Jade Wright lifts the curtain on the festive season’s theatre productions across the region.

November 11th - February 25th
The Palace’s big winter show is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s multi-award-winning musical, touring the UK for the very first time. Playing for a 15-week season, it is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and helped shape the very foundations of the America we know today. The score blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway – the story of America then, as told by America now. Don’t miss this winner of 11 Tony Awards, seven Olivier Awards, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album.
Palace Theatre, Manchester, atgtickets.com

READ MORE: Theatre review: Hamilton, The Palace Theatre Manchester

November 17th - January 20th
You wait ages for a production of this fairytale classic, and then four come along at once. But there’s nothing predictable about the Everyman’s non-traditional panto, which returns, with a cast made up of talented multi-instrumentalists, singers and dancers. There’ll be outlandish costumes, plenty of plot twists and surprises, and musical hits, bringing the classic fairy tale to life in surprising style. Bursting with banging pop and rock tunes, this is a show that will have you singing and dancing along, no matter what your age.
Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, everymanplayhouse.com

November 24th - January 13th
When Mole forfeits his seasonal cleaning for the lure of the luscious riverbank, he has no idea of the thrilling (and slightly chaotic) journey that he and his friends are about to embark on. Get ready for another whirlwind adventure in the Cockpit Theatre this Christmas time, as we head to the English countryside with our good friends Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger. Featuring live music and a talented company of actor-musicians, this delightful adaptation by Toby Hulse of Kenneth Grahame’s classic story is set to be the perfect festive treat for all ages.
Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prescot, shakespearenorthplayhouse.co.uk

November 28th - December 4th 
Matthew Bourne’s magical dance production is based on the classic Tim Burton movie and features the hauntingly beautiful music of Danny Elfman and Terry Davies. Witty, bittersweet and heartwarming, it’s the story of an incomplete boy left alone in a strange new world. In a castle high on a hill lives Edward; a boy created by an eccentric inventor. When his creator dies, he is left alone and unfinished with only scissors for hands until a kindly townswoman invites him to live with her suburban family. Can Edward find his place in the well-meaning community that struggles to see past his curious appearance to the innocence and gentleness within?
The Lowry, Salford Quays, thelowry.com

Great British Life: At the top of the world lives the Snow Queen who is supposed to control the weather, in this family show at the Waterside in Sale. Photo: WrongsembleAt the top of the world lives the Snow Queen who is supposed to control the weather, in this family show at the Waterside in Sale. Photo: Wrongsemble

November 29th - December 30th 
At the top of the world lives the Snow Queen who is supposed to control the weather. But the seasons aren’t behaving. The world is getting warmer. And it hasn’t snowed for years. Lumi gazes up at the stars and worries about the world. It’s time to take the issue straight to the top (of the world) and find the Snow Queen. This vibrant musical re-telling of The Snow Queen is reimagined in an exciting adventure for the whole family, it has been created sustainably Wrongsemble, a Yorkshire based theatre company. Suitable for ages 4-104.
waterside, Sale, watersidearts.org

December 1st - January 2nd
Get your glass slippers and pumpkin coaches ready for a night of family fun as Storyhouse’s Christmas show rolls into Chester. Packed with pop favourites and overflowing with magical moments, this fairytale production promises to whisk audiences away to the ball with a seasonal spectacular. There’s a variety of accessible shows, including a British Sign Language-Interpreted and Audio-Described show, a captioned performance and a Relaxed matinee. There will also be streamed shows to watch remotely.
Storyhouse, Chester, storyhouse.com

December 2nd - 3rd
Boy George makes his panto debut as Captain Hook in this big-budget extravaganza adaptation of J.M Barrie’s much-loved tale. Performed in the spectacular arena space, it comes with animated digital sets and a cast of 50 performers, including a dozen cirque performers, dazzling aerial acrobats and a troupe of Irish and Highland dancers. There’s a life-size galleon that sails in front of a water-wall fountain, a giant battle where the audience throws cannon balls at Hook’s ship, and a death-defying escape from a locked water tank.
M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, mandsbankarena.com

December 2nd - January 13th
From explorers to artists, scientists to secret agents, hear the stories of some of history’s strongest mothers, sisters and daughters; all independent icons who really did change the world. See Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Mary Seacole, Marie Curie and Emmeline Pankhurst brought to life in this empowering pop musical, which returns to the Lowry this Christmas, for a five-week run, before heading out on tour in spring 2024. Based on the popular children’s book by suffragette relative Kate Pankhurst, this inspirational show comes from one of the producers of SIX.
The Lowry, Salford Quays, thelowry.com

Great British Life: Cheshire's own Jason Manford is back in panto, playing Jack at the Opera HouseCheshire's own Jason Manford is back in panto, playing Jack at the Opera House

December 2nd - 31st
Jason Manford returns to the Opera House this Christmas, joined by Manchester panto favourite Ben Nickless as Silly Simon. The pair formed such a double act in Peter Pan last year that they have reunited for another run of seasonal silliness. Doomed to sell his trusty cow, join Jack as he fights to outwit the evil giant, win riches beyond his wildest dreams, and the hand of the girl he loves. Expect laughs, music, special effects, magic beans and bundles of audience participation in this giant of a pantomime.
Opera House, Manchester, atgtickets.com

December 2nd - January 13th
In a crowded railway station, where everyone is busily passing through, Laura and Alec meet. Falling wildly in love in a few stolen moments they live a lifetime of epic emotions, reawakening everything they have buried deep inside. Together they find themselves in a bittersweet, hopelessly romantic, elegantly awkward love affair. A heart-stopping story of forbidden love that moves to the rhythm of beautiful songs, swaying dance moves, the odd cup of tea and a Bath bun. Emma Rice’s smash-hit adaptation for the stage of Noël Coward’s iconic Brief Encounter is perfect for all incurable romantics this Christmas.
Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, royalexchange.co.uk

Great British Life: Panto doyenne Leanne Campbell sprinkles her magic in Aladdin at the Theatre Royal St Helens. Photo: BEAPanto doyenne Leanne Campbell sprinkles her magic in Aladdin at the Theatre Royal St Helens. Photo: BEA

December 2nd - January 14th
Emmerdale star Liam Fox will make his panto debut in the role of the evil Abanazer, and panto royalty Leanne Campbell will appear as a magical Genie of the Mirror as Regal Entertainments returns with a magic carpet ride this Christmas. Young street urchin Aladdin lives with his hapless brother Wishee Washee and larger-than-life mum Widow Twankey in their family laundry. But, when he finds out a dastardly plan to rule the world, he battles the wicked Abanazer with the help of a very special lamp. Can Aladdin save the day and can he win the heart of the fair Princess Jasmine?
Theatre Royal, St Helens, sthelenstheatreroyal.com

December 8th - 31st
Meanwhile, in Wirral’s beautiful model village, there’s another telling of this tale as old as time, as the Dreamworld Entertainments team returns for a fabulous family pantomime in Port Sunlight. Following the record-breaking Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dreamworld Entertainments is back with a bang in what promises to be its biggest panto yet, boasting a fabulous cast, all the laughs and traditions with a modern twist, plus magic, mystery and lots of sparkle. Will the Prince remain in the hideous body of the Beast forever, and can Beauty find her happily ever after?
Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight, gladstonetheatre.org.uk

December 8th - 31st
Poor Cinders works night and day but dreams of a very different life. When an invitation to the royal ball arrives, it looks as if her wish may be granted. The prince has invited all of the young ladies in the land to attend. Will her Wicked Stepsisters succeed in ruining Cinderella’s dreams of happiness, or will her Fairy Godmother and loyal friend Buttons be able to thwart their devilish plans? X Factor singer Matt Terry joins Malcolm Lord and Ste Johnston in this year’s magical family favourite.
Crewe Lyceum, Crewe, crewelyceum.co.uk

December 8th - January 2nd
Down the M56, there’s another telling of the tale of magical castles, bewitched spinning wheels and an enchanted sleep that only true love’s kiss can break… A beautiful Princess is given a 21st birthday present by her evil aunt the wicked enchantress, Carabosse. By pricking her finger on an enchanted spinning wheel, she is placed under a cruel curse and forced to sleep for 100 years. Can a handsome prince break the spell? Who will outwit the evil enchantress and foil her wicked plans? Join the cast at Altrincham Garrick Playhouse for a night of magic, songs, comedy, dance and, of course, the fairest of them all.
Garrick Playhouse, Altrincham, altrinchamgarrick.co.uk

December 9th - January 7th
A bad-tempered fairy curses beautiful young Princess Aurora to die on her 16th birthday. But, thankfully, with a sprinkle of magic, she only falls into a deep sleep that can be ended with a kiss from a handsome prince. This festive fairytale, presented by New Pantomime Productions, stars Scarlett from RuPaul's Drag Race, along with Brindley panto favourites Rebecca Lake, Andrew Curphey and Charlotte Dacia, spectacular scenery, dazzling costumes, topical jokes, singalong musical numbers and fun for all the family.
The Brindley Theatre, Runcorn, quaytickets.com/thebrindley

Great British Life: The cast of Cinderella at Contact take over the auditorium. Photo: Shay RowanThe cast of Cinderella at Contact take over the auditorium. Photo: Shay Rowan

December 9th - 31st
The Godmother of all pantomimes is back, with added girl power, and all the young women that want to shall go to the ball. Eight-freestyle's popular panto returns with a female-fronted spin on the traditional rags-to-riches tale of Cinderella, teaming up with Contact Young Company. The creative team that created Robin Hood: The 80s Panto last Christmas is back at the Oxford Road theatre with the greatest fairytale of them all. So, jump on board your giant pumpkin and join them for the ride of your life. Just be sure to be home before midnight.
Contact Theatre, Manchester, contactmcr.com

December 9th - 31st
John Evans, Carley Stenson, James Lusted and Jason Marc-Williams lead the cast in this upbeat panto version of the favourite children’s story of the boy who never grew up. When Wendy and her brothers encounter the mysterious Peter, they are whisked off to the magical island of Neverland in a high-flying, swashbuckling all-action adventure, perfect for family audiences. With the island under threat can they help Peter and the Lost Boys to defeat the villainous Captain Hook and his infamous pirate crew?
Venue Cymru, Llandudno, venuecymru.co.uk

December 9th - 31st
Les Dennis joins Northwich panto royalty Ryan Greaves and Georgie Jackson in this popular panto tale. Belle lives a quiet provincial life in the Village of Ooh La La. When the terrifying Beast takes her father captive, will Belle get to go on the adventure she has always dreamed of or does fate have other plans for her, in the hands of selfish Gaston, who is determined to win the hand of the beautiful young village maiden for himself? She learns love can flourish in the most unexpected of circumstances and that real beauty is more than skin-deep. Anton Benson Productions returns to Northwich with another all-singing, all-dancing performance.
Northwich Memorial Court, Northwich, brioentertainment.org

December 9th - 31st
Former Coronation Street and Emmerdale actress Hayley Tamaddon is joined by Sean Jones and Joseph Elliott for this seasonal favourite, promising fee-fi-fo-fum, huge amounts of panto fun. On their farm in Merrydale Jack, his mother Dame Trot, and his brother Simon haven't a bean to their name. Their friendly cow, Daisy has gone dry and worse still the village is being destroyed by an evil giant. His wicked henchman Fleshcreep steals the magic harp of Merrydale and kidnaps the beautiful princess. Jack is on a mission to save the day, retrieve the harp and win the heart of the princess.
Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, floralpavilion.com

December 9th - January 31st
A young girl finds herself lost in the woods and wanders into the family home of three bears – a mummy bear, a daddy bear and their little cub. Once inside, she helps herself to porridge, sits in the chairs, and even sleeps in their beds. What will the bears do when they get home to find their unexpected visitor? The Grange Theatre welcomes back pantomime producers KD Theatre Productions for this year’s festive family adventure.
The show is told with a blend of music, professional performers, stunning sets, lavish costumes and bags of comedy. There’s also a chance to meet the cast after the performance, subject to availability.
The Grange Theatre, Hartford, Northwich, thegrangetheatre.com/pantomime

December 13th - January 7th
Diversity star Ashley Banjo stars as The Tin Man in the Empire’s Christmas show, joining Dorothy and Toto for an unforgettable adventure down the yellow brick road. Featuring the iconic original score from the Oscar-winning MGM film including Over The Rainbow, Follow The Yellow Brick Road and We’re Off To See The Wizard with additional songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, this spectacular production will be a magical experience for all the family.
Empire Theatre, Liverpool, atgtickets.com

December 15th - January 7th
Stoke-on-Trent panto favourite Jonathan Wilkes tackles a beanstalk of gigantic proportions to cloudland in the region’s other spectacular telling of this family panto favourite. Joining Jonny on stage will be Hear’Say star, Noel Sullivan in the role of Fleshcreep, alongside Hollyoaks and Torchwood star Kai Owen, returning to the Regent Theatre panto as Farmer Trot. They will be joined by Stoke-on-Trent panto veterans Rio Maye as Spirit of the Beans and Michelle Andrews as Princess Jill. Doomed to sell his trusty cow, join Jack and his family as they fight to outwit the evil giant, win riches beyond his wildest dreams and the hand of the girl he loves.
Regent Theatre, Hanley, atgtickets.com

December 16th - 24th
When the wicked queen’s magic mirror declares that Snow White is the fairest in the land the evil queen is overcome with jealousy and plans to do away with the beautiful princess. Will Snow White meet her handsome prince and live happily ever after? Anton Benson Productions return, with beautiful scenery, colourful costumes, amazing special effects, and a talented cast, performing the fairest pantomime in all the land.
Ellesmere Port Civic Hall, Ellesmere Port, brioentertainment.org

January 3rd - 7th
Cheshire Youth Pantomime Society is a multi-award winning youth charity based in Wilmslow. Their festive show will be Robin Hood The Panto. Following in the footsteps of the hugely popular Beauty and the Beast it will be packed packed full of musical numbers ranging from current pop songs to all-time favourites. The characters come alive with amazing costumes. The action is accompanied by a live band and professional lighting and sound. The whole family will be amazed by what can be achieved by a young amateur group with a professional attitude.
Evans Theatre, Wilmslow Leisure Centre. chypspanto.com

January 5th - 14th
The perfect way to cheer up a dreary January, this giant of a pantomime promises lots of laughs, sparkle and plenty of music and dancing. After getting in to big trouble with his mother after selling their hapless cow for a handful of beans, Jack’s dreams come true when they start to grow…and grow…and grow. Join Jack on an adventure of a lifetime, as he outwits the giant and makes his fortune with a little help from his friends. Boo and hiss the baddies, cheer the heroes, laugh along with the corny jokes and tap your toes to the memorable and popular songs. The performance on January 7 at 5.30pm will feature a British Sign Language interpreter who will stand to one side of the stage to translate the script as it is being performed.
Parr Hall, Warrington, parrhall.culturewarrington.org