Lots of pantos to see - oh no there’s not, oh yes there is!
IF YOU FANCY A TRADITIONAL PANTOMIME, MUSICAL SHOW OR MODERN THEATRE, CHECK OUT OUR LIST...
NOTHING quite gets you in the festive spirit like a Christmas pantomime or show - and there are plenty on offer in Manchester this year.
With a host of family favourites including Cinderella, Snow White and Aladdin there’s something for everyone.
With the festive season almost upon us, tickets are already selling fast for many of these shows, so don’t hang around if you want to be sure of getting some good seats. Here’s what’s on across the region...
CINDERELLA, MANCHESTER OPERA HOUSE
SINGER and theatre star Gareth Gates is joining Coronation Street’s Connor McIntyre and Les Dennis in Manchester’s biggest pantomime this year.
The Pop Idol runner-up will star as Prince Charming in Cinderella while Connor and Les will be the Ugly Sisters .
The cast includes other characters, comedian Ben Nickless as Buttons, CBBC’s Shannon Flynn as Cinderella and soul singer Hayley-Ria Christian as the Fairy Godmother. With most of them hailing from the north west, producers Qdos Entertainment say this year’s show will have a distinctly Manchester feel.
It’s running from Saturday, December 8 to Saturday, December 30. Tickets, costing from £12, can be booked online .
DOCTOR DOLITTLE, THE LOWRY, SALFORD
‘STUNNING visual puppetry’ is promised in this year’s Christmas production at The Lowry.
Doctor Dolittle will star Mark Williams as the eccentric Doctor, while former Coronation Stars Brian Capron (Richard Hillman) and Vicky Entwistle (Janice Battersby) will play Albert Blossom/Straight Arrow and Polynesia the parrot.
The new production, with the book reworked by Leslie Bricusse, will be part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the original film starring Rex Harrison and will feature the same songs, including the Academy Award-winning Talk To The Animals.
Williams is known for his roles in The Fast Show, Father Brown, 101 Dalmatians, The Borrowers, Shakespeare In Love and seven of the Harry Potter films.
The show is running from December 11 to January 5. Tickets, from £19.50, can be booked online .
SNOW WHITE, THE ALBERT HALLS, BOLTON
THE tale of Snow White is a pantomime classic and it’s coming to The Albert Halls.
Michael Starke, star of Brookside and Benidorm, will be performing alongside former X Factor contestants David Heath and Sam Callahan.
Singer Charlotte Dacia will take the lead role of Snow White and, of course, it wouldn’t be the same without those trusty dwarfs Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey.
It’s on from December 1 to 30. Tickets, from £14, can be booked online.
SLEEPING BEAUTY, THE PLAZA, STOCKPORT
THE Plaza always puts on a good show at Christmas and this year’s production promises to be one of the best yet.
Comedian Ted Robbins and Emmerdale’s Claire King will both make a welcome return to the Plaza to star in Sleeping Beauty.
The show promises ‘beautiful costumes, stunning sets and spectacular effects’ and is running from November 30 until January 6.
Tickets cost from £13.75 and can be booked online .
ALADDIN, MIDDLETON ARENA
THE Only Way Is Essex star James Argent is playing the role of pantomime baddie Abanazar at the Middleton Arena.
After last year’s record-breaking production of Sleeping Beauty, Shone Productions is back with Aladdin and promising their ‘biggest, brightest, most magical pantomime yet.’
Joining James on stage will be Sam Retford (Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge’s Cory Wilson) as Aladdin, Kelsey Beth Crossley (Emmerdale’s Scarlett Nicholls and The Voice UK) as Princess Jasmine, Ruby Murry (Britain’s Got Talent) as Widow Twankey, Ben Coles (Comedy Star) as Wishee Washee, Emily Portch as The Slave Of The Ring and Paul Flanagan as The Emperor Of China.
Performances are on from December 3 to 30. Tickets, from £10.50, can be booked online .
THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, OCTAGON THEATRE, BOLTON STADIUM
THIS year’s Octagon show is taking place at the University of Bolton Stadium where it promises to transform the Premier Suite into ‘the technicolour land of Oz.’
Taking the role of Dorothy is Anne O’Riordan, who was last seen in the Octagon’s outdoor production of Gulliver’s Travels as Betty.
Anne also performed as one of the infamous Rats in 2016’s festive production Cinderella.
The classic tale will be told by Alexander Bean, Matthew Ganley, David Heywood, Helen Sheals, Anne O’Riordan, Sufia Manya, Thom Petty alongside two teams of 12 young people.
Swapping her ruby slippers for red trainers and picking up new friends along the way, Dorothy travels to the Emerald City with Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the cowardly Lion, in search of the Great Oz – a wonderful wizard from Wigan. The production will run from December 4 to 31. Tickets cost from £16 and can be booked online .
CINDERELLA, OLDHAM COLISEUM
THERE’S another production of Cinderella running this year, at Oldham Coliseum.
It’s one of the longest running shows, opening on November 10 and finishing on January 12.
Cinderella is one of the nation’s favourites and the Coliseum is promising ‘all the ingredients you need for a magical experience.’
There’ll be music, songs and slapstick, plus ‘a sprinkling of fairy dust for the perfect Christmas celebration.’
Tickets cost from £13.50 and can be booked online .
ALADDIN, THE DANCEHOUSE THEATRE, MANCHESTER
THERE’S also another Aladdin panto on this year, at The Dancehouse Theatre.
The pantomime promises ‘belly laughs, glitter, glamour and audience participation aplenty.’ Following on from last year’s hit Cinderella, performers are back with a ‘unique twist on this timeless classic.’
It runs from December 14 to 31. For tickets, from £10, book online.
LILY AND THE CHRISTMAS SNOW BEAR, THE MET, BURY
FOR little ones aged three plus, Little
Blue Monster returns to The Met with Lily and the Christmas Snow Bear.
It’s a glittering, snowy tale about a little lost bear and a brave little girl and is being brought to life ‘with exquisite puppets, enchanting music and a magical snowy setting.’
Lily loves to play in the snow – so she sets off to explore. But when she discovers a trail of soft little footprints, she finds a baby snow bear.
The production follows the success of last year’s Santa’s Little Helper and promises to be ‘another heartwarming family Christmas treat.’
It’s only on from December 20 to 24, so tickets , costing from £9.50, are likely to sell out fast.
There are special schools-only performances on December 18 and 19 December at 10am and 1.30pm. Teachers and group leaders can contact The Met on 0161 761 2216 for details of prices and how to book.
SLEEPING BEAUTY, GRACIE FIELDS THEATRE, ROCHDALE
THE popular tale is also being brought to the big stage at Gracie Fields Theatre this Christmas.
The Chase’s ‘Vixen’ Jenny Ryan is starring as Carabosse, Graham Cole of The Bill fame as Merlin, and Hollyoaks’ Milo, Nathan Morris, as The Prince.
Benidorm’s ‘Telle Garvey’ Hannah Hobley is Chantelle the fairy and Rochdale panto favourites Ben Sherlock and Nathan Smith are back as Wally and Dame Gracie.
Anton Benson Productions promise ‘another all singing, all dancing laugh out loud script.’
Performances are running from December 22 to 31. Tickets, from £14, can be booked online .
RAYMOND BRIGGS’ FATHER CHRISTMAS, WATERSIDE ARTS CENTRE, SALE
BASED on the book by Raymond Briggs, Father Christmas is being brought to life on the stage this Christmas.
With plenty of live music, songs and playful puppetry, this critically acclaimed adaptation the much-loved book promises to be ‘a delightful festive treat.’
Following on from last year’s The Bear, where little ones watched the show in their pyjamas with cookies and milk, the same is being done for Father Christmas.
This time families can prebook their snacks for £2 each and get them from the cookie collection station on arrival.
Performances are on from December 5 to 31. For tickets, from £12.50, book online. School performances are also available with tickets costing £9 each and one free teacher ticket for every nine pupils.
WHITE AND SLAPSTICK, HOME, MANCHESTER
Families have not one but two theatre shows to choose from at HOME.
From the ‘utterly charming and immersive’ White for little ones aged two to four, to the ‘captivating and entertaining Dutch musical explosion’ that is Slapstick, aimed at older children.
Both productions promise ‘a fantastic first-time theatre experience for small people and a great festive treat for all.’
White is billed as ‘a playful, highly visual and fully immersive show for the very young.’ Children get to sit on bean bags, not chairs, and wandering around the white canvas based set is actively encouraged.
In Slapstick, there’s ‘musical mayhem, virtuoso musicianship and even flying violins.’ It’s described as an ode to the timeless comedy of Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, Spike Jones and Laurel and Hardy, but with a very modern twist.
White runs from December 13 to 23, while Slapstick runs from December 13 to 22. Tickets, costing from £7 for White and £10 for Slapstick , can be booked online.
Mark Williams is Doctor Dolittle at The Lowry
James Argent from The Only Way is Essex stars in Aladdin at Middleton Arena