The Sherman Theatre’s festive show is Tessa Walker’s production of Hans Christian Andersen’s seasonal favourite, in which young Gerda goes adventuring in search of her friend Kai. With music by Connor Mitchell and puppets by Rachael Canning, its potential to enchant seems very high. It runs from November 29 to December 31.
One of two alternative festive shows at the Edinburgh venue, immersive specialists Grid Iron, presents a new show based on the stories of the Chinese writer Pu Songling. An immersive production populated by ghosts and spirits, Pauline Lockhart and Ben Harrison’s staging uses a mixture of puppetry and digital technology, it runs from November 30 to December 21.
Breach, creators of hit fringe show It’s True, It’s True, It’s True – coming to the Barbican next year – return to the New Diorama with a new work, billed as an “obscene medieval mystery play with live music,” based on the true story of a 14th century fugitive nun, which sounds irresistible on so many levels. It runs from December 3 to 21.
Having delivered a singalong Muppet Christmas Carol last year, Sh!t Theatre’s Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole, creators of one of the smartest, sharpest shows of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, present a raucous and affectionate two-women homage-piss take of the beloved Christmas movie/piece of sentimental festive dreck depending on how much eggnog you’ve consumed. Its runs from December 3 to 21.
Theatre503 has really been the little theatre that could this year with a slew of awards nominations. Written by Louise Beresford and Anna Spearpoint, and directed by Carla Kingham, its all-female alternative to the traditional pantomime promises to upend narrative stereotypes in a fun and affectionate fashion. It runs from December 4 to 31.
The Tobacco Factory Theatres’ alternative Christmas show is a ‘sci-fi/drag/comedy play’ by Bad vs Evil that puts the emperor Ming, fed up of intergalactic domination, and intent on destruction, against Captain Kirk. From a company whose previous festive offerings include the wonderfully titled Goldilock, Stock and Three Smoking Bears, it sounds like an irreverent hoot. It runs from December 5 to January 5.
Following hit show Sex Sex Men Men, which playfully and tenderly explored the interplay between masculinity and sexuality, drag king collective Pecs co-founded by Temi Wilkey and Celine Lowenthal return to the Yard with new festive show Pecsmas. There’ll be a series of late-night parties to coincide with the run. It’s on from December 9 to 20.
Adapted by Annie Siddons (How (Not) to Live in Suburbia, Raymondo) and directed by Nik Partridge, this new musical version of the classic fairytale, about a young girl imprisoned in a tower for knowing her own mind, is the festive offering of the always-inventive Egg, a theatre with a track-record of programming boldly for young audiences. It runs from December 6 to January 5.
The Wardrobe Ensemble’s (Education, Education, Education) Jesse Jones and Helena Middleton direct a musical take on Astrid Lindgren’s popular children’s books featuring the flame-haired super-strong nine year old. Emily Mae plays the title role and there’s music by frequent Kneehigh collaborator Stu Barker, in the show that runs from December 10 to 31.
Middle Child’s rock-n-roll Christmas show has become a annual Hull highlight. Artistic director Paul Smith’s production boasts a live band and promises plenty of anarchic energy as it blends panto with gig theatre. It runs from December 19 to 29.