Christmas in Essex 2021: Top pantos in the county

Brian Conley as Buttons in Cinderella

Brian Conley returns to Southend this Christmas - Credit: Cliffs Pavillion

Following last year's cancelled season, pantos in Essex are back in full force this Christmas. Join in on as much riotous fun as you like with our guide to the top pantos in the county this festive season. 

1.Cinderella, Southend

You shall go to the ball this Christmas as the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend welcomes the King of Panto, Brian Conley, to the cast of its retelling of Cinderella. Families will watch as Cinderella transforms from rags to riches, outwits the Ugly Sisters and, with the help of her Fairy Godmother, wins the heart of the dashing Prince Charming. Playing Cinderella’s friend, Buttons, Brian Conley returns to the Cliffs Pavilion after playing Robinson Crusoe here in 2016 and breaking all box office records. Audiences can expect plenty of music, dance, laughter and audience participation. 

When: December 13-January 2, 2022

Where: Cliffs Pavillion, Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Southend-on-Sea, SS0 7RA

Cost: From £23.50

Website: southendtheatres.org.uk


2. Aladdin, Colchester

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Mercury Theatre is taking families on a magic carpet ride this year (oh yes, it is!) with its magical pantomime Aladdin. Join the hilarious, fun-packed ride and journey to distant shores where penniless Aladdin dreams of winning the heart of rebellious Princess Jasmine. The theatre’s award-winning panto dames, Antony Stuart-Hicks and Dale Superville are back to release their own brand of panto madness on unsuspecting audiences! 

When: November 27 to January 16

Address: Mercury Theatre, Balkerne Gate, Colchester CO1 1PT

Cost: £15

Website: mercurytheatre.co.uk 


3. Aladdin, Hornchurch

Hop on board a magic carpet and enjoy this adventurous romp which sees Aladdin and the Princess fall in love. Enjoy all the chaos the enchanted lamp and the mysterious genie inject into show, laugh along to Aladdin's mum Betty Bagwash and boo and hiss at the evil Björn Nastee as he tries to get get a hold of the lamp. 

When: November 25 - January 2, 2022

Where: Queen's Theatre Hornchurch, Billet Lane, Hornchurch RM11 1QT

Cost: From £13.15

Website: queens-theatre.co.uk


3. Beauty and the Beast, Basildon

An enchanting love story if there ever was one, Towngate Theatre and Simon Fielding Ltd put on a rendition of Beauty and the Beast which features jokes, cracking tunes and an impressive ballroom scene. 

When: November 24 - January 3, 2022

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

Cost: From £13.50

Website: towngatetheatre.co.uk/


4. Beauty and the Beast, Chelmsford

Another version of Beauty and the Beast for those who can't get enough of love. Follow heroine Belle as she finds true love after she goes deep into an enchanted forest as she looks for her missing dad following a betrothal to an evil landlord. 

When: November 26 - January 3, 2022

Where: Chelmsford Civic Theatre, Fairfield Road, Chelmsford CM1 1JG

Cost: £25

Website: chelmsford.gov.uk


5. Jack and the Beanstalk, Clacton-on-Sea

Full of fee-fie-fo-fun, this rendition of the classic tale sees Jack Trott embark on an adventure to save his kidnapped true-love, and a town in chaos and debt. Full of slapstick, song and dance and something (or someone) called Fleshcreep, this Jack in the Beanstalk looks set to be a riotous laugh. 

When: December 1 - January 4, 2022

Where: Princes Theatre, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea

Cost: From £15/£14 adult/child

Website: princestheatre.co.uk


7. Aladdin, Witham

Another festive Aladdin, promising to be a family treat full of quippy one liners and camp fun, performed by local actors. 

When: December 17 - December 28

Where: Witham Public Hall, Collingwood Road, Witham, CM8 2DY

Cost: £15/£12 adult/concession

Website: withampublichall.co.uk


8. The Night Before Christmas, Brentwood

An original musical adapted from the classic Clement Clarke Moore poem about a little girl awake past her bedtime, creeping around her house in the hope to catch a glimpse of Santa. Colourful characters include Humbug the mouse, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Rudolph and of course, the big man himself.

When: December 18 - December 24

Where: Brentwood Theatre, 15 Shenfield Road, Brentwood  CM15 8AG

Cost: From £10

Website: brentwood-theatre.co.uk


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