Christmas is a time for traditions and one of ours is a trip to see a Christmas show or two. In Manchester we have lots of great theatres within easy reach of our home and they always offer an exciting selection of Christmas productions. There’s something for everyone. Love panto? Go and see Cinderella. Got little ones? Go and see The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin at Waterside Arts. Below are 10 family Christmas shows you can see in and around Manchester this Christmas…
The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin, Waterside Arts, Sale, 30th November – 31st December
This is the story of an extraordinary explorer, a curious conjurer and pioneering problem-solver. You’ll find him pottering in his shed; planning his latest mission. He is learning to speak Penguin and hopes that you will too!
When he arrives at the Antarctic will its icy wilderness meet his excited expectations? Will the penguins’ reception be frosty, or will the colony welcome him with open wings?!
With a playful energy and a mix of puppetry, music and song, this show will be a delightful celebration of wild creativity and the joy of individuality. Read our review here.
A Christmas Carol, Waterside Arts, Sale, 2nd December
Olivier Award winner, Guy Masterson, veteran of many smash hit solo works such as Under Milk Wood, Animal Farm and Shylock, now presents Dickens’ classic festive fable. Famed for bringing multiple characters to vivid life, Masterson gives us Scrooge, Marley, the Fezziwigs, the Cratchits, Tiny Tim et al in an riveting, performance that will dazzle, enchant, and linger long in the memory. Guaranteed to get you into the Christmas Spirit – in many more ways than one!
Room on the Broom, The Lowry Theatre, 7th December – 8th January
Jump on board the broom with the witch and her cat in Tall Stories’ fun-filled adaptation of Room on the Broom, the best-selling picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
The witch and her cat are travelling on their broomstick when they pick up some hitch-hikers – a friendly dog, a beautiful green bird and a frantic frog. But this broomstick’s not meant for five and – CRACK – it snaps in two… just as the hungry dragon appears! Read our review here.
Cinderella, Stockport Plaza, 8th December 2022 – 8th January
Well pop on your sparkling glass slippers, jump into your coach and dash along to the Stockport Plaza to find out in the North Wests Premier Family Pantomime – Cinderella!
You’re invited to the Stockport Plaza Pantomime and they guarantee you’ll have a ball! Tickets for the North Wests premier family Pantomime Cinderella are on sale now!….
Comedysportz Improvised (adults only) Panto, Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, 9th & 10th December
Heroes, villains, songs and silliness are guaranteed as the gang improvise a brand new pantomime using only your suggestions and a sprinkling of fairy dust. With plenty of quick-witted gags and games, this loving pastiche of panto characters and tropes will be jam-packed with laughs and unexpected delights – oh yes it will! You don’t want to miss this alternative festive treat that the whole family can enjoy.
Every show is different as players craft loving pastiche of panto tropes and characters from audience suggestions and a sprinkling of fairy dust. The performers don’t know their roles beforehand and might even get you involved in the action! This alternative pantomime is totally unscripted and completely unmissable – book your tickets for one of these family Christmas shows now!
The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan, Opera House Manchester, 10th – 31st December
Comedy superstar Jason Manford will lead the cast in The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan in the role of Captain Hook, joined by returning Manchester panto favourite and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ben Nickless as Smee and musical theatre stars Jessica Croll as Wendy, Samara Casteallo as Tinkerbell and Ross Carpenter as Peter Pan.
The Adventures of Robin Hood – The 80’s Panto!, Contact Theatre, 10th – 31st December
The Contact Theatre in Manchester present a panto 80’s remix of Robin Hood. It’s a fresh twist on the traditional, packed with an upbeat, sing-along, 80’s panto playlist! eight-freestyle‘s Robin Hood is a story of courage, friendship and bad puns. There’ll be plenty of laughs along the way as Robin joins forces with Maid Marion to thwart the Sheriff of Nottingham’s evil plans to kidnap the young Babes. This is a show that has it all: adventure, action, laughs, music, magic and men with mullets!
Jack and the Beanstalk, Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, 13th – 22nd January
The town of LeVache has a really BIG problem – a giant lives above them. What’s more, it’s the spring festival and there’s only one cook – the Widow Trot – with the assets to make all the buns sticky.
Find out if her son Jack finally proves himself? Will the independent Jill lead the way? Will Bogey and Flickit stop picking their noses? Or will everything be ruined by Fleshcreep, the slimiest villain of all? If only they had a beloved cow who can dance and save the day…
Claus – The Musical, The Lowry Theatre, 14th December – 8th January
From the writer of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comes the world premiere of Claus The Musical. Based on the beloved children’s book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum, this brand-new musical is as magical as Christmas itself.
With spellbinding songs from Andy Collyer, heart-warming storytelling, enchanting sets, and a whole load of festive fun, discover the story of Claus and how he became a man forever in our hearts, and on Christmas Eve, forever in our skies.
Abandoned as a baby in the magical Forest of Burzee, he is gifted to Necile, a wood nymph, who showers him with love and names him Claus. With a helping hand from the mystical inhabitants of the forest – Fairies, Knooks and Ryls – she teaches him that kindness is the most important lesson of all, a gift that Claus eventually shares with us, as he embarks on a journey to bring the miracle of Christmas to the whole world.
Little Penguin’s First Christmas, The Lowry Theatre, 22nd December – 31st December
From the company that brought you the sell-out productions of Snowbabies! and Aleena’s Garden, Little Penguin’s First Christmas is an immersive, festive experience for babies aged 0-36 months and their grown-ups!
Filled with puppetry, original music and sensory delights to stimulate and captivate, this show is a perfect first theatrical experience for your little one.
Join Little Penguin in her winter wonderland as she discovers the magic of her first Christmas.
If you found this list of family Christmas shows useful, you might also like to read my list of 11 Places to hear Christmas music in Manchester this year.