From fairy tale magic to interactive storytelling to festive adventures and Christmas classics, plan your festive family-friendly theatre with this list of the twinkliest Christmas shows in Bristol in 2019…
Family-friendly theatre: Christmas shows in Bristol
The cast of Tobacco Factory Theatres’ Snow White will be wowing the crowds on Bristol Harbourside with lively musical numbers and a taste of their yuletide show (see below) at Wapping Wharf’s Christmas lights switch-on. Along with plenty of festive feels and a glittering backdrop, there’ll be a generous amount of treats from Wapping Wharf’s independent businesses including toffee apples and ‘poison’ glitter apple tattoos at BOX-E, mulled cider at Bristol Cider Shop, cranberry margaritas and chestnut tacos at Cargo Cantina and lots more!
- Festivities will kick off around 5pm with the switch-on itself planned for 5.45pm.
Adventure Bureau at The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol (17 November & 15 December)
Katie and Simon are coming on a trip with the Adventure Bureau, an age-old organisation whose job it is to create all the adventures EVER! A wonderfully fun interactive storytelling show where the audience decides what goes into the story melting pot, but nobody knows what will come out!
- Age recommendation: ages 3-8
- Tickets: £7 (£5 for groups of 20+, ages 2 and under go free)
Elf Jr: The Musical, The Redgrave Theatre, Bristol (19-23 November)
Elf the musical is adapted from the festive rib-tickling Hollywood blockbuster of the same name, that features comedy genius Will Ferrell. Buddy was raised by elves in the North Pole and naturally believes he is one of them, until one day he discovers he’s human and that his biological father lives in NYC. Hilarious, heart-warming shenanigans ensue as he attempts to find out his true identity and bring the true meaning of Christmas to cynical city to cynical New Yorkers.
- Running time: 50mins
- Age recommendation: ages 4+ (start time 7.30pm)
- Tickets: Full (£15) Concession: £12
Cinderella by CADS at Newman Hall, Clifton, Bristol (20-23 November)
A fast and furious rendition of that famous glass-slippered lass and comic-reading Prince Charming, complete with custard pies, fantastic tunes and lots of giggles.
- Age recommendation: ages 2-15
- Tickets: £10 adults, £8 children, under 2s on a parents’/carers’ knee are free)
Snow White, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol (28 November 2019 – 19 January 2020)
This original take on one of the world’s favourite Brothers Grimm fairy tales, Snow White, created with the fabulous New International Encounter, is a charming Christmas show full of music, wit, magic and festive adventure. Exploring growing up, growing old, growing your own food, why you shouldn’t trust a very shiny red apple and how we can all help make the world a better place.
Let the young’uns have a go!
If you have budding thespian offspring, Tobacco Factory Theatres are offering 6-9 year olds the chance to create a play in a day around Snow White and perform it in the Factory Theatre on 7 and 14 December. 10-13 year olds can have a go too on 8 December.
- Running time: 2hrs (inc. interval)
- Age recommendation: Ages 5+ and their families.
- Tickets: From £12, family ticket offer 15% off.
Image source – Snow White, Tobacco Factory Theatres
A Christmas Carol, Bristol Old Vic (28 November – 12 January)
After its record-breaking run last year, Tom Morris’ enchanting adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless tale is back! A riot of music with a Bristol twist, this spectacular show can’t fail to inject a good dose of Christmas spirit into your festivities.
- Running time: 2 hours 15 mins including an interval
- Age recommendation: Ages 7+
- Tickets: From £7.50, 25% Friends discount (not valid 17 Dec – 1 Jan), 10% Family discount
Boing! Bristol Old Vic (29 November – 5 January)
Sally Cookson’s award-winning contemporary dance theatre show Boing! returns to Bristol Old Vic, after nine years touring the world. The story focuses on two boys waiting for Santa to arrive, with spectacular break-dance choreography, colourful images and playful sounds peppered throughout.
For the ultimate in cosy family Christmas shows, grab a ticket for one of their Pyjama Nights performance. Don your jammies on selected Friday Nights at 5.30pm for a pre-bedtime performance plus a steaming hot chocolate, whipped up in the 1766 Bar & Kitchen.
- Running time: 50 minutes
- Age recommendation: ages 2–7 years
- Tickets: From £10 | £2 off for Friends | Groups & Schools £8.50, plus 1 in 20 tickets free
The Snow Queen, Redgrave Theatre, Bristol (29 November to 12 December 2019)
The graduating students of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School present Theresa Heskins’ thrilling adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson classic, ‘The Snow Queen’.
Young Gerda guides us on her mission through the seasons and icy plains to rescue her best friend Kai from the clutches of the wicked Snow Queen and an eternal winter. On her way, she meets a chatty crow, a clever princess and a band of robbers with their talkative menagerie of pets. A story of friendship, hope and hot chocolate, packed with music, dance and tobogganing.
- Age recommendation: a family treat for all ages
- Tickets: Full (£17.50) Concession: £12.50
The CBeebies Christmas Show (recording of live show) – Hansel and Gretel, Picture House, Bath (30 November – 1 December)
Tickets for the CBeebies live Christmas production in Edinburgh sold out pretty quickly, but watching the theatre show on the big screen is the next best thing. Packed with your kiddo’s favourite stars (including Waffle the Wonder Dog for the first time) and catchy tunes, this reimagining of Hansel and Gretel in an enchanted forest is set in the 1980s and is sure to go down a treat with your little ones.
- Age recommendation:
Elf Tales Christmas Stories, Arnos Vale (1 December)
Join Mr Time and Tide Taletellers for Christmas-themed stories from around the globe as they blend myth, legend and history into tales of Father Frost and winter wonders around the warming fire at Arnos Vale Cemetery’s atmospheric Underwood Centre.
Tickets: Children £5. Each child requires a ticket, all kids must be accompanied by an adult. Adults do not require a ticket.
Noisy Nativity, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol (4 December 2019 – 5 January 2020)
Bristol’s highly adored Kid Carpet has taken the traditional Christmas tale and given it a radical, ridiculous remix with big beat songs, live special effects, puppetry and animation. Join him and his troupe of Noisy Animals on this wacky Christmas journey as they try to save the local nativity with a good dollop of silliness along the way.
- Running time: 50mins
- Age recommendation: Ages 3+ and their families
- Tickets: Full £12 / Under 16s £9
Noisy Nativity, Kid Carpet
A Chrismouse Adventure & The Night Before Christmas, Dragonbird Theatre, various venues (4, 5, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 18, 20 December)
Everything that’s good about Christmas wrapped up in these sparkly shows. Think sleigh rides, snow fights, songs, Christmas trees, twinkling candles, stockings and…. Father Christmas!
A Chrismouse Adventure
- The Greenbank – Bristol: 4 December 11.15am & 1.15pm
- Clifton/Redland – Bristol: 9 December 9.45am & 11.15am
- Long Ashton Community Centre – Bristol: 10 December 9.45am & 11.15am
- Whisty Hall – Radstock: 17 December 9.45am
- Christchurch Hall – Clevedon: 18 December 9.45am & 11.15am
- Kelvin Players – Bristol: 20 December 9.45am & 11.15am
The Night Before Christmas
- St Werburghs Community Centre – Bristol: 5 December 9.45am & 11.15am, 10 December 9.45am & 11.15am
- Clifton/Redland – Bristol: 13 December 9.45am & 11.15am
- Kelvin Players – Bristol: 16 December 9.45am & 11.15am
Tickets: £4.50 (everyone over 4 months old needs a ticket)
Image source – Dragonbird Theatre
Be whisked away on a festive musical dream watching The Snowman accompanied by a world-class live orchestra in one of the country’s finest cathedrals. The concert opens with a Christmas Medley followed by a fun guide to the orchestra, offering younger audience members the chance to see and hear the instruments individually. This is followed by an exclusive animation of David Litchfield’s beautifully illustrated book about music, friendship and adventure, The Bear and the Piano.
- Screenings: at 1.30pm, 4pm and 7pm
- Tickets: From £14 to £20 for adults, and £10 to £16 for children.
Rapunzel – The Egg Theatre, Bath (6 December 2019–12 January 2020)
Let your hair down at this musical version of Rapunzel, packed with comedy, songs, a magic pig and a lorra princes! Watch as Rapunzel summons all her strength, wit, patience, and determination to break free from the clutches of her oppressive mother and find her true love.
- Running time: 2 hours
- Age recommendation: over 7s
- Tickets: £20 Standard Price, £15 Children & Students
Cinderella Pantomime at Henbury Village Hall, Bristol (6-8 December)
You shall go to the ball! Or at least, Henbury Village Hall for their fun-filled pantomime rendition of Cinderella.
- Age recommendation: children and adults.
- Tickets: £5 per person.
On Christmas day Darcey wakes up to a sparkly tree, a stocking full of presents and a reindeer on the roof! Why is it there and how will it ever get home? Follow Darcey on her epic adventure to get her new four-legged friend back to Lapland and discover the true meaning of Christmas along the way…
- Running time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
- Age recommendation: ages 3+
- Tickets: £8 per person, £6 children (under 18s) and £30 for a family ticket (2 adults and 3 children)
While Shepherds Watched, The Redgrave Theatre, Bristol (7 December 2019)
Wise and not so wise men, talking sheep, angels, a shepherd family, camels, a horrible Herod, and carols (old and new) all make for a magical retelling of the story of the first Christmas.
- Times: 10am &11.30am
- Tickets: £8
Dick Whittington at Bristol Hippodrome (7 Dec – 5 Jan)
Swapping the East End for fortune and happiness-seeking on the rat-infested streets of London, Shane Richie stars in this ultimate rags to riches story. Battling Queen Rat (Jennie Dale from CBeebies Swashbuckle) to become Mayor of London and win the day, there’s plenty of comedy, spectacle, live music, sensational costumes and audience participation in the city’s biggest panto for a fantastic festive family panto adventure.
- Tickets: from £13
Image source – Bristol Hippodrome
Beauty and the Beast at Theatre Royal Bath (12 December 2019–12 January 2020)
With a cast of extraordinary characters (including Corrie’s Wendi Peters), hilarious comedy, extravagant costumes and a thrilling transformation scene, this family panto is set to enthral audiences throughout the yuletide season. Oh yes it iiiiiis!
- Running time: Approx 2h30
- Tickets: Stalls & Royal Circle £36.50 / Dress Circle £31.50 / Grand Circle £26.50 (Gallery & Standby Seats £9), discounts available – see website for more details.
Dear Santa, Redgrave Theatre, Bristol (14 – 18 December 2019)
All the ingredients of Rod Campbell’s ingeniously simple and charming style (he also wrote the popular DEAR ZOO) are brought to life on stage with music, laughter and audience participation. It’s a great way to introduce little ones to the theatre and there’s also a chance to meet Santa after the show!
- Age recommendation: 2-7 years old
- Tickets: General £12.50 (children over 2 will need a ticket), Family tickets £46 (2 adults, 2 Children or 1 Adult, 3 children)
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice at The Wardrobe Theatre (19-31 December)
What if you found out your grouchy neighbour was actually a wizard whose house is powered entirely by magic, meaning agreeing to feed their cat while they’re away was the beginning of a ginormous adventure?! Taking their inspiration from Goethe’s poem, two of Bristol’s leading family theatre makers, Soap Soup Theatre and Open Attic Company team up for the first time to make this special family Christmas show featuring intricate puppetry, hilarious characters and sumptuous design.
- Running time: 1hr
- Age recommendation: ages 3-8 and their families
- Tickets: £8 (£6 for groups of 20+, ages 2 and under go free)
Beauty and the Beast, The Redgrave Theatre, Bristol (21 December – 31 December 2019)
Spectacular scenery, dazzling costumes, adorable panto pooches, stunning special effects, the award-winning Polka Dot Pantomimes’ version of the tale as old as time involves a resourceful heroine Belle and her pals French Franc and Dame Dolly Doughnut. Can Fairy Flambe save the day and will Belle learn to love the Beast? Audience participation is encouraged!
- Age recommendation: ages 3-103 years old!
- Tickets: Adults 16+ £17, Children 2+ £15, Seniors 60+ £15 , Students (full time education with ID) £15, Family tickets £58 (2 Adults, 2 Children or 1 Adult, 3 Children), Group tickets £14.50 (20+), Concession: £15
Bath Philharmonia’s full symphony orchestra, accompanied by guest singers and choir, will play along to a double bill of film classics on the big screen. Be entranced as the orchestra perform Howard Blake’s score live to Raymond Briggs’ charming animation and the first-ever live performance of Rupert and the Frog Song, featuring Sir Paul McCartney’s hit We All Stand Together.
- Tickets: Children: £14.00, adult: £22:00 (+ booking fees)
Christmas Tales With Granddad, Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol (22 December – 6 January)
Following up from Fireside Tales With Granddad comes three brand new festive tales! Breath-taking puppets and heart-warming storytelling creates the sense of a cosy fireside in the theatre, with Granddad welcoming imaginative input from the audience
A magical a feast of festive stories including a special pair of Christmas pants, the mystery of the snowflake necklace and the mischievous shenanigans of the Tomten – a feisty Gnome, who loves the chance to swap gossip with woodland creatures, and who might just be the reason Granddad can’t find his favourite tree decoration.
- Tickets: 11am & 2pm, £8 (£6 for groups of 20+, ages 2 and under go free)
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