15 shows to see this Christmas that are not panto

Just because it’s Christmas, doesn’t mean you have to start shouting at everyone on stage. Check out our round-up of the best festive shows around the country that don’t involve any audience participation

While many of you will be looking forward to your favourite celebrities, such as Charlie Stemp's Dick Whittington or Beverley Knight's Fairy Godmother, we know there are some who are not fans of pantomimes (boo, hiss).

So just for you, we've rounded up the best non-panto shows around the UK this Christmas.


National Theatre, 1 December to 7 April 2018

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child director John Tiffany will helm Enda Walsh's brand new adaptation of Disney's tale of the puppet who wants to be a real boy. With the classic songs including "When You Wish Upon A Star" and "I've Got No Strings", this new musical is lining up to be one of the festive hits of the year.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

West Yorkshire Playhouse, 29 November to 21 January

Marianne Elliot's new production company, Elliott & Harper, has joined forces with the Leeds venue for their Christmas production this year. Directed by Sally Cookson (Peter Pan, NT), the new adaptation of CS Lewis' classic novel will have designs by War Horse's Rae Smith.

Nativity the Musical

Birmingham Rep and tour, from 20 October 2017

Every family in Britain has sat around the telly to watch Debbie Isitt's film series and now they can hear songs including "Sparkle and Shine" and "Nazareth" live onstage. It also features a fantastic cast including West End favourites Daniel Boys, Simon Lipkin and Sarah Earnshaw.

The Hundred and One Dalmatians

Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 30 November to 13 January 2018

And as if adapting her Nativity films for the stage wasn't enough work for one Christmas, Isitt's adaptation of Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians will also run at Birmingham Rep in December. Tessa Walker directs this barking adventure as puppies Pongo and Missis do their best to evade Cruella de Vil.


Menier Chocolate Factory, 25 November to 3 March 2018

Gordon Greenberg will direct the first major London revival of Mark Bramble, Michael Stewart and Cy Coleman's musical about PT Barnum, also known as the Greatest Showman on Earth. The score includes "Come Follow The Band", "The Colours Of My Life" and "There Is A Sucker Born Ev'ry Minute".

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella

Sadler's Wells and tour, 9 December onwards

Matthew Bourne's relocates the classic fairy tale to wartime London, as Cinderella falls for an RAF pilot and they spend the night together just before the onslaught of the Blitz. This year marks 20 years since the production first premiered in the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre.

The Wizard of Oz

Sheffield Crucible, 8 December to 13 January 2018

The Christmas musical at Sheffield Crucible has become somewhat of a special occasion, so no pressure on new artistic director Robert Hastie then. For his first Noël at the Crucible he's chosen L Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz. So get your ruby slippers on and prepare to join Dorothy and the gang on a trip down the yellow brick road.

Beauty and the Beast

Chichester Festival Theatre, 16 to 31 December 2017

And as Hastie takes over the reigns at Sheffield, his predecessor Daniel Evans presents his first Christmas show in his new role as boss of Chichester Festival Theatre. This new adaptation has a book by Anna Ledwich and music and lyrics by Richard Taylor and will feature members of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre.

Christmas with The Rat Pack

Theatre Royal Haymarket, 13 December to 6 January 2018

A perfect treat for the whole family as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin perform hit favourites including "The Lady is a Tramp", "Mr Bojangles" and "That’s Amore", as well as seasonal classics "Baby it’s Cold Outside", "Let it Snow" and "White Christmas". All accompanied by the Burrelli Sisters and The Rat Pack Big Band.

Wilde Creatures

Vaudeville Theatre, 15 to 31 December 2017

Olivier-nominated company Tall Stories presents a new musical as part of Dominic Dromgoole's Oscar Wilde season at the Vaudeville Theatre. A live band of storytelling musicians will breathe new life into Oscar Wilde's fairy tales including The Happy Prince, The Nightingale and the Rose and The Birthday of the Infanta.

A Christmas Carol

Various locations, various dates

This December there's more productions of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol than we could handle listing – bah humbug. If you're looking for a more traditional take? Head to Stratford for the RSC's production of David Edgar's adaptation. After something more edgy? Then head to the Old Vic for Jack Thorne's adaptation starring Rhys Ifans as Scrooge. Want an immersive adaptation? Then Windsor Castle is the place to be.

Scrooge the Musical

Curve, 18 November to 7 January

But if it's a musical take on Dickens' story you're after then head to Leicester for Nikolai Foster's production of Leslie Bricusse's Scrooge. You'll get all the Bah Humbugs you've come to know and love, with a side helping of festive songs including the Oscar-nominated hit "Thank You Very Much", "I Hate Christmas" and "Happiness".

Visit our Christmas and pantomime page for all your festive needs