Pantos in Essex to see this Christmas


Panto - Credit: Archant

Pantomime season is here again… Oh yes it is! Anna Jackman rounds up the festive shows to see around the county.

The panto season is upon us

The panto season is upon us - Credit: Getty Images

2 December to 17 December

Times vary


Chelmsford City Theatre, Fairfield Road, Chelmsford CM1 1JG

01245 606505

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Chelmsford City Theatre pulls out all the stops for its production of Aladdin, which is jam-packed with energetic dance routines, sing-a-long songs and more glitz and glamour than ever before. The cast includes highly-talented, professional actors who really know how to bring the magical story to life. The cast includes last year’s Peter Pan, Samuel Parker, as Wishee Washee, and last year’s Smee, Neal Wright, as the Genie. Neal says: ‘I can’t wait to come back to Chelmsford for another amazing year of pantomime!’ Due to the success and excitement surrounding the theatre, tickets to last year’s Peter Pan sold out very quickly, so book your tickets in plenty of time.

2 December to 3 January

Times vary

Jack And The Beanstalk

The Towngate Theatre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon SS14 1DL

01268 465465

After last year’s spectacular performance of Cinderella, which gained five-star reviews from the leading national theatre publication, The Stage, this season’s production of Jack And The Beanstalk promises to raise the bar even higher. Starring as Simple Simon, Simon Fielding has been welcomed back to Basildon to perform his 18th pantomime. Alongside him stars the brilliant actress Sophie Ladds, who plays the dazzling Desdemona. Best known for her role as Samantha in Silent Witness and Miss Westways in Bear Behaving Badly, Sophie will fill the room with many boos as a Basildon baddie.

28 November to 3 January

Times vary

Snow White

The Broadway, Barking IG11 7LS

020 8507 5607

A very special show is in store at The Broadway, as the theatre joins forces with Polka Dot Pantomimes. The production of Snow White will be an enjoyable experience for all ages with the promise of sing-a-long songs, an enchanted mirror and lots more panto madness. The theatre are also providing a special ‘relaxed’ performance for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families at 6.30pm on Friday, December 18.

28 November to 9 January

Times vary


The Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch RM11 1QT

01708 462395

Directed by Matt Devitt, an Olivier Award nominee for most outstanding performance in a musical, Aladdin will be a show to remember this year at The Queen’s Theatre. Special effects will be dazzling alongside the fantastic musical talent that will be on offer. After her undeniable successes during a long stint in the West End as musical composer for Buddy, Carol Slomen will be directing the magical array of musicians who will serve to heighten the drama and excitement of Aladdin.

28 November to 10 January

Times vary


Mercury Theatre, Balkerne Gate, Colchester CO1 1PT

01206 573948

The Mercury Theatre is one of the few stages across Essex where families can jump on the magical carpet ride of Aladdin. The pantomime has been proudly produced by Made in Colchester, a home-grown and very talented team. Last year’s production of Cinderella was described as, ‘magical and spectacular’ by The Public Reviews and this year promises much the same. The famous Fine Time Fontayne, who has been part of a long list of TV and theatre productions, has joined Daniel Buckroyd, the artistic director of the company in order to write the play. This amazing collaboration will be a privilege for all Essex people to enjoy.

2 December to 10 January

Times vary


Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Westcliff on Sea SS0 7RA

01702 351135

Two legendary actors, pantomime favourite Brian Conley and Birds of a Feather’s Lesley Joseph, join the rest of the cast as Buttons and the Fairy Godmother to produce a truly world class performance of Cinderella. As well as all the singing and dancing, the theatre will come alive with many special effects including magical musical, smoke, dazzling lights and even small ponies on stage!

19th December to 27th December

Times vary

Sleeping Beauty

Witham Public Hall,

Collingwood Road Witham CM8 2DY

01376 567677

During this year’s festive season, Witham will witness a visually beautiful performance of Snow White. As well as comedic antics and lots more fun, you will go back in time with the cast and immerse yourself in medieval splendour as the show promises ancient scenery and costumes that will surely make the drama come to life.

6th December to January

Times vary

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Harlow Playhouse

Playhouse Square

Harlow, CM20 1LS

01279 431945

One of the world’s favourite tales arrives at the Harlow Playhouse this Christmas, as Snow White escapes the clutches of the Queen to discover seven extraordinary individuals, and make some very special friends along the way. Some of Britain’s best panto talent arrives to entertain you, including south-east panto favourite, Tom Swift!

12th December to 24th December

Times vary. Show lasts 45 minutes.

Santa’s Dizzy Day

Harlow Playhouse

Playhouse Square, Harlow CM20 1LS

01279 431945

If traditional pantomimes aren’t really your thing, but you are still determined to join in the Christmas spirit, then this show is for you. Meeting Santa is every child’s biggest wish and, what’s more, your child will receive a present and sing-a-long with him too. Set in Santa’s workshop, the children can get involved with Santa and his helpers to ensure Christmas is on time. Scott Ramsay, director of Harlow Playhouse, said: ‘We recognise that taking younger children to see pantomime can feel risky for parents and teachers, so we’re adding a new type of show for ages two to six and their families or teachers.’ To promise an enjoyable time for the appropriate age group, Santa’s Dizzy Day has been written by Iain Laughlan, creator of The Tweenies and writer of many hit children’s shows, from Finger Mouse to Justin’s House.

12th December to 3rd January

Times vary


Princes Theatre Clacton

Town Hall, Station Road CO15 1SE

01255 686633

Take the chance to enjoy a magical carpet ride at Princes Theatre, in partnership with Polka Dot Pantomimes. Polka Dot Pantomimes have experience in the West End and major UK tours. Within the cast is Scott Robinson, famous for being a fifth of the boy band Five. Not only that, but this Aladdin includes many special features to keep all members of the family entertained including luxurious costumes, beautiful props, scenery and a lot of audience participation.

1st January to 3rd January

Times vary


West Cliff Theatre

Tower Road, Clacton on Sea CO15 1LE

01255 433344

In Clacton this Christmas, you and your family can share the theatre with Ugly Stepsisters, a wicked Stepmother, Prince Charming and, of course, Cinderella herself. Presented by Clacton Musical Theatre Society, which celebrates the milestone of its 45th pantomime this Christmas, the show promises to be a great success. As well as an amazing cast, the show also has a dedicated group of dancers and a sensational chorus to really lift your spirits this winter.

27th November to 29th November

Times vary

Peter Pan

Ingatestone Community Centre, 7 High Street, Ingatestone CM4 9ED

01277 350823

It is very apt that a story about a boy that never grows up is being brought to life by such an enthusiastic youth theatre group called Young Expressions. Nominated for many awards, the bright and talented performers are determined to give their audience an unforgettable experience that will inspire both young and old to embrace their youth, which is so prevalent in Peter Pan.