You can’t beat a theatre visit in the holidays and this Christmas we’re spoiled for choice. The big players – Wendy and Peter Pan, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Emil and the Detectives are pitched at a slightly older audience, but there’s plenty to entertain the under-fives.
I couldn’t choose between two Raymond Briggs’ adaptations, so I’m featuring them both. First up is perennial classic The Snowman – the Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production has been wowing London audience’s for over 15 years and is spellbinding. The new Briggs on the scene (first seen last year) centres around some old guy called Father Christmas (anyone?) preparing for a busy time at work. The Snowman is at The Peacock Theatre until 5 Jan 2014. Tickets from £12. Father Christmas is at The Lyric, Hammersmith until 4 Jan 2014. Tickets from £8 (or £12 with a messy play and craft session on selected dates).
Over in Bristol, Little Bulb Theatre present the wonderfully quirky Antarctica, where your little one will be taken on a journey to the South Pole to explore a wintery wonderland. At Bristol Old Vic until 4 Jan 2014. Tickets from £7 (under twos go free).
Dodie Smith’s canine caper The 101 Dalmatians is the seasonal offering in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Live music, swing dancing and presumably a few dogs are the big draws here. At The New Vic Theatre until 1 Feb 2014. Tickets from £14. There’s also a 45-minute Tale Trail interactive performance for smaller theatregoers with tickets costing £6.50.
Ballet never fails to entrance the young and Tchiakovsky’s The Nutcracker is the ultimate Christmas extravaganza. Peter Wright’s Royal Ballet production is classic, traditional and full of seasonal sparkle and sugar plums, At The Royal Opera House, London until 16 Jan 2014. Available tickets range from £50.
You can’t beat a good panto (Oh, yes you can! Oh, no you can’t! *repeat ad infinitum*) and Hackney Empire is renowned for its raucous showstopping productions. This year’s Puss in Boots is set to be no exception, despite no Clive Rowe in the dame role. At The Hackney Empire until 5 Jan 2014. Tickets from £10.