The Nutcracker, English National Ballet, The Coliseum
15 December – 8 January (family performance 7 January 2.30pm)
The Nutcracker is, for me, the ultimate Christmas show. I used to perform in the English National Ballet’s production at The Coliseum every winter, with a very small but special role singing in the snowflake chorus. So when I can I try to see the show, and this year I’m excited to be seeing it for the first time with my older son. Theatre designed for kids is great, but there is something extra special about seeing children enthralled by classic culture that they can continue to enjoy for years to come, and I hope an annual trip to see The Nutcracker will become a festive staple for my family. With the familiar twinkling music by Tchaikovsky, choreography by Wayne Eagling and design by Peter Farmer it is a stellar production that should not be missed. Children 5+ can see any show but book for 7 January for younger kids.
The Snowman, Peacock Theatre
19 November – 31 December (all ages)
A magical show that is just as captivating for the adults as the children. The Peacock Theatre is once again hosting this classic much-loved picture book by Raymond Briggs, with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre bringing it to life on stage. The audience will be transported to a joyful winter wonderland where a young boy meets a snowman who comes to life. Children of all ages will love the spectacle of this show which features a live orchestra, spectacular design by Ruari Murchison, magical lighting by Tim Mitchell, and amazing choreography by Robert North.
Jack and the Beanstalk, The Lyric Theatre
19 November – 7 January (ages 6+)
The Lyric Theatre are bringing this familiar tale of Jack and his magical beanstalk to life with a colourful and exciting pantomime just in time for the festive season. Expect to see outrageous outfits, great music and audience participation in this brilliant festive show. Written by Jude Christian & Sonia Jalaly and directed by Nicholai La Barrie.
Elf the Musical, Dominion Theatre
14 November – 7 January (ages 5+)
This staple Christmas film is on stage for a limited run of only 8 weeks at the Dominion Theatre in central London. I recommend having a festive day out in London seeing all the decorations before settling down for the ultimate Christmas show, Elf. The brilliant tale of Buddy, the unlikely elf, as he makes the journey from his home in the North Pole to New York in search of his real father, causing lots of mischief and mayhem while also spreading some much needed Christmas cheer to Manhattan.
Crackers: a Festive Family Farce, Polka Theatre
19 November – 15 January (all ages)
The recently refurbished Polka Theatre is one of best places in London to see family-focussed theatre. They have a whole programme of holiday shows, but Crackers is perhaps the most Christmassy. Written by award-winning playwright Charles Way, this story documents the trials and tribulations of the Crackers family as they get ready for Christmas Day, with a lot of fun and silliness along the way.
Stickman, Leicester Square Theatre
22 October – 2 January (all ages)
A charming adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stickman story. Following the adventures of Stickman as he meets animals, gets set on fire and then tries to find his way back to the family tree. This award-winning production is from the team behind Zog, Zog and the Flying Doctors, Tiddler and other Terrific Tales, and Tabby McTat. The show features a trio of top actors and is packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves.