Festive local theatre to watch and stream
Fancy a festive family show? Enter stage left, my roundup of the best virtual and in-person productions this month, all from brilliant local arts venues.
IN-PERSON: Sleeping Beauty, MK Theatre, 19 Dec – 10 Jan
Fancy a panto? Oh yes you do! Thanks to funding from the National Lottery, a socially distanced Sleeping Beauty is running from 19 December to 10 January. Starring Any Dream Will Do’s Lee Mead, Brookside’s Claire Sweeney and S Club’s Suzanne Shaw, the first night’s tickets will be gifted to NHS staff as a big thank you for a year of dedication and unenviable slog. After that, the rest of us can book here.
VIRTUAL: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Creation Theatre, 19 Dec – 3 Jan
The Christmas panto may be a write-off this year, but this clever alternative from the geniuses at Creation is the next best thing (‘oh no it isn’t!’ etc etc). Live matinee and evening performances of the classic show will take place online from 19 Dec, including Christmas Eve, with an interactive audience – so if you dial in at the same time as Aunty Brenda, you’ll be able to spot her on screen. Tickets cost £30 per device.
IN-PERSON: A Christmas Carol, Chipping Norton Theatre, 3 – 24 Dec
After the sad news that Chippy’s excellent panto will not be going ahead this year, we’re pleased to hear that the show will go on in some form at The Theatre – and starring Olivier award-winning David Bradley (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones), no less! Based on Charles Dickens’ own one man readings of the story this moving stage version of the classic Christmas tale is sure to be a festive treat for ages 7 and over.
VIRTUAL: Father Christmas, Oxford Playhouse, 9 – 24 Dec
The little people will be pleased to know that they can still have their time with Santa this year – this festive show, from the brains behind The Snowman, will be streaming throughout December for ages six and under.
IN-PERSON: There Is Nothing Like A Dame, Chipping Norton Theatre, 18 – 19 Dec
Saddle up, Chippy! London cabaret messiah and three time Chippy pantomime dame Andrew Pepper will be delivering your panto fix this year with three solo shows – expect show-stopping tunes and, of course, a large helping of bawdy humour.
IN-PERSON: Little Gift, The North Wall, Oxford, 19 – 23 Dec
For kids aged 3 – 8, expect a playful mix of puppetry, original music and song in this seasonal tale about friendship from award-winning M6 Theatre and Andy Manley. Book seats for a little bubble (two people) 0r a big bubble (four people) to watch the show .
VIRTUAL: Sammy and the Beanstalk, Oxford Playhouse, 19 Dec – 3 Jan
Looking for something a little different from your usual panto? From Olivier award-winning OperaUpclose, this contemporary Christmas story takes inspiration from classic winter tales, both cosy and gothic, as well as opera, theatre and film to tell the tale of eight year old Sammy and her father. The show sensitively explores themes of isolation and mental health, suitable for ages 7+ and their families.