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Christmas shows: 15 of the best theatrical treats

If you fancy a trip to the theatre but can't bear the thought of a pantomime, read our list of the best shows to see this Christmas for all the family

As Christmas edges closer, we've created a list of the best shows around the country to help you decide what to see. If you can't handle pantomimes but are still looking for some family fun, read our guide to help find a festive show you'll all enjoy.

For more Christmas coverage (and what pantos to see), click here

1. I Want My Hat Back - National Theatre, London

I Want My Hat Back

The National's Christmas show this year is an adaptation of Jon Klassen's witty 2011 book, I Want My Hat Back. Running in the Temporary Theatre, it should be filled with humour, music and surprises, and follows Bear as he searches for his lost hat.

Dates: 12 November to 2 January
Further details: Click here.

2. A Christmas Carol - Noel Coward Theatre, London

A Christmas Carol

Oscar-winning actor Jim Broadbent makes a welcome return to the stage in this West End production of A Christmas Carol, adapted by The 39 Steps writer Patrick Barlow.

Dates: 30 November to 30 January
Further details: Click here.

3. The Lorax - Old Vic, London

The Lorax
© Manuel Harlan

Starring Simon Lipkin and Simon Paisley Day, The Lorax tells the story of a moustachioed and cantankerous critter who's on a mission to protect the earth from a tree-chopping, Thneed-knitting businessman known only as The Once-ler. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory writer David Greig has adapted the show from Dr Seuss's hit kids book.

Dates: 3 December to 16 January
Further details: Click here.

4. The Stick Man - St Andrew Square, Edinburgh

The Stick Man

Scamp Theatre's adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's popular children's book comes to Edinburgh this Christmas. The award-winning production features a trio of actors, puppetry, songs, live music and dancing. The production will be staged in the Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square.

The show is simultaneously running in the Leicester Square Theatre in London.

Dates: 20 November to 29 December
Further details: Click here.

5. The Gruffalo - Vaudeville Theatre, London

Ellie Bell as Mouse and Owen Guerin as Gruffalo

Tall Stories very excellent musical adaptation of The Gruffalo returns to the West End for 2015. Based on the award-winning picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, the hit production follows Mouse as he ventures into the woods and meets a colourful bunch of characters along the way.

Dates: 15 December to 3 January
Further details: Click here.

6. Sleeping Beauty - Sadler's Wells, London

An image of the cast rehearsing Sleeping Beauty
© Mikah Smillie

Directed and choreographed by Olivier Award-winner Matthew Bourne, Sleeping Beauty premiered in 2012 and was the fastest selling show in company New Adventures' history. The ballet is a twist on the classic fairy tale about a young girl cursed to sleep for one hundred years. Expect fairies, vampires and decadent opulence in a Gothic re-imagining.

Dates: 1 December to 24 January
Further details: Click here.

7. Elf - Dominion Theatre, London

Ben Forster as Buddy and Kimberley Walsh as Jovie
© Alistair Muir

Ben Forster and Kimberley Walsh star in the musical adaptation of the 2003 Christmas classic film. Making its West End premiere, the show has been subject to criticism for its expensive tickets, but announced in September that a limited number of tickets would be available for £30. Elf tells of Buddy, one of Santa's elves, who discovers his true identity and goes to New York to search for his father.

Dates: 26 October to 2 January
Further details: Click here.

8. Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang - West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Jon Robyns and Amy Griffiths lead the cast of the Sherman brothers' much-loved musical at West Yorkshire Playhouse. Based on the 1968 film starring Dick Van Dyke, Chitty promises to be a fun-filled production for all the family.

Dates: 2 December to 30 January
Further details: Click here.

9. Around the World in 80 Days - St James Theatre, London

Robert Portal as Phileas Fogg, Simon Gregor as Passepartout and Shanaya Rafaat as Mrs Aouda

In a new production from St James Theatre, the cast of eight will play over 100 characters in the show which sees main character Phileas Fogg wager his life's fortune that he can circumnavigate the globe in just eighty days.

Dates: 26 November to 17 January
Further details: Click here.

10. Wendy and Peter Pan - Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Guy Henry as Captain Hook, Fiona Button as Wendy Darling and Gregory Gudgeon as Smee
© Manuel Harlan

Adapted from JM Barrie's classic novel, the RSC's much-heralded Christmas show returns to the RST. Expect spectacular sets, flying and a determined young Wendy.

Dates: 17 November to 31 January
Further details: Click here.

11.The Ballad of Robin Hood - Southwark Playhouse, London

The Ballad of Robin Hood

Robin Hood meets Game of Thrones in Tacit Theatre's new immersive production. Audiences are invited to enter the Tabard Inn in Borough, 1380 and meet struggling landlady Rose Bailey as they sit down, have a drink and indulge in an evening of intoxicating tales and lively song about the country's greatest and much loved outlaw, Robin Hood.

Dates: 26 November to 26 December
Further details: Click here.

12. Peter Pan Goes Wrong - Apollo Theatre, London

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

The team behind The Play That Goes Wrong bring their seasonal show to the Apollo this Christmas. Starring the original cast of the award-winning show, the company bring their trademark comic mayhem to the JM Barrie classic.

Dates: 4 December to 31 January
Further details: Click here.

13. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Birmingham Rep Theatre, Birmingham

The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe

A new production of the classic children's book promises "all of the thrills and excitement you would expect from such an enduring festive epic". Join Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy as the they venture into Narnia this Christmas.

Dates: 29 November to 16 January
Further details: Click here.

14. The Witches - Curve Theatre, Leicester

The Witches

Sarah Ingham leads the cast as the Grand High Witch in one Roald Dahl's scariest children books. Witches hate children and plan to wipe them out but one boy and his grandma have a plan to get rid of the witches for good. Recommended for children aged 7 , expect an exciting story, music and "mind boggling" illusions.

Dates: 9 December to 10 January
Further details: Click here.

15. Goodnight Mister Tom - Duke of York's, London

Promotional image for Goodnight Mr Tom

The award-winning production of Goodnight Mister Tom returns to the West End this Christmas. Adapted from the 1981 novel of the same name, the show is set during the build up to the Second World War and follows William Beech as he is evacuated to the English countryside and meets elderly recluse Mr Tom.

Dates: 11 December to 20 February
Further details: Click here.

Or do you just want Pantomimes? Click here for our list of celebrity-filled pantos and here for our top panto choices