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Top 10 Christmas Theatre Shows & Pantos For Birmingham 2016

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Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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List Of Top Festive Shows For Children And Adults
From pantos to musicals, celebrities to the snowman, there's a Christmas cracker of delights for theatre fans over the festive season in Birmingham.... oh yes there is!

Jodie Prenger, Birmingham Hippodrome, panto, Dick Whittington, John Barrowman
John Barrowman is one of the celebrities heading to Birmingham for the 2016 Christmas season

So get ready to boo, hiss, get on your glad rags for a big show or be enthralled into a winter dance wonderland as here's a round-up of shows to get all the family into the Christmas spirit.

1. Wind in the Willows at The Old Rep
November 21 - December 31, 2016

Kenneth Grahame's classic children's story The Wind in the Willows is the Christmas show in the historic surroundings of the 100-year-old Old Rep theatre.

Wind in the Willows, Old Rep, Birmingham, best Christmas shows 2016 in Birmingham west midlands
Animal magic with Wind in the Willows at The Old Rep this Christmas

This irreverent and playful take on the classic tale follows loyal Mole, faithful Ratty and steady old Badger as they do their very best to keep Mr Toad out of trouble.

It's packed with energetic performers, original music and an anarchic sense of humour. The Wind in the Willows is a festive show with a difference, and a real treat for all ages.

Tickets cost £16.50 adults and £13.50 children, or £55 for a family ticket, and are available from the Box Office on 0121 359 9444 or by visiting the Old Rep theatre website.

2. Chicago The Musical at New Alexandra Theatre
December 12 - 31, 2016

Adding some raunchiness to Christmas is this award-winning musical starring EastEnders actor John Partridge and Coronation Street's Hayley Tamaddon as Billy Flynn and Roxie Hart.

Chicago, new alexandra theatre, Birmingham, John Partridge, best Christmas shows in Birmingham
Chicago sizzles up Christmas in Birmingham

Chicago the Musical at the New Alexandra Theatre, features a soundtrack of jazz-influenced, acclaimed songs chartering the lives of two murderesses as they attempt to escape death row in 1920s America. Features memorable, toe-tapping songs like All That Jazz and Razzle Dazzle.

Tickets cost from £19.50 - £59.50 by visiting the New Alexandra Theatre website or calling 0844 871 3011.

3.Dick Whittington pantomime at Birmingham Hippodrome
December 19, 2016 - January 29, 2017

Join Dick Whittington and his cat for a comic adventure starring a list of household names at Birmingham Hippodrome. There's big song and dance routines along the way too as Dick makes his journey to London to eventually become the Mayor.

Jodie Prenger, Birmingham Hippodrome, panto, Dick Whittington, John Barrowman
Lovable singer Jodie Prenger will be adding her voice to this year's panto at Birmingham Hippodrome

Popular actress and singer Jodie Prenger will star as Fairy Bow Bells alongside TV personality John Barrowman, Steve McFadden (Phil in EastEnders), The Krankies and the hilarious Matt Slack.

With a show that all the family can enjoy, plus some magical special effects and plenty of fun and games with the audience, Christmas isn't complete without a panto.

Tickets cost from £15.50 by calling 0844 338 5000 or from the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

4. The Tempest at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon
November 8, 2016 - January 21, 2017

Shakespeare's magical tale is the Royal Shakespeare Company's (RSC) family show for the year aimed at being a good introduction to the bard for children.

Directed by the RSC's Artistic Director Gregory Doran, this production stars Simon Russell Beale as magician Prospero who has been stranded on an island with his daughter and is seeking vengeance on those who wronged him.

The Tempest, RSC, Gregory Doran, Simon Russell Beale, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, best Christmas shows in the Midlands
The Tempest will bewitch RSC audiences over Christmas.

Expect powerful drama and some wonderful special effects from the talented team at the RSC.

Tickets cost from £16 from the RSC website.

5. The Nutcracker at Birmingham Hippodrome
November 25 - December 13

Birmingham Royal Ballet's magnificent production will transport you to faraway worlds with king rats, princes and even a sugar plum fairy.

This ballet is the creme de la creme of Christmas dance shows and will leave all ages feeling uplifted and spirited away into a dream.

The Nutcracker, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Hippodrome, Best Christmas shows in Birmingham
The Nutcracker is a dream of a ballet.

It follows young girl Clara, who goes on an adventure after a Christmas family party and ends up being shrunk under the tree to battle dancing rats and meet a cavalcade of characters from various lands. With amazing special effects, a snowstorm during a fairy dance and a series of fun sequences including the Russian Dance and Arabian Dance, it's an unforgettable experience.

Tickets cost from £19 by calling 0844 338 5000 or from the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

6 Christmas Classics at Birmingham Symphony Hall
December 17

Every year, this special festive concert at Symphony Hall gets audiences in the Christmas spirit with a concert of timely seasonal classics, readings from a special guest and a singalong of carols to round it all off.

This year, the jubilant offering features Morse and Lewis actor Kevin Whately with some tales to break up the wonderful live music provided by soprano Julia Doyle, City of Birmingham Choir, the Fanfare Trumpeters from the Band of the Queen's Division and London Concert Orchestra.

Capturing the true spirit of Christmas, the performance includes excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, Handel's Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah and Mozart's Alleluia from Exsultate Jubilate.

Tickets cost from £16 to £45 from the Symphony Hall website.

7. Treasure Island - Birmingham Repertory Theatre
November 25, 2016 - January 7, 2017

Treasure island, Birmingham Repetory theatre, best Christmas shows in birmingham
Pirates and adventure in Treasure Island

Ahoy shipmates. This gripping swashbuckling adventure of pirates, gold and treasure maps is a family classic that will keep children enthralled from start to finish.

Making the main character a fiesty female, the story follows Jim who unearths a treasure map after pirates ransack her grandmother's inn. Setting sail for a faraway island Jim finds she has more than she bargained for in the shape of Long John Silver.

Bryony Lavery is behind this modern adaptation of the classic tale by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Tickets cost from £10 from the Birmingham Rep website.The show has a recommended age of over seven.

8. Marvel Universe Live!
Barclaycard Arena Birmingham
December 26 - 30, 2016

This is an out of the world Christmas experience for super hero fans of all ages as Marvel Universe Live! brings together the largest assembly of Marvel characters in a live production.

Marvel Universe Live!, Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, top 10 Christmas shows
A Christmas superhero treat for Marvel fans.

Audiences can watch some of their favourite Marvel Super Heroes step out of the silver screen and onto the stage with a live show featuring cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts and martial arts.

Marvel Universe Live! takes place at Barclarycard Arena, formerly the NIA, in Birmingham city centre, just a 10 minute walk from New Street Station.

Tickets cost from £28.83 from Barclaycard Arena website.

9. The Snowman at Birmingham Repetory Theatre
January 11 - 15, 2017

So, this is technically just after Christmas, but The Snowman has become an iconic tale associated with the season of goodwill and will keep those feelings bubbling along until mid January.

This show has become some-what of a regular at Birmingham Repetory Theatre (The Rep) and is now a well-loved favourite.

The Snowman, Birmingham Rep, Birmingham Repetory Theatre, best Christmas shows in Birmingham
They'll be walking in the air.

The stage show is based upon the book by Raymond Briggs and the film directed by Dianne Jackson and produced by John Coates. When a young boy's snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve, the two set off on a night-time quest for adventure, meeting Father Christmas, dancing penguins, a reindeer and crowds of The Snowman's friends.

Audiences won't be disappointed, especially when they hear Howard Blake's classic song Walking In The Air.

Tickets cost from £15 from the Rep website.

10. Sleeping Beauty pantomime at Malvern Theatres
December 15, 2016 - January 8, 2017

The romantic fairytale of Sleeping Beauty gets a panto makeover with a host of TV names including Gillian Wright (Jean Slater from Eastenders), Channel 5's Milkshake presenter Amy Thompson, Chris Pizzey from The Basil Brush Show and Casualty's Rebecca Wheatley. There's also some comedy fun with Quinn Patrick as Nurse Nelly.

Sleeping Beauty, Malvern Theatres, best Christmas shows near Birmingham
Sleeping Beauty is a romantic tale for Christmas

The Malvern panto is always a quality show that is good value for money with a traditional take focussing heavily on comedy, songs and the audience rather than special effects. There's normally even sweets and water thrown at the audience. A charming treat.

Tickets cost from £10.64 to £27.44 from the Malvern Theatres website.
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Why? Quick Top 10 List Of Best Things To See This Christmas Around Birmingham
When: From November 2016 to January 2017
Phone: Various - see list
Where: The Old Rep and other theatres in and around Birmingham
Cost: Various - see list.
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