Christmas is all about getting together with family and friends for quality days and nights out – and a trip to see a show or panto is an event that all generations will enjoy and remember for years to come.
So here are some taking place across the Winchester district, with something for everyone…
This year Theatre Royal Winchester’s traditional family pantomime is Aladdin – the rags to riches story of a loveable street urchin with a magic lamp, who hopes to defeat the evil Abanzar and marry the girl of his dreams, Princess Jasmine. Brought to the stage by the same team behind the 2019 five-star rated Dick Whittington – and running from Saturday 4 December – Sunday 2 January – Aladdin will feature original songs, a top cast, and hilarious script. There will also be accessible performances (relaxed, audio-described, and BSL), meaning all are welcome and can enjoy the show! Plus, on 21st and 30th December, audiences will be able to livestream the panto from the comfort of their homes.
Or visit Winchester Science Centre from 27 November – 23 December for The Sky Before Christmas – a festive show taking you through the night sky as it will look on Christmas Eve from Santa’s point of view! This is an opportunity to find out what he might see on his adventures. Discover the stars and constellations before zooming in to space to deliver presents to the planets.
For a spot of nostalgia, on 04 December Winchester Cathedral will be screening a family favourite, The Snowman – accompanied by a live orchestra. Also as part of the event, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (based on the best-selling book by Michael Rosen) – with music by Stuart Hancock.
Santa will be swapping his red coat for a lab coat at Winchester Science Centre, to pop up during selected performances of their Science Dino-mite Show between 4 – 23 December – to help the experts delve in to the mysteries of Christmas in the prehistoric era. Or from 27 November, watch the award-winning Polaris, the space submarine – an animated film about Vladimir the polar bear and James the penguin who go on an adventure to discover the secrets of the long winter night.
Also on the morning and afternoon of Christmas Eve (24 Dec), children are invited to dress up for Winchester Cathedral’s children’s nativity service.
Kick off the festive season with an intimate performance by The Spitfire Sisters at Cobbs, Winchester, on 26 November. The popular three-part vocal group will recreate the sounds of the 30s and 40s through their nostalgic Andrews Sisters style harmonies.
On 3 December, the Waynflete Singers will fill Winchester Cathedral with Handel’s oratorio, Messiah – joined by the highly regarded period instrument group, Florilegium and a line-up of soloists (some well-known to Winchester audiences) – all under the baton of Andrew Lumsden, director of the Waynflete Singers and the cathedral’s Director of Music.
Theatre Royal Winchester plays host to Bye Bye Baby, a jaw-dropping tribute to the musical phenomenon Jersey Boys and the music of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (including hits December ’63, Grease, and Beggin’. Four part harmonies, stylish choreography and an excellent four-piece band combine for a great night out, on 13 December.
Or if you’re a mum needing a laugh and a welcome break from all the Christmas prep, head to the theatre on 14 or 15 December for The Scummy Mummies Christmas Show with well-known comedians Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson whose shows are based on their UK No.1 Kids and Family Podcast.
Finally, in the last days before Christmas Day, head to Winchester Cathedral on 17 December for a spectacular concert performed by the Choral Foundation; while on 22 December, the Winchester Cathedral Choir (boy and girl choristers) will perform Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.
Please check websites to book tickets.
Make sure you book a table for a pre or post show dinner or bite to eat. With plenty of cosy restaurants, traditional inns and independent cafes you’ll be spoilt for choice! Check out our food and drink pages for some inspiration.