December theatre in Manchester

December can mean only one thing in theatre and that’s Christmas shows.

HOME has brought us some innovative theatre in its first year (Dead Dog in a Suitcase, Golem, The Funfair) so it will be fascinating to see what Artistic Director Walter Meierjohann does with Inkheart.  Running from 4 Dec – 9 Jan, this adaptation of Cornelia Funke’s best-selling fantasy adventure novel for children promises to ‘leap from page to stage in this funny, thrilling and action-packed UK premiere for families’.

At the Royal Exchange, Matthew Xia makes his main stage directing debut with the musical Into the Woods, and examines ‘our contemporary connection to this enchanted woodland’.  Running from 4 Dec – 16 Jan, this looks a fascinating project.  But can the production appeal to both those new to the piece and those who love it?

How to Be Better is at Contact from 16 to 19 December.  Directed by Common Wealth who brought us the superb No Guts, No Heart, No Glory last year (and which you might have caught on TV recently) and performed by Contact Young Company (whose innovative and thought provoking work includes Shrine of Everyday Things, Under the Covers) this seasonal offering is an immersive promenade performance developed from verbatim interviews with a diverse range of young people. The show is a modern day fable examining the pressures and complexities of Christmas and questioning how we can truly be at our best.

For those with families, why not try a new venue at Christmas?  At Oldham Library, which is lovely performance space, there’s Little Red Riding Hood, running from 9 – 19 December.  At Bury Met, from 17 – 24 Dec, there’s Grimm’s Faerie Feast which promises quality culinary treats and beautiful music.

But perhaps more than anything, at least traditionally, Christmas means pantomimes.  Whether it’s amateur theatre, community groups or local schools, there’s going to be a pantomime near you.  What better way to get into the Christmas spirit?


Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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