There is always a great show to see in and around Manchester, no matter what time of year it is. In the run up to Christmas though we are really spoiled for choice! Here’s a round up of shows I’ve got noted down, and I will add to the list as I find more.
Manchester Opera House: The Snowman
One of the most iconic films at Christmas time, The Snowman is on stage at Manchester Opera House from 8th – 12th November. Perfect for getting into the Christmas Spirit, this is a show that’ll warm even the snowiest of hearts!
The Birmingham Repertory Theatre Production of The Snowman
The stage show based upon the book by Raymond Briggs and the film directed by Dianne Jackson and produced by John Coates. Music and Lyrics by Howard Blake
When a young boy’s snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve, the two set off on a night-time quest for adventure. They meet Father Christmas, dancing penguins, reindeer and crowds of The Snowman’s friends, but will they escape evil Jack Frost and get back home for Christmas morning?
Based on Raymond Brigg’s much-loved book and featuring Howard Blake’s classic song Walking In The Air, this enchanting live show has thrilled audiences throughout the world since first appearing on stage over twenty years ago. Be a part of the magic.
Manchester Opera House: Dick Whittington
A firm favourite during panto season, Dick Whittington is the show of choice at Manchester Opera House in 2017.
This year the Manchester Opera House will journey to London this festive season in the magical pantomime adventure Dick Whittington. John Barrowman and The Krankies will lead the cast in the magical production which runs from Saturday 9 December – Sunday 7 January.
John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Arrow) stars in the title role of the hero Dick Whittington. The hugely popular showman has enjoyed an acclaimed and hugely varied career including music, presenting and writing with performances on television and film, in the West End and on Broadway.
Joining John are the legendary double act The Krankies playing Councillor and Jimmy Krankie. Having entertained audiences with their slapstick for over 50 years, Dick Whittington will mark the couple’s seventh pantomime season playing alongside John Barrowman.
Produced by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s biggest pantomime producer, join our hero Dick Whittington (and his faithful feline pal) as he seeks fame, fortune and happiness to become Lord Mayor of London. Guided by the magical Fairy Bow Bells on an adventure that sends him from London town to the High Seas headed for Morocco. Don’t miss the action-packed pantomime full of laughter, music and dance!
For details of all shows at Manchester Opera House, visit their website.
The Palace Theatre, Manchester: Nativity! The Musical
This is going to be a hilarious show! Based on the side-splitting film, the stage adaptation is set to be pure brilliance.
Your favourite festive film is now a major new musical adapted for the stage by Debbie Isitt, the creator of the much-loved films.
Every child in every school has one Christmas wish, to star in a Nativity, and at St Bernadette’s School they’re attempting to mount a musical version! Only trouble is teacher Mr Maddens has promised that a Hollywood producer is coming to see the show to turn it into a film. Join him, his teaching assistant the crazy Mr Poppy, hilarious children and a whole lot of sparkle and shine as they struggle to make everyone’s Christmas wish come true.
Feel –good, funny and full of yuletide joy, Nativity! The Musical features all of the favourite sing-a-long hits from the films including Sparkle and Shine, Nazareth, One Night One Moment, She’s the Brightest Star and a whole host of new songs filled with the spirit of Christmas!
With the cast including West End favourites Daniel Boys (Avenue Q), Sarah Earnshaw (Wicked, Spamalot) and Simon Lipkin(Rock of Ages, Guys and Dolls), Nativity! The Musical is the perfect feel-good comedy for all the family.
So join us this Christmas for some MAYHEM in Bethlehem!
For more details and to book, visit The Palace Theatre website.
Z-Arts Theatre, Manchester: Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf
Would panto season be complete without Little Red?
A small figure sets off, with red cloak and hood
to grandmas they go, the other side of the woods
Do not stop to smell the flowers, or sing to the birds
or climb a tall tree, remember these words…
Do not leave the path, for you’d make a tasty treat!
For the hungriest wolf of all, who is ready to eat!
Join us this Christmas for a bold and highly theatrical re-telling of the well-known classic tale packed with music, dance and song.
The production explores the thrill of adventure and unknown versus the safety and familiarity of the path and how irresistible straying can be, as well as the tension between mankind and nature. Are the wolves really the villains in a world where the woodcutter is destroying the forest? And is Grandma the trophy hunter really sick?
For more information and to book, check the Z-Arts website.
Contact Theatre, Manchester: The Siege of Christmas
This theatre run entirely by young people is showing an alternative to panto this year with their performance of The Siege of Christmas, brought to the stage by Contact and Slung Low.
The Spirit of Christmas has been taken, and is hidden deep within Contact’s castle. Are you brave enough to find out what’s happened and set The Spirit free in time for the holidays?
Starting outside the main doors of Contact, and taking you to places that audiences never usually see, The Siege of Christmas is an immersive theatrical adventure for young audiences and the taller people that look after them.
Fun for all the family. Suitable for children aged 5 and over.
To find out more and to book, visit the Contact website.
The Lowry, Salford: Elf – The Musical
I was so excited to see that Elf – The Musical was coming to The Lowry this Christmas! Elf is one of my favourite Christmas films and I imagine it will be utterly perfect on stage. Some of my fellow bloggers attended the launch of the show back in September and I’m pretty sure the Christmas spirit kicked in for me when I saw her photos! Take a look at Hodge Podge Days’ coverage of the launch party!
Based on the beloved 2003 New Line Cinema hit starring Will Ferrell, ELF is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole.
If you go to watch this performance and you aren’t brimming with festive excitement when you leave, there must be something very Grinch-like about you!
Waterside Arts Centre: The Bear
Ever wondered what it would be like to sit on a polar bear’s lap? Or ride on its back? Have you ever tried to give a bear a bath? Or clear up its poo?! Looking after a bear is exhausting stuff.
One night when she’s fast asleep, an enormous snowy white bear climbs into Tilly’s bedroom. It has a big black tongue and a yawn as big as your head. But Tilly’s not scared.
With dazzling puppetry, delicious music, dreamy storytelling, and dozens of laughs, The Bear is an unforgettable experience for the whole family and a perfect introduction to theatre. So come join Tilly and her great big white friend on a wild and magical adventure.
This heart-warming and humorous wintry tale is brought to you by Pins and Needles – the team behind the hugely successful Father Christmas – who are delighted to be bringing to life another of Raymond Briggs’ much-loved storybooks.
To book, visit TheBearLive.Com
Waterside Arts Centre: A Christmas Carol
On Christmas Eve, the most magical night of the year, the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is whisked away on a terrifying journey through the past and into the future, accompanied by three fearsome ghosts determined to make him realize the true meaning of Christmas.
Charles Dickens’ classic ghost story is brought alive in this most traditional of productions, complete with beautiful period costume, song, dance and a magnificent musical score. Join critically acclaimed theatre company Chapterhouse as Scrooge’s frozen heart begins to melt and he finally embraces the festive spirit in this most Christmassy of Christmas tales.
For more information on what’s on at Waterside Arts Centre, pop over to their website.
So that’s my Manchester Christmas Theatre roundup. Tomorrow I’ll be covering various parts of Lancashire including Perston, Bolton and Oldham.
Do you know of a Christmas show that should be included on my lists? Drop me a line and let me know via my ‘About Me’ page.