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Christmas 2020: stage shows, pantomimes and musicals to watch

Check out our top picks in this festive bonanza!

Ben Roddy
© Marlowe Theatre

We're picking out our top shows to see this festive season! But fear not – this list is by no means exhaustive – we'll be rounding up some perfect party shows for guaranteed festive cheer (including the Dragatha Christie bonanza Death Drop and a Love Actually p*ss-take Sh!t Actually) in another listicle soon.

Potted Panto

Potted Panto
(© Geraint Lewis)

Why have one pantomime when you can have ALL of them in one go! The award-nominated Potted Panto is back for a season at the Garrick Theatre, with your favourite festive characters packed into a 70-minute spectacle. Garrick Theatre, 5 December to 10 January 2021

Watermill's A Christmas Carol

A two-person Christmas Carol is brought to you by the ever-adorable Watermill Theatre in Newbury – so expect pathos and tunes in equal abundance! Watermill Theatre, 26 November to 3 January

A Christmas Carol

Brian Conley
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Brian Conley leads this epic production of Dickens' classic with a cast and orchestra of around fifty! What more could you want from a festive season than beautiful tunes accompanied by the ever-impressive London Musical Theatre Orchestra. Dominion Theatre, 7 December to 2 January 2021

West End Musical Christmas

Alice Fearn, Sophie Evans, Ben Forster, Shanay Holmes, Rachel John, Jamie Muscato, Trevor Dion Nicholas and Layton Williams

A plethora of West End stars will bring your favourite musical moments to life in a special socially distanced concert, coming to the West End towards the end of December. Palace Theatre, 17 to 20 December

Dick Whittington

Kings Theatre in Portsmouth was one of the first venues to push for a socially distanced pantomime, so all power to them for persevering and planning ahead! You can catch their Dick from next month. Kings Theatre Portsmouth, to 31 December

A Christmas Carol(s)

A Christmas Carol

Okay there is a whole load of other Christmas Carols across the country so we thought best, for egalitarian purposes, to put them all together for you to peruse. SO. Leeds Playhouse is presenting a version, the Bridge has enlisted the ever-enchanting Simon Russell Beale for its three-person devised production and Liverpool Playhouse will stage a piece, the final for artistic director Gemma Bodinetz before she leaves.

Finally, the Old Vic will be presenting a live-streamed virtual presentation of Jack Thorne's adaptation of the hit sell-out tale, which is set to feature a, currently unannounced, starry actor playing Scrooge.

Dick Whittington

An artist's impression of the space

If you'd told us a year ago that the National was planning on staging a pantomime in 2020, we would probably have raised an eyebrow or two. But no! Ned Bennett (of Equus and An Octoroon fame) will be bringing an in-the-round production to the Olivier stage. We're behind them all the way. National Theatre, from 11 December

Peter Pan

Waylon Jacobs takes on the role of the boy that never ages in the Barn Theatre's new staging of J M Barrie's Neverland caper. Barn Theatre Cirencester, to 3 January

The Little Match Girl

Sadler's Wells will be transporting its studio show, created by Arthur Pita, and housing it in its main space over the festive season. 17 to 27 December



The fairest panto in all the land is conventionally a big big draw for audiences and, even with a pandemic, it seems as though the whole Palladium crew will not be beaten. With a starry line-up from pantos past, expect lavish costumes in a variety show of dazzling proportions. The London Palladium, 12 December to 3 January 2021

Paul Hendy's Travelling Panto

Why have a pantomime in one place when you can have it in a variety across a whole city! Theatre Royal York will be overseeing the new piece which will tour areas of York over the festive season. Find out more