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Reader Treats Just For You!

This weekend

FRI 8 TO SUN 10 DEC

Christmas Tales with Grandad, Gloucester Guildhall, Gloucester, Fri 8 & Sat 9 Dec

You’ll feel like you’re sitting by the fireside with your grandad at this Christmas show which features festive stories, including a special pair of pants, the mystery of the snowflake necklace and the mischievous shenanigans of a fantasy gnome. Perfect for your little ones and adults alike. venues.gloucester.gov.uk

 

 

A Christmas Carol, Berkeley Castle, Berkeley, Fri 8 Dec

The perfect outing to get you in the mood for Christmas, Dickens’ touching tale of the transformation of Ebeneezer Scrooge through the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future is brought to the stage by Split Second Productions, who are regulars at Gloucestershire’s most historic castle, which is possibly home to a few ghosts itself… berkeley-castle.com(You can also catch the performance at Chapel Arts, Cheltenham from Sat 9 to Tue 12 DecBlackfriars Priory, Gloucester on Sun 10 Dec and Tewkesbury Abbey on Tue 19 Dec.)

 

 

Spectacle of Light, Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Fri 8 to Sat 30 Dec

Sudeley Castle sparkling with light for Christmas

Glorious at any time of the year, over the Christmas period, Sudeley really shines! A veritable son et lumière with fairy lights, Moroccan lanterns and meteors lighting up the castle and the grounds, there’ll also be music and mulled wine, cider, hot chocolate and treats served on the terrace. Quite romantic I’d say, but if you’ve got offspring, they’ll probably be bowled over by the magic, so you may have to save the hand holding for another night. sudeleycastle.co.uk

 

Festive Weekend, The Nursery at Miserden, Sat 9 to Sun 10 Dec

You feel like you’re in another world at this enchanting nursery and even more so when they roll out the Christmas barrel. As well as beautiful gifts for green-fingered loved ones to peruse, there will be Christmas carols, mulled wine, hot toddies and bacon butties. And kids will be able to create their own pine cone decoration and post their Christmas lists to Father Christmas. miserdennursery.co.uk

 

Aladdin, Bristol Hippodrome, Sat 9 Dec to Sun 7 Jan 2018

pantomime

Hop on board the flying carpet and watch a genie pop out of a lamp, etc.  You’d think Marti Pellow might be Wishee Washee (Wet Wet Wet, geddit?) but he’s the baddie Abanazar and it’s Joe Pasquale who’s WW, with Del Dingle (oops,  I mean Hayley Tamaddon) as Jasmine. atgtickets.com

 

Christmas is coming to Highgrove, Tetbury, Glos, until Sun 17 December

HRH The Prince of Wales’s gaff is a princely host for a right royal Christmas festive and shopping experience. This year the famous Orchard Room will be once again offering unique gift ideas, decorations and gourmet foods. Bask in the beauty of the place and find those special, one-of-a-kind gifts. No sharp, high street elbows here, instead you can float around, glass of champagne in hand, breaking for lunch and cream tea in the brand new restaurant. Sounds perfecto. highgrovegardens.com 

 

Grandma Claus: Waiting for Santa, on tour around Gloucestershire, until Fri 22 Dec

The perfect way to kickstart your Christmas, this light-hearted family show follows Grandma Claus who’s desperately hoping Santa will visit her this year. Magical and fun in equal measures, the show is doing a whistle stop tour round Gloucestershire with dates in Gloucester (2 Dec), Chipping Norton (3 Dec), Cheltenham (9 Dec), Cirencester (16 Dec) and Slimbridge (20-22 Dec). And there’ll be a meet and greet with Claus after the show! Produced by Noodle Productions, written and directed by Matt Nolan, with original music by Joel Hall & Tom Ling. grandmaclaus.com

 

Salisbury Christmas Market, Salisbury, Wilts, until Fri 22 Dec

This magical Christmas market sees the beautiful medieval cathedral city transformed into a winter wonderland that rivals the best of Germany’s famous Christmas markets. From jewellery and crafted handmade furniture to every flavour of liqueur you could dream of, this one could get jolly! The opening night is always special with loads of street entertainers and a real festive spirit, then on Thu 30 Nov, there’s the annual Christmas Lantern Parade which this year is in association with the Salisbury Arts Centre and is another it-feels-good-to-be-alive event. salisburychristmasmarket.co.uk

 

The Cotswold Reindeer Herd, Ampney Crucis, until Sun 24 Dec

This is the place to go and get your Christmas tree this year. Not only is it on one of the stunning back roads around the Ampneys, but there are reindeer! Yes, real-life reindeers that will get the kids (and adults) tingling with festive excitement. Santa will be there in his Christmas grotto too. The festive season starts here. facebook.com/cotswoldreindeerherd

 

Enchanted Christmas Market, Gloucester Quays, Gloucester, until Sun 24 Dec

Expect street food vendors, a Ferris Wheel, tons of festive stalls, a real ale tent, brass bands and an open-air ice rink. I’ll see you dancing on ice! gloucesterquayschristmas.co.uk

 

Sleeping Beauty, The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, until Sun 31 Dec

The Roses supremo writer and director Ben Crocker once again injects stage magic into a traditional fairy tale, this year Sleeping Beauty. Expect all the usual panto fun and don’t sit in the front row if you’re shy! I was caught here once and blushed up to my eyebrows, shrinking violet that I am. rosestheatre.org

 

Crafted for Christmas, New Brewery Arts, Cirencester, until Sun 31 Dec

New Brewery Arts, Cirencester’s go-to creative hot spot, puts on a fantabulous Christmas shopping extravaganza which showcase its regular and guest makers. Expect high-quality, individual gifts and unique homewares that will be very hard to resist. newbreweryarts.org.uk

 

Peter Pan, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, until Sun 31 Dec

Set sail with your shipmates and head for Neverland this Christmas where you’ll be hooked on this swashbuckling pantomime adventure. Featuring magnificent scenery, beautiful costumes, an abundance of comedy and stunning flying sequences, it’s the perfect treat for the festive season and outstanding entertainment for all the family. It’s an adventure you won’t want to miss – hook your tickets now! Sorry… swindontheatres.co.uk

 

Jack and the Beanstalk, Salisbury Playhouse, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Written by Andrew Pollard and directed by Ryan McBryde (the duo behind the last two smash-hit Playhouse pantos), with spectacular designs by James Button (Little Shop of Horrors, Salisbury Playhouse), Jack and the Beanstalk is the must-see family entertainment this Christmas. The fabulous cast includes the return of Richard Ede who had audiences in stitches last year as Widow Twanky. salisburyplayhouse.com

 

Dick Whittington, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Join Dick and his cat as he travels from Gloucester to London to make his fortune and runs into a crazy cast of characters on his journey from zero to here. Molly McGuire plays Dick, with Ben Goffe as Tommy the Cat and, of course, expect to see Tweedy the Clown. Regulars to the Everyman panto and Gifford’s Circus will know his genius, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing Tweedy, he’s like a comic book character come to life. Brilliant basically. Always a sell-out, be sure to book soon, as Everyman chief exec Mark Goucher says, “It wouldn’t be Christmas without a great family pantomime.” everymantheatre.org.uk

 

Snow Globe, Colston Hall, Bristol, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Kid Carpet (that’s him above) used found objects – Casio keyboards, cardboard, broken toys, sellotape – to make ‘kiddy disco punk’. Here he shakes a storyteller’s snow globe to create a musical mix up of tales, rhymes and stories for 3 to 7 year olds. colstonhall,org

 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Theatre Royal, Bath, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Photo: Freia Turland

Is this the fairest panto of them all?  Can’t vouch for the dame played by Nick Wilton (Mr Lister, Eastenders) but Harriet Thorpe (Carole in The Brittas Empire and Fleur in AbFab) sure is a glam evil stepmother. Whatever you do, don’t take that apple… theatreroyal.org.uk

 

Jack and the Beanstalk, Oxford Playhouse, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Jack the lad is also bean-counting in Oxford this festive season, at the Playhouse. This one isn’t a celeb-fest but nevertheless looks very sweet and is suitable for very young children. Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont St, Oxford, oxfordplayhouse.com

 

Peter Pan, The Hexagon Reading, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Mr TUUUUUUUUUMBBBBBLE! The irrepressible CBeebies demi-god Justin Fletcher may make you reach for the gin bottle but any small people in your charge will surely go insane in the membrane at the prospect of seeing him live on stage. He plays hapless trainee pirate Mr Smee in his sixth panto for The Hexagon. The Hexagon Theatre, Queens Walk, Reading, readingarts.com

 

Sleeping Beauty, The Theatre Chipping Norton, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

I got insanely drunk on my 18th birthday but Sleeping Beauty celebrated hers by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel and falling asleep for hundreds of years. Bummer, eh! This promises to be a curveball, time-travelling rendering of the classic tale, spanning from Tudor times to the flower-powered late 1960s. The Theatre Chipping Norton, 2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton, Oxon, chippingnortontheatre.com

 

The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Stories, Bristol Old Vic, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

Photo: Steve Tanner

After premiering up at Shakepeare’s Globe in London, the critically acclaimed production comes to Bristol. An impoverished girl strikes a series of matches to keep warm on the icy cold streets; each time she escapes into a different Hans Christian Andersen story. Expect cockles to be warmed. bristololdvic.org.uk

 

Beauty and the Beast, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

Photo Camilla Adams

As you can tell from the pic, not a another stage version of the Disney film. This is a quirky re-telling of the classic French fairy tale, reminding us that beauty (or beastliness) is only skin deep. Littlies can enjoy the story of family, feathers and fitting in, in The Ugly Duckling (Sun 10 Dec to Sun 14 Jan). tobaccofactorytheatres.com

 

The Little Mermaid, The Egg, Bath, until Sun 14 Jan 2018

Mermaid in a bath tub

This is a Hans Christian Andersen and mythical Cornish Mermaid of Zennor mash up.  Morgan lives at the bottom of the ocean in a shipwrecked 1950s cruise liner and surfaces in a 1980s yacht party on the English Riviera.  A period drama-cum-rom com with a jig-along classic 1980s pop soundtrack. theatreroyal.com

 

Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, until Sun 11 Feb 2018

This started just last week, Brings together over 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK . Over a working life of some forty-five years, Cézanne made almost 1,000 paintings of which around 160 are portraits and this exhibition offers a fascinating insight into this central aspect of his work. npg.org.uk

 

Imagining the Divine: Art and the Rise of World Religions, Ashmolean, Oxford, until Sun 18 Feb

Could have had a catchier title truth be told! But anyhoo, this major exhibition will be the first to look at the art of the five world religions as they spread across continents in the first millennium AD. Blimey! Brand new research from a major project between The Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum and Oxford Uni, with amazing objects created when the iconography of each of the major religions was still being developed. ashmolean.org

 

Twelfth Night, RST, Stratford, until Sat 24 Feb 2018

Photo by Paul Stuart (c) RSC

The RSC’s winter production Twelfth Night sees Ade Edmondson, of The Young Ones and Bottom fame, as Olivia – Kara Tointon’s dour steward Malvolio in Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedy. Directed by Christopher Luscombe, who recreated Warwickshire’s Charlecote Park on stage for the RSC’s fabulous Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, it’s set in Victorian Britain. Also starring Birmingham’s Dinita Gohil as Viola and Michael Cochrane as Sir Andrew Aguecheek. rsc

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Gloucestershire