Whether based in Derby or Durham, Chester or Coventry, the award-winning concert based on the nation’s favourite animated Christmas film, The Snowman, will be visiting a city near you this Christmas. Hunker down in some of England’s prettiest locations and watch a special screening of the film accompanied by a magnificent live orchestra. What’s more, you will be treated to a whistle-stop introduction to the orchestra, a visit from the Snowman himself, and a screening of family favourite, Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers.
When? Nationwide from 30 November to 23 December 2023 on selected datesGo walking in the air this Christmas
Christmas at The Royal Albert Hall
South Kensington, London
For the whole of December, a huge line-up of heart-warming shows will grace the stage of this London icon. Watch festive favourites screened alongside a live symphony orchestra such as Home Alone and Elf, groove along to Trevor Nelson’s Soul Christmas, complete with a line-up of special musical guests, belt out festive bangers at a carol show or sit back and enjoy a sparkling drag show, A Christmas Gaiety, featuring host Peaches Christ and conductor Edwin Outwater.
When? Throughout December 2023Book tickets for The Royal Albert Hall
Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands
Beloved by audiences since its world premiere in 2005, Matthew Bourne and his New Adventures Company make a return to this surreal, bittersweet story of an incomplete boy coming to terms with life in a strange new world.
Based on the classic Tim Burton movie and featuring the hauntingly beautiful music of Danny Elfman and Terry Davies, we meet Edward; a boy created by an eccentric inventor who suddenly dies. Edward is left alone and unfinished in his hilltop gothic castle with only scissors for hands, until a kindly townswoman invites him to live with her family in a pastel-coloured suburbia. Can Edward find his place in the curious community that struggles to see past his strange appearance to the innocence and gentleness within?
Back after a nine-year absence, Edward Scissorhands will venture out on a national tour of the UK, beginning this November and ending in April 2024.
When? Nationwide from 20 November 2023Catch an unforgettable Christmas ballet
The Great Christmas Feast
Secret location, London
Get dressed up in your finest Victorian threads and make your way to a secret location for a night of bewitching entertainment. The Great Christmas Feast transforms a festive Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, into an indulgent night out. As soon as you step through the door, you’ll be transported to Christmas Eve 1843, where you’ll get to enjoy a ravishing one-man performance accompanied by live music, cocktails and a delicious Victorian-inspired feast.
When? 14 November 2023 to 14 January 2024Tuck into a festive feast
Eight-Freestyle and Contact present: Cinderella
Back after last Christmas’ Robin Hood: 80’s Panto, Eight-Freestyle returns to Manchester’s Contact Theatre for its own irrepressible spin on another panto classic, Cinderella – this time with the cast of Contact’s Young Company.
Now with “added girl power”, this is your invitation to jump aboard a giant pumpkin carriage for the ball to end all balls. Not forgetting of course, following the adventure of one cinder-covered heroine and her nasty, fashion-challenged stepsisters. Meet Buttons the comedic footman and swoon at Prince Charming as he attempts to find love on the dancefloor – all set against an upbeat modern set of tunes by DJ Dandini.
When? 9 to 31 December 2023Have yourself the ultimate Christmas party
The Elf Express
Brighton, East Sussex
Embark on a magical journey to help save Christmas. When Santa falls ill before delivering presents to the families of Brighton and Hove, his trusty elves come to the rescue to make sure families don’t miss out – but they need your help to face their biggest challenge yet. With Mrs Claus, Holly, Gimble and the elves by your side, what shenanigans will you get up to aboard The Elf Express?
The Elf Express is aimed at kids aged 14 and under and will be staged at the Ironworks Studios as part of the Brighton Christmas Festival.
When? Dates to be confirmed for 2023/24Have yours-elf a Merry Christmas
Horrible Histories: Horrible Christmas
Kids and big kids may learn a thing or two on this hair-raising adventure through the history of Christmas. Joined by Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII and St Nicholas (or Father Christmas to you and me), this eye-opening show will take you through the twists and turns of some down-right gory (and hilarious history), from Victorian villains and Medieval monks to Puritan parties and Tudor treats. Events take place across the country, from Brighton to Birmingham.
When? Various dates throughout December 2023
Krater Christmas Special at Komedia Bath
Prepare for a night of belly laughing at Komedia’s festive comedy extravaganza. This annual event brings together an all-star comedy line-up of comics from across the UK and beyond for an evening of festive frivolity and unbeatable fun. You can even tag on a three-course meal to your show, and follow it all up by dancing to cheesy floor-fillers at the after party.
When? 1 to 16 December 2023Gather your friends for Christmas comedy