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December in London 2019

 
 
 
 
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes
Pete Tong Presents Ibiza Classics
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Circus 1903
Grandpa's Great Escape Live
Fascinating Aida
Disney On Ice presents 100 Years of Magic
English National Ballet: Nutcracker
Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race
Birmingham Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker
Carols at the Royal Albert Hall
Great Christmas Pudding Race
New Year's Eve Fireworks
The Paper Dolls
Royal Opera: La Traviata
 

 

The National Theatre adapts Neil Gaiman's modern myth for its Christmas show, joining much loved favourites The Nutcracker, Carols at The Royal Albert Hall and the Santa Dash in December 2019.

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

A modern fairytale from the creator of Coraline.

National Theatre: Dorfman, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX

Tube: Temple Station , Waterloo Station

 

Dates: 3rd December 2019 to 25th January 2020

 

Staging a modern fairytale for those aged 12 and above, the National Theatre adapts Neil Gaiman's 2013 novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, "a tale of a magical boyhood" (Financial Times) by "a master of fear" (The Guardian). This adventure from the creator of Good Omens, American Gods and Coraline is told through the eyes of an adult man looking back at his childhood, when his dad was struggling to make ends meet and his friend Lettie claimed the pond by her house was an ocean. Full of magical realism, this is a tale of sacrifice and loss, told in an exciting, unsettling and thrilling way to those brave enough to face its hidden depths. Josie Walker, who recently starred in Everybody's Talking About Jamie, and Samuel Blenkin, who portrays Scorpius Malfoy in the original West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, star with puppetry by Finn Caldwell (The Elephantom and The Grinning Man).

 
 
 

Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes

A tale of obsession, possession and one girl's dream to be the greatest dancer in the world.

Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station

 

Dates: 3rd December 2019 to 19th January 2020

 

After a sell-out for its world premiere in 2016, Matthew Bourne's two time Olivier Award winning The Red Shoes returns toSadler's Wells this winter. A "particularly bold undertaking" (The Telegraph), Bourne turns Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's Academy Award-winning film and Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale into a ballet. The story has seduced audiences and inspired generations of dancers with a tale of obsession, possession and one girl's dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. This adaptation is set to a score arranged by Terry Davies, whose "tapestry of snippets from film scores by [Hollywood composer]Bernard Herrmann strikes an ideal dramatic (and period) note" (Telegraph).

 
 
 

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree & Carols

The majestic Norwegian tree is an annual gift from the people of Oslo.

Trafalgar Square, Central, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DS

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station

 

Dates: 5th to 25th December 2019

 

Since 1947, stately Trafalgar Square has received a majestic Norwegian Christmas Tree as an annual gift from the people of Oslo, thanking Britain for its support and friendship during World War Two. The enormous tree is a popular seasonal tourist attraction, particularly in the fortnight leading up to Christmas, when each evening (from 4pm to 8pm on weekdays, and from 2pm to 6pm at weekends) a different choir gathers there to sing carols and raise money for a range of voluntary or charitable organisations. Passers-by are welcome to come and listen to the carols in the square and join in the festive cheer. Nelson's Column is decorated with Norwegian white lights and the tree is illuminated from noon until midnight until the Twelfth Night of Christmas in early January. A few days after the official lighting of the tree there's a torch-lit procession on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields, as the choir and clergy bless the Crib in a special ceremony in Trafalgar Square. The tree actually goes up in late November if you want to see it in all its naked evergreen glory.

 
 
 

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

There's trouble at the Big Top as Goldilocks and her mother face a threat from an evil rival circus owner.

London Palladium, 8 Argyll Street, London, W1F 7TF

Tube: Oxford Circus Station

 

Dates: 7th December 2019 to 12th January 2020

 

Popular The One Show presenter Matt Baker makes his Palladium panto debut starring in Goldilocks and the Three Bears alongside Paul O'Grady, Julian Clary, Nigel Havers and a host of circus stars. There's trouble at the Big Top as Dame Betty Barnum, (played by Gary Wilmot) and her daughter Goldilocks face a threat from an evil rival circus owner. With the help of their circus friends - including a high-speed roller-skating act from one of Italy's oldest circus families, 'Rola Bola', from the Belli Family Circus and Europe's youngest stunt rider Peter Pavlov and the 'Globe of Speed' - they're battling to keep the circus going. All seems lost, until three brilliant bears, with Nigel Havers as Daddy Bear, join the gang.

 
 
 

Great Christmas Pudding Race

Puddings race around a course strewn with flour-filled balloons and foam jets.

Covent Garden Piazza, Covent Garden, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station, Charing Cross Station

 

Dates: Saturday 7th December 2019

 

You're familiar with the egg and spoon race. Well how about the Christmas Pudding Race? Covent Garden Piazza swells with spectators as about 150 contestants in teams of six don fancy dress and race around a course strewn with flour-filled balloons, foam jets and other obstacles - all while trying to balance a Christmas pudding on a flimsy plate! The race has been going on every year since 1980 and it raises money for Cancer Research. At this time of year Covent Garden is a great place to be, with shops full of Christmas decorations and street entertainers putting on some diverting shows before and after the main event. The perfect way to break up a day of Christmas shopping in Covent Garden's collection of stylish stores.

 
 
 
 

Girl From the North Country

Conor McPherson's Olivier Award winning play returns to the West End.

Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6AR

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 10th December 2019 to 1st February 2020

 

Following five star reviews when it was first shown at The Old Vic in 2017 Conor McPherson's Girl From the North Country, returns to the West End. The Olivier Award winning play, "incorporating 20 diverse songs by Bob Dylan" (The Guardian) intertwines Dylan's tracks with a story set in Duluth, Minnesota in the midst of the Great Depression. It follows a family adrift whose future is on a knife edge. Lost and lonely people drift through rooms of their guesthouse but one man thinks he's found a way out. On its first outing the critics calling it an "exquisitely heartbreaking piece of theatre" (Evening Standard) and saying "it is the constant dialogue between the drama and the songs that makes this show exceptional" (The Guardian).

 
 
 

Fascinating Aida

Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman present their brilliantly "caustic cabaret show" - Metro.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 10th December 2019 to 5th January 2020

 

A fresh show from British cabaret trio, Fascinating Aida, delivers a world premiere to the Southbank Centre. With three Olivier Award nominations and over 25 million YouTube and Facebook hits for 'Cheap Flights' and their rude Christmas song, "the very funny" (New York Times) Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and "silvery soprano" (Metro) Liza Pulman bring their unstoppable glamour to Queen Elizabeth Hall with a mix of big hits, old favourites and new songs for four weeks this Christmas. Although the act has been going since 1983 the trio can "still surprise as well as fascinate" (Evening Standard) and with a mix of the "maudlin and the mucky" delivered with "deceptively peppy smiles and impeccable enunciation" (Metro) it all adds up to a brilliantly "caustic cabaret show".

 
 
 

English National Ballet: Nutcracker

Get in the festive spirit watching Clara dance in front of the Christmas tree.

London Coliseum - English National Opera (ENO), St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Covent Garden Station, Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 11th December 2019 to 5th January 2020

 

A very traditional interpretation of E.T.A. Hoffman's the Nutcracker, English National Ballet's version was first performed in 2010 to celebrate the company's 60th birthday. This glittering production was created by Wayne Eagling (artistic director of the company from 2005 to 2012), and with its Edwardian setting created by Peter Farmer, it cannot fail to get you in the Christmas spirit. As sure as putting up fairy lights, filling Christmas stockings and having too much mulled wine at the office party, watching Clara dance in front of the Christmas tree is a truly festive thing to do. Wayne Eagling's choreography to Tchaikovsky's famous score is continuously heart-warming and every beautiful scene, from the family party to the appearance of the magical kingdom, lures you in.

 
 
 

The Paper Dolls

A touching tale for three to six-year-olds full of adventure and exploring family bonds.

New Wimbledon Theatre, The Broadway, London, SW19 1QG

Tube: Wimbledon Station

 

Dates: 11th December 2019 to 5th January 2020

 

Julia Donaldson's magical tale of a little girl who cuts out a string of paper dolls and goes on a fantastical adventure with them is brought to life at the New Wimbledon Studio Theatre through puppetry and music. Ticky, Tacky, Jackie the Backie and Jim fly through time and tear across worlds of fun and excitement in this new co-production between Little Angel Theatre and Polka Theatre suitable for ages three to six. Our adventurers face a toy dinosaur and the snapping jaws of the oven-glove crocodile but then a boy with very real scissors threatens to snip their adventure short. A touching tale exploring family bonds, sibling rivalry and the links between generations.

 
 
 

Pete Tong Presents Ibiza Classics

Club tunes from BBC Radio 1's dance DJ move from the dance floors of Ibiza to London's O2.

The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB

Tube: North Greenwich Station

 

Dates: Friday 13th and Saturday 14th December 2019

 

Now firmly part of the live music calendar, Pete Tong along with Jules Buckley and The Heritage Orchestra are back with a brand new Ibiza Classics show for December 2019. From the dance floors of Ibiza to London's O2, BBC Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong is joined by the 65-piece Heritage Orchestra to present a line-up of live artists to perform a homage to the dance tracks which put the Balearic isle on the map. He first brought the Ibiza Prom to the Royal Albert Hall in 2015 and now returns for a fourth year to The O2. Expect reinterpretations of classic dancefloor fillers in this brand new show. "Finally, a chance to cut some moves, to 'stack some shelves'" said The Guardian ahead of Tong's Proms performance.

 
 
 
 

Royal Opera: La Traviata

Richard Eyre's well-rehearsed production celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London, WC2E 9DD

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 17th December 2019 to 23rd March 2020

 

Richard Eyre's production of La Traviata, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is a well-rehearsed formula for the Royal Opera but time after time it draws the crowds with the promise of pure spectacle. Verdi's music takes audiences to the heart of Violetta's world as she gives up her wild lifestyle for love and makes the ultimate sacrifice. There's romance, there's tragedy, there's even a scandal - the portrayal of a 'fallen' heroine would have been shocking to the premiere audiences of 1853. Both old hands and opera virgins will be reaching for the tissues at the Royal Opera House as Violetta sings her way to the heart-rending end of Act III. Bob Crawley's sumptuous period designs beckon the audience into the Paris of the 19th century from the lavish scene of Violetta's party to her country house in the suburbs.

 
 
 

Circus 1903

Ringmaster David Williamson returns with new and favourite acts including life sized elephants.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 19th December 2019 to 5th January 2020

 

After a successful run here at the Southbank Centre last year, Circus 1903, returns for Christmas and ringmaster David Williamson brings his much loved acts including the life sized elephants, Peanut and Queenie, with him. These wonderful puppets, created by the team from War Horse, are cleverly animated with humour to give them endearing characters. There's no story, just the good old fashioned thrills and spills of turn-of-the-century entertainment - the golden age of circus - by sew-sawing acrobats, a contortionist, jugglers, a blind-folded knife thrower, high wire performers and, new for 2019, the Brazilian wheel of death. You'll see "gasp-inducing" performers, "like an aerial act in which a burly man treats his partner as if she were a slab of hand-pulled noodles" (New York Times) and those loveable elephants who one lucky child from the audience gets to meet on stage.

 
 
 

Carols at the Royal Albert Hall

Sing along to festive favourites in spectacular surroundings.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th Dec 2019

 

Extending to the three days this Christmas, the Royal Albert Hall's Christmas Carols programme is a fun-filled jamboree of carols and Christmas hits where you can sing along to festive favourites in spectacular surroundings. Join a world class orchestra and choir for traditional carols, modern arrangements, and festive favourites. You'll be lead through mass sing-alongs to your favourite carols and new versions of well known festive songs.

 
 
 

Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race

Close to 100 swimmers brave the icy waters in Hyde Park on Christmas Day.

Serpentine Boating Lake, The Boat House, Serpentine Road, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH

Tube: Knightsbridge Station

 

Dates: Wednesday 25th December 2019

 

This lot are a hardy bunch but tradition is tradition and members of the Serpentine Swimming Club have been plunging themselves into the Serpentine lake's icy waters every Christmas Day since 1864. At temperatures of below four degrees Celsius in winter, the swimmers will want to get a wiggle on so it's lucky that they are all in hot pursuit of the prestigious Peter Pan Cup. The name of the 100-yard race dates back to 1904 when J.M Barrie, the creator of the boy who refused to grow up, presented the first cup. While most of us are still tucked up in bed or delving into our stocking between 80 and 90 competitors line up (and pretend not to shiver) for their 9am start, a jolly crowd gathers to witness the spectacle. It's a great way to get some fresh air on Christmas morning and you'll feel like you've earned your post-lunch snooze. Behind you, Hyde Park offers a wonderful wintry landscape and, if you want to continue the Peter Pan theme, why not nip across to see the famous statue in Kensington Gardens. It was so cold and snowy in 2010 that the race had to be cancelled - although some intrepid souls still broke holes in the ice in order to have a quick dip.

 
 
 

Disney On Ice presents 100 Years of Magic

Celebrating a centenary of Mickey Mouse and Disney characters from The Lion King to Pinocchio.

The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB

Tube: North Greenwich Station

 

Dates: 26th December 2019 to 5th January 2020

 

A colourful cast of more than 50 Disney characters take part in this show on ice as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and the Disney Princesses are joined by their friends from The Lion King and Pinocchio, and Disney/Pixar film Toy Story, as they take to the ice for a grand celebration. Produced by Feld Entertainment, this production features Disney stars that span the decades, a sing-along score of award-winning Disney music and beautiful costumes.

 
 
 
 

Grandpa's Great Escape Live

The first stage adaptation of David Walliams's popular book lands this Christmas.

SSE Arena, Wembley, Arena Square, Engineers Way, London, HA9 0DH

Tube: Wembley Park Station

 

Dates: Friday 27th and Saturday 28th December 2019

 

David Walliams's popular kids' book, Grandpa's Great Escape, gets its first ever stage adaptation and tours to UK arenas this Christmas, visiting London's Wembley Arena on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th December. The multi-million pound live show follows the acclaimed television film which aired in December last year on BBC One. The spectacular live arena show is directed by Tony Award nominee Sean Foley and features lavish stage design. As Grandpa's life size Spitfire soars through the air you'll see London landmarks, including Buckingham Palace and the River Thames, recreated from thousands of feet in the sky. Large scale scenes include a tank and a dramatic escape from the Imperial War Museum.

 
 
 

Birmingham Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker

"There are moments so visually effective the audience gasps" - Independent.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st Dec 2019

 

In the Birmingham Royal Ballet's production of Sir Peter Wright's much-loved production "there are moments so visually effective the audience gasps" (Independent). Of particular note in this sleek yet staunchly traditional version of the classical ballet is Clara's journeys "across misted skies on the back of a large swan". It begins as midnight chimes and a magical Christmas tree starts to grow through the ceiling, marking the start of Clara's journey to the Sugar Plum Fairy's retreat in the Kingdom of Sweets and the Land of Snow. Tchaikovsky's famous music - which includes the 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' and other familiar favourites - is one of the most instantly memorable in all ballet. Choreographed by Peter Wright, with costumes by John MacFarlane, an outing to the Royal Albert Hall to see one of the best-loved ballets in the world could prove to be the perfect Christmas present for your own little Clara's stocking. We expect to see more must-see dance from the Birmingham Royal Ballet after Carlos Acosta takes up his new post as its director in January 2020.

 
 
 

New Year's Eve Fireworks

Enough firepower for an hour-long display is set off in 12 explosive minutes.

London Eye , Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, South Bank, London, SE1 7PB

Tube: Embankment Underground Station , Westminster Station, Waterloo Station

 

Dates: Tuesday 31st December 2019

 

The annual New Year's Eve Fireworks display is an impressive sight. They cram enough firepower for an hour-long display into 12 explosive minutes, lighting up the sky for miles around. Watched by 100,000 people, the build-up includes DJs spinning some great tracks from around 9pm. But the big event begins after Big Ben chimes midnight (it will still bong for New Year's despite undergoing a major 61 million renovation, due to finish in 2021) when the dazzling 12-minute show of world-class pyrotechnics is set off to a special soundtrack of the year's top tunes. DJs keep playing until the crowds head home. If you can't get tickets, it's worth noting that hotels within the ticketed area have entry passes for their guests.

 
 
 
 
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