Panto, ballet and more in London
Our theatre specialists have put together their pick of the best shows to help you plan your festive season – with many selling out far in advance, early booking is recommended.
Contact us to book tickets to any of these productions or for suggestions near you.
Royal Opera House
23 November – 12 January
14 December – 7 January
Always a favourite among our lifestyle managers and members alike, there’s something about this magical ballet that keeps people coming back year after year. It’s Christmas Eve and Clara is swept away with her Nutcracker to do battle with the Mouse King before a handsome prince leads her to the Land of Sweets to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy.
23 November – 1 January
The unforgettable story of the boy whose snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve is brought to life by incredible set design and energetic dance performances. Based on the book by Raymond Briggs, this show has music and lyrics composed by Howard Blake, with the score performed by a live band.
Santa and the Polka Dot Pirate
New Wimbledon Studio Theatre
This new show, from the creators of Santa’s Dizzy Day and Santa’s Rusty Robot, tells the story of a pirate who has got a little bit lost and ended up at the North Pole. Ideal for children aged two to six years, the audience is encouraged to join in and sing along, and at the end of the performance little ones can meet Santa and receive a gift.
Death Takes a Holiday
Charing Cross Theatre
3 December – 21 January
Tony Award winners Maury Yeston, Thomas Meehan and Peter Stone present the UK premiere of their sophomore production, following Titanic which received glowing reviews this summer. The inspiration for the film Meet Joe Black, and perfectly timed for the festive season, the story highlights how precious life is and that sometimes love can even overcome death.
The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
24 November – 22 January
In the cosy and atmospheric confines of this theatre within the Globe complex, this selection of tales inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s will bring magic and mystery to winter nights. As the temperature drops, audience members are invited to join the Matchgirl as she fights to stay warm on Christmas Eve and experiences a new story with every match she strikes.
All the Angels
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
6 December – 12 February
Composed in 1741, Handel’s Messiah remains one of his best-loved pieces; with part one often being performed during Advent concerts and services. Shakespeare’s Globe is bringing Nick Drake’s fictional musical play to the stage, exploring what might have happened had the score had its premiere in a Chester pub. Will the masterpiece ever get the performance it deserves?
16 November – 28 January
Escape to Neverland this winter and fall under the spell of JM Barrie’s beloved story about the boy who wouldn’t grow up. Following a sell-out run at the Bristol Old Vic, director Sally Cookson brings her enormously popular production to the capital just in time to add some extra magic to the festive period.
10 December – 15 January
We think this is set to be 2016’s biggest Christmas success and can’t wait to see what the all-star cast bring to such a classic story. Natasha J Barnes (Funny Girl) as Cinderella will be joined by Paul O’Grady, Julian Clary, Amanda Holden, Lee Mead, Nigel Havers and a host of other famous faces as the Palladium plays host to its first panto in nearly three decades.
Wilton’s Music Hall
Hackney Empire enjoyed a hugely successful festive season with this show in 2014, so it’s great to see it return. This year it will be played out at this beautiful 19th-century music hall in East London, as the cast take on an adaptation by Roy Hudd. Full of nursery rhyme characters, catchy tunes and plenty of jokes, this is sure to be a huge hit.
Condemned to a life of hardship under the rule of her wicked stepmother, Snow White is determined to have her happily ever after and her friends, the Seven Dwarfs and jester, Muddles are on hand to help. Featuring songs such as Heigh-Ho Heigh-Ho and Whistle While You Work, there will be plenty of opportunities to sing along and join in the fun.
Pictured: Mother Goose