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Christmas shows in Liverpool City Region this season

Festive fun is springing up all over the Liverpool City Region this winter with venues preparing to stage seasonal treats for all the family.

Christmas isn’t Christmas without panto – oh no it’s not! And there’s also no real seasonal spirit without a chance to hear favourite stories and sing some favourite carols.

Happily, there are plenty of both to enjoy in programmes being planned for 2023.

From glass slippers to giant beanstalks and magic wands to magic carpets, from beasts to boys who never grew up, and from charming tales of the riverbank to charming princes, all fairytale life is there.

Throw in the spine-chilling spookiness of The Woman in Black and the spine-tingling sounds of the true Spirit of Christmas – plus a real Dickens on stage – and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Here’s what you can catch where across the region.

The Scouse Dick Whittington – Royal Court

November 10-January 27, 2024

Why become Mayor of London when you can be Mayor of Liverpool instead? That’s what Dick decides after he’s visited by a scary fairy in his dreams, urging him to head for the capital.

As he gets closer to town, he runs into a bunch of proper rats who want to stop him. Ably supported by his cat, Galore, he needs to overcome King Rat to get his hands on that big gold chain.

The show is written by Royal Court executive producer Kevin Fearon and this year it’s directed by Mark Chatterton who helmed the Everyman Rock ‘n’ Roll panto for many years.

The cast includes Royal Court favourites like Lindzi Germain, Drew Schofield, Hayley Sheen and Liam Tobin.

And the show has proved so popular with audiences it's now been extended by a further week.

Read a review of The Scouse Dick Whittington.


Cinderella – Liverpool Everyman

November 17-January 20 2024

This year’s Everyman Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto is going to the ball. But 2023 audiences will definitely be home before midnight.

The Hope Street theatre is promising “sass, silliness and sparkle” as actor-musicians including panto favourite Adam Keast (celebrating his 21st Everyman Christmas show), Aminita Francis, Rebecca Levy and Ben Welch tell the greatest fairytale of them all in surprising style and with a pulsing pop and rock soundtrack.

The panto is being written by Liverpool playwright Luke Barnes and directed by James Baker.

Read an interview with actor Adam Keast.

Read a review of the panto.


The Wind in the Willows – Shakespeare North Playhouse

November 24-January 11 2024

Following last winter’s fast, furious and funny A Christmas Carol, Shakespeare North Playhouse heads for the riverbank this festive season.

Join Ratty, Mole, Badger and the irrepressible Toad in their adventures accompanied by live music played by the actor-musician cast.

When Mole forfeits his seasonal cleaning for the lure of the luscious riverbank, he has no idea of the thrilling (and slightly chaotic) journey he and his friends are about to embark on.

The show is adapted by Toby Hulse and directed by Julia Samuels.


Peter Pan – M&S Bank Arena

December 2-3

Eighties pop icon Boy George plays the dastardly Captain Hook in this big budget extravaganza version of JM Barrie’s classic, coming to the arena as part of a wider tour.

He heads a cast of 50 which includes circus performers, Irish and Highland dancers, aerial stunts – and a death-defying escape from a locked water tank by Jordan Conway who is playing the title role.

Two LED screens will make sure no one misses a minute of the action.


Aladdin – St Helens Theatre Royal

December 2-January 14, 2024

Make a wish and join the magic carpet ride as Aladdin flies in to St Helens Theatre Royal this Christmas.

You’ll be on the edge of your seat as the story’s titular young hero battles the wicked Abanazer who has a dastardly plan to rule the world with the help of one very special lamp.

Can Aladdin save the day - and can he also win the heart of the fair Princess Jasmine?

Emmerdale star Liam Fox makes his panto debut as Abanazer and panto favourite Leanne Power plays the Genie of the Mirror. The cast also includes Alex Aram as Aladdin, Jess Smith as Princess Jasmine, Lewis Devine as Wishee Washee, Warren Donnelly as PC Shameless and Richard Aucott as Widow Twankey.

Read an interview with Leanne Campbell.


The Woman in Black – Liverpool Playhouse

December 5-30

Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black is set to guarantee a spectacularly spooky and spine-chilling Christmas at the Playhouse this year.

The critically-acclaimed production comes to Williamson Square straight from the West End and promises plenty of atmosphere, illusion and horror.

Arthur Kipps, obsessed with a curse he believes has been cast over him and his family by the spectre of a ‘woman in black’, engages a sceptical young actor to help him tell his terrifying story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul.

Read a review of The Woman in Black.


Jack and the Beanstalk – The Atkinson, Southport

December 7-31

Join Jack Trott at the Atkinson this December as he embarks on an extraordinary journey up the beanstalk to an enchanted land above the clouds.

Will Jack outwit the ferocious Giant Blunderbore and save the village from his wicked ways? His mum Dame Trott, brother Silly Billy and the family cow Daisy certainly hope so. With the hand of the girl he loves at stake, Jack needs your help on his gigantic adventure.

The larger-than-life panto is packed with toe-tapping songs, dazzling costumes and stunning sets.


Sleeping Beauty - The Brindley, Runcorn

December 7-January 7, 2024

New Pantomime Productions brings festive fun to the Brindley this Christmas with the magical tale of Sleeping Beauty.

Expect spectacular scenery, dazzling costumes, marvellous music and lots of fun as the Runcorn venue tells the tale of the princess doomed to sleep for 100 years behind a thick briar wall until she is awoken by a handsome prince.

The production stars Scarlett from RuPaul’s Drag Race alongside Brindley favourites Rebecca Lake, Andrew Curphey and Charlotte Dacia.


Beauty and the Beast – Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight

December 8-31

Step into an enchanted world at the Gladstone Theatre at Port Sunlight where there’s a happily ever after guaranteed.

Dreamworld Entertainments brings the story of Beauty and the Beast to the Wirral venue, returning after a record-breaking Snow White in 2022.

Will Beauty be able to see past the Beast’s hideous façade to the lonely man within? And will the Beast be redeemed or live that way forever?


Jack and the Beanstalk - Floral Pavilion

December 9-January 7, 2024

Jack, his mother Dame Trot and his brother Simon live on a farm in Merrydale but they trio haven’t got a bean between them.

Until that is the titular hero of this popular panto swaps the family’s cow for a whole bag of them and embarks of a giant adventure.

Emmerdale’s Hayley Tamadden plays the Vegetable Fairy and Floral Pavilion (and Blood Brothers) favourite Sean Jones is Simon in this seasonal smasher from the theatre and Martin Dodd for UK Productions Ltd.

Read a review of Jack and the Beanstalk.


The Wizard of Oz – Liverpool Empire

December 13-January 7, 2024

Follow the yellow brick road (or if not, the new Lime Street cycle lane) to the Empire this December for a trip to the merry old land of Oz.

Aston Merrigold is the Tin Man and the Vivienne will play the Wicked Witch of the West in the production which comes to the Empire from a successful run in the West End.

The show features the iconic score from the original 1939 film including the songs There’s No Place Like Home, We’re Off to See the Wizard and Over the Rainbow, and with additional numbers by none other than Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Read a review of the show.


Sleeping Beauty – Auditorium at M&S Bank Arena

December 16-30

Reality star and model Katie Price brings her magic wand to the Auditorium this Christmas to play the wicked fairy Carabosse in this staging of Sleeping Beauty.

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful princess is cursed by the evil Carabosse and doomed to die on her 21st birthday when she pricks her finger on a spinning wheel.

But after the good Fairy intervenes, death becomes a deep slumber which can only be awoken by Sleeping Beauty’s one true love.

The cast also includes Bippo, returning as the Castle Clown, Britain’s Got Talent finalist Lucy Kay as the Fairy and Andrew Brennan as Queen Fifi of Fazakerley.


Dick Whittington – Hope Street Theatre

December 14-January 4, 2024

There’s the purrfect panto planned at the Hope Street Theatre this year with Dick Whittington striding into the venue for a two-week run.

Just Entertainment returns to the theatre after last year’s popular Christmas show, and with an all-Merseyside cast for a second year.

They include Lesley Butler as the Evil Queen Rat, Phil Perez as Captain Fitzwarren, John Garfield-Roberts as Sarah the Cook and Michael Irvine-Hall in the title role.


A Christmas Carol – St George’s Hall

December 15-16

It wouldn’t be Christmas in Liverpool without a visit to St George’s Hall by Dickens - Gerald Dickens that is, great, great grandson of the legendary Victorian writer.

The actor and storyteller will appear on stage in the Concert Room, as his ancestor did before him to deliver his own ‘penny readings’ and will bring the characters in Dickens’ beloved 180-year-old festive novella A Christmas Carol vividly to life.


Spirit of Christmas – Philharmonic Hall

December 16, 19, 21-22

If it wouldn’t be Christmas without Dickens, equally it wouldn’t be the season to be jolly without a trip to the Philharmonic Hall.

O Come, All Ye Faithful and join the RLPO, Choir and Youth Choirs for an evening of atmospheric music making, with carols both new and old, and plenty of chance for some lusty audience singing.

Talented Liverpool mezzo soprano Kathryn Rudge is this year’s special guest, while Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason returns to act as presenter.


Santa and the Snowman – Philharmonic Hall

December 16-17

Ding dong merrily as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic puts on a seasonal spectacular for small music lovers at Hope Street.

Michael Seal conducts the orchestra, and the hugely popular Alasdair Molloy is on presenting duty for four daytime concerts over two days.

And if you didn’t think the film of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman could get any more enchanting, it will be accompanied by an extra selection box of musical treats.

The family concerts are suitable for young people aged four to 10 and their adults.


And slightly further afield…

Little Red - Theatre Porto, Ellesmere Port

December 8-January 13, 2024

Theatre Porto brings its festive favourite Little Red back for Christmas 2023, with a playful twist on a familiar tale for young audiences aged four and up.

As the show’s feisty heroine makes a path for her grandmother’s door she meets talking sheep, dancing trees – and a jazz-singing, banjo paying Mr Wolfie.

Can she resist his charms and get safely to her destination? And is Mr Wolfie really the baddie of the story?


Cinderella – Chester Storyhouse

December 1-January 6, 2023

The most famous and fabulous fairytale of them all comes to the Storyhouse stage this Christmas in a magical version by playwright Samantha O’Rourke.

Packed with pop favourites and magical moments, the family-friendly festive show is promising to send audiences away with a spring in their step and a seasonal smile on their face.

Will Cinders get to the ball? Will the glass slipper fit? And will there be a happily ever after? Come along and find out.


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