Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! 2021
Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! 2021

Christmas Theatre and Concerts

Creative Tourist

With the big day fast approaching, theatres and concert halls across the North are pulling out all the festive stops.

This year the theatre stocking is well and truly stuffed with family classics, including The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Beauty & The Beast, and a brand-new musical revamp of Cinderella, told from the perspective of The Not So Ugly Sisters. Also on the musicals front, don’t miss a joyous rework of L Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, reflecting contemporary African-American culture. And for younger kids, a perennial festive favourite returns to The Lowry; will Stick Man ever make it home to his family tree in time for Christmas? This guide also brings you our picks of more alternative performance. The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart is a wild and riotous Christmas production from The Royal Exchange, bringing something a little devilish to the yuletide celebrations.

As for Christmas concerts, this year is packed with tinsel-clad choirs, big band spectaculars and seasonal classical music. Making up for last year’s snowed-in celebrations, The Stoller Hall’s biggest ever festive season may have just come to an end, but there’s still time to catch some festive frolics from The Hallé. The orchestra’s programme of family events includes a Harry Potter-themed concert and a performance of Howard Blake’s The Snowman score, while the movie plays on the big screen.

Read about all this and more below, and don’t sleep on tickets – they’re going fast!

Here are our picks

  • 1. The Lanterns at Chester Zoo

    Chester Zoo

    The Lanterns at Chester Zoo, Chester, 11 November–23 December 2022, from £5 - Book now

    A feast for the imagination combining theatre, art and adventure, The Lanterns offers an after-hours tour of Chester Zoo, featuring life-sized animal illuminations and, who knows, maybe even Father Christmas himself.