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
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 London Artisan
London Santa Dash
Dazzle Contemporary Jewellery Selling Exhibition
Kneehigh: Ubu! A Singalong Satire
Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag: The Scriptures
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs The Magic Cutlass
Black Beauty
House of Illustration Winter Fair
Art Car Boot Fair
Christmas Floating Film Festival
Belgravia Christmas Sunday
SAMPLE Christmas
The Luna Winter Cinema
Crisis Icebreaker Challenge
London Santa Run
A Taste of Honey
Billionaire Boy
The Lost Thing
Royal Opera: Otello
Fanfare On The Square
Idles
Royal Opera House: Family Sunday
Christmas With Katherine Jenkins
Hot Sauce Society Christmas Market
Christmas Floating Film Festival
Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Bloomberg New Contemporaries
English National Ballet: Nutcracker
 

 

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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Fanfare On The Square

Join Penelope Wilton, Vanessa Redgrave and Simon Russell Beale for a festive carol concert.

St John's Smith Square, Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HA

Tube: St James's Park Station

 

Dates: 05th December 2019

 

With special readings from Dame Penelope Wilton, Vanessa Redgrave CBE and Sir Simon Russell Beale, the star-studded Fanfare on the Square concert raises funds and support for Parkinson's UK. Garry Matthewman conducts Mozart, Purcell, Handel, Mendelssohn and Strauss at St John's Smith Square with soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, baritone Dominic Sedgwick, Ben Goldscheider - "becoming a musical Bear Grylls, fearlessly leaping through dangerous terrain" (Huffington Post) - on horn and trumpeter Will Thomas. As a special extra on the night, Jane Asher, President of Parkinson's UK, will host a VIP reception where ticket holders can mingle with the stars of the show over drinks and canapes.

 
 
 

Idles

Political post-punk Bristolian five-piece play live at Alexandra Palace.

Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, Wood Green, London, N22 7AY

Tube: Bounds Green Station

 

Dates: 07th December 2019

 

With their last shows selling out in minutes, political post-punk Bristolian five-piece Idles is a band going places. They have previously supported the likes of Foo Fighters and The Maccabees at Alexandra Palace and this December they return as the headliners. Nominated for Breakthrough Artist at the Brit Awards, they performed a raucous Jools Holland debut which NME called "history in the making... incomparably brilliant", likening it to Arctic Monkeys and Kanye West's first appearances on the show. This live gig offers fans a chance to see a band famed as much for their frantic, unforgettable live shows as its rousing songs.

 
 
 

Dazzle Contemporary Jewellery Selling Exhibition

Looking for something special and sparkly this Christmas?

The gallery@oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, London, SE1 9PH

Tube: Temple Station

 

Dates: 01st December - 06th January 2020

 

If you're looking for something special and sparkly this Christmas, you might want to take a trip to the annual Dazzle jewellery show at gallery@oxo at Oxo Tower Wharf. The annual Christmas exhibition brings together around 90 talented international jewellery designers who present their one-off pieces in the riverside gallery. With dozens of designers taking part, there are plenty of beautiful, glinting decorative pieces to catch your eye. Alongside established designers are talented new graduates, fresh from their college degree shows and this year. This year there are five new designers from Scotland - graduates of Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh College of Art - and a strong movement toward sustainability including the use of recycled stones and precious metals.

 
 
 

Art Car Boot Fair

Everything must go in the flash sale so grab some original art and a Christmas gift bargain.

The Workshop, 44 Lambeth High Street, Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7JS

Tube: Vauxhall Station

 

Dates: 01st December 2019

 

Everything must go in two and a half hours at the Art Car Boot Fair festive flash sale where artist Gavin Turk will be personalising a series of works on the day for 100 pounds. Taking place at The Workshop in Vauxhall, the one-day festival will bring together over 70 artists selling Christmas gift bargains, there'll be mystery prizes, raffles, pass the art parcel and a Secret Santa Casino. The youngest artist at the fair is 11-year-old London schoolgirl Camille Phoenix who has an established collector base including chic boutique hotel group Artist Residence. Endorsed by artists like Peter Blake and Tracey Emin, the fair offers "affordable art from artists at all levels... it's about bringing art to the people" says the Turner Prize winning artist best known for her messy, unmade bed.

 
 
 

Belgravia Christmas Sunday

Browse more than 60 craft stalls and see Father Christmas.

25 Elizabeth Street, Elizabeth Street, London, SW1W 9RP

Tube: Sloane Square Station

 

Dates: 01st December 2019

 

As part of Belgravia's Christmas celebrations, which will also see Father Christmas come to the area, Elizabeth Street and Eccleston Yards will be transformed for the Belgravia Christmas Sunday. Turning the street into a magical wonderland on the first Sunday in December, there will be more than 60 handmade craft stalls and boutique sellers providing the chance to enjoy some festive Christmas shopping. The day will also offer children's entertainment, choirs, brass bands and seasonal food and drinks.

 
 
 
 

Christmas Floating Film Festival

Watch holiday favourites like Elf, Home Alone and Love Actually on the pontoon.

St Katharine Docks, Tower Bridge Approach, St Katharine's Way, London, E1W 1LA

Tube: Tower Hill Station

 

Dates: 02nd - 08th December 2019

 

Central London's only marina St Katharine Docks plays host to the Christmas Floating Film Festival this December. Get cosy under a blanket and snuggle on beanbags on the pontoon to watch holiday favourites like Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually, The Muppet Christmas Carol and The Holiday. There will also be heaters and festive food and drinks with minced pies, mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep the winter chill at bay. Screenings begin daily from 7pm throughout the first week of December, with two additional screenings at 2pm on the weekend, so there are plenty of opportunities to catch a festive favourite flick in the marina this year.

 
 
 

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: 03rd December - 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: 03rd December - 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).

 
 
 

London Santa Dash

Don beard and red suit like Santa and dash around the City.

Old Spitalfields Market, 1 Crispin Place, London, E1 6DW

Tube: Liverpool Street Station

 

Dates: 03rd December 2019

 

For one night only, throw on your Santa suit and join the Santa Dash, running 5k around the City of London. Starting from Old Spitalfields Market, you'll get your own Santa suit to dress up in and race against the clock - and other Santas - around the circular route. Previous routes have seen Santas dashing past St. Paul's Cathedral and the Gherkin. Complete the 5K circuit and on the finish line you'll be greeted with a medal and a celebratory drink. Anyone over the age of 18 can enter, in teams of up to ten or as individuals and it typically takes Santas between 25 minutes and an hour and a half to complete the run. There's a serious side to all this fun - all Santas will be raising money for children with disabilities and additional needs.

 
 
 

Kneehigh: Ubu! A Singalong Satire

An unruly evening of music and irreverence makes the perfect alternative Christmas show.

Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT

Tube: Old Street Station

 

Dates: 04th - 21st December 2019

 

Savagely funny, Kneehigh's Ubu! A Singalong Satire comes to Shoreditch Town Hall in December as the perfect alternative Christmas show for adults, teenagers and adventurous children over the age of 10. A raucously funny, semi-improvised musical-in-promenade, the play is inspired by Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi, written in 1896. In an unruly evening of music, irreverence and surprise, this brilliantly dark comedy centres on the anarchic King Ubu, an impossibly greedy, unstoppably crude character hell-bent on making our country great again. This cry for humanity offers a chance to protest while discovering some hope for the future.

 
 
 
 

Christmas Floating Film Festival

Snuggle up on beanbags on the pontoon to watch favourite holiday films.

St Katharine Docks, Tower Bridge Approach, St Katharine's Way, London, E1W 1LA

Tube: Tower Hill Station

 

Dates: 02nd - 08th December 2019

 

Central London's only marina St Katharine Docks plays host to the Christmas Floating Film Festival this December. Get cosy under a blanket and snuggle on beanbags on the pontoon to watch holiday favourites like Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually, The Muppet Christmas Carol and The Holiday. There will also be heaters and festive food and drinks with minced pies, mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep the winter chill at bay. Screenings begin daily from 7pm throughout the first week of December, with two additional screenings at 2pm on the weekend, so there are plenty of opportunities to catch a festive favourite flick in the marina this year.

 
 
 

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: 05th December - 05th January 2020

 

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.

 
 
 

A Taste Of Honey

Shelagh Delaney's kitchen sink drama comes to West End for the first time in 60 years.

Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, South Bank, London, SW1A 2DY

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 05th December - 29th February 2020

 

Covering race, class, gender and sexual orientation, A Taste of Honey was a great defining and taboo-breaking play of the 1950s, and from December it comes to Trafalgar Studios as part of a UK tour. Written by Shelagh Delaney when she was just nineteen, it tells the story of seventeen-year-old Jo, who, after her mother runs off with a young lover, becomes impregnated by a black sailor. Once the sailor returns to sea, Jo finds lodgings which Geoff, a homosexual who takes the role of surrogate father. The 'kitchen sink' play was made into an award-winning film in 1961 and provided inspiration for "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" by The Smiths. This National Theatre production will see Bijan Sheibani (Barber Shop Chronicles) direct and Jodie Prenger (Oliver!, Abigail's Party) take the role of Helen.

 
 
 

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2019

An important barometer of contemporary art.

South London Gallery, 65-67 Peckham Road, London, SE5 8UH

Tube: Denmark Hill Station

 

Dates: 06th December - 23rd February 2020

 

For its 70th anniversary year the Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition tours the UK, arriving at South London Gallery in December following its launch in Leeds. An important barometer of contemporary art, the exhibition showcases some of the best new and recent fine art graduates as well as artists from non-degree awarding courses. 45 diverse and fascinating artists have been selected, displaying drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video in the SLG and its Fire Station annexe. The works on show address a broad range of issues from politics to gender as seen in Eliot Lord's satirical depiction of Boris Johnson and Louis Blue Newby's remake of David Cronenberg's 1996 psycho-sexual thriller 'Crash'.

 
 
 

Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: The Magic Cutlass

Pairing pirates and dinosaurs, the award-winning book is brought to the stage.

Leicester Square, Leicester Square, South Bank, London, WC2H 7BP

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

 

Dates: 07th December - 05th January 2020

 

Based on the award-winning book by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, the sequel, comes to the Leicester Square this Christmas via the Edinburgh festival. Pairing pirates and dinosaurs, "no piratical pun is left un-plundered" (The Guardian) in this action-packed show, brought to life by Les Petits Theatre. We pick up the story as Flinn, Pearl and Tom are in the middle of their school play when their old nemesis, Mr T the T- Rex, appears and kidnaps the children. They're forced to hunt for the secretive Magic Cutlass - a sword that grants the holder any wish - and set off on another fantastic adventure to a world of devious dinosaurs and deep sea dangers, told through puppetry, physical performance and live music. Christmas fun for all the family and children aged 3 and over.

 
 
 
 

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: 07th December - 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: 07th 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.

 
 
 

SAMPLE Christmas

Late night food and drink market at Greenwich's linear park, The Tide.

Greenwich Peninsula, 1 Green Place, London, SE10 0PE

Tube: North Greenwich Station

 

Dates: 07th - 08th December 2019

 

This Christmas, Hemingway Design curates SAMPLE a pop-up market of fashion, food and foliage at The Tide, a new linear park on Greenwich Peninsula. Held over the second weekend of December, SAMPLE Christmas is a late night food and drink market which runs on both of the days, accompanied by live music, performances and DJ sets, as well as stalls clothes, homewares and designer goods from over 30 traders. This year's sellers include Balloner Socks, Coco & Ginger candles and Eve's Ceramics. Jewellery designer Tatty Devine's 'Rainbow Halo' - a rainbow archway sprinkled with jewelled stars representing love, peace, unity and joy - returns and a helter skelter comes to the Christmas Market for the first time. You can also book in for creative workshops where you'll learn how to made a wreath or copper Christmas decorations.

 
 
 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Comedian Jo Brand works her deadpan sense of humour as The Wicked Queen.

Richmond Theatre, The Green, Surrey, London, TW9 1QJ

Tube: Richmond Station

 

Dates: 07th December - 05th January 2020

 

Comedian, writer, presenter and actress Jo Brand stars as The Wicked Queen when Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs comes to Richmond Theatre this winter. The much loved comedian who's well known for her deadpan humour can be seen on stage alongside returning funny man Jon Clegg - as Snow White's best friend Muddles - with hilarious panto dame Jason Sutton. The story famously follows Snow White who befriends seven friendly dwarfs as she escapes the clutches of the Wicked Queen but it's all packaged into a spectacular panto complete with special effects, enviable costumes and magical mirrors.

 
 
 

Cinderella at New Wimbledon Theatre

Lesley Garrett and Samantha Womack represent the forces of good and evil.

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

Tube: Wimbledon Station

 

Dates: 07th December - 05th January 2020

 

Samantha Womack plays The Wicked Stepmother opposite Lesley Garrett as The Fairy Godmother as Cinderella's carriage rolls into New Wimbledon Theatre. Melody Thornton from Pussycat Dolls takes on the title role as Cinderella while comedian and magician Pete Firman is Buttons, returning after his winning performance as Wishee Washee opposite Paul Merton in last year's Aladdin. You can expect a production packed full of audience participation, laugh-out-loud comedy, stunning scenery, beautiful costumes and plenty of boos and hisses. Pure panto magic.

 
 
 
 

The Lost Thing

A musical re-imagining of Shaun Tan's beautifully illustrated book.

Linbury Theatre, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 07th December - 04th January 2020

 

The Royal Opera and Candoco Dance Company combine in this first big family show in the Royal Opera House's Linbury Theatre since its refurbishment. Ben Wright directs a musical re-imagining of The Lost Thing, Shaun Tan's beautifully illustrated book first published in 2000 about a boy who helps a lost thing find its way home. When the little boy finds a bizarre-looking creature in the sand he tries in vain to find its owner or home however the boy perseveres in his quest. This new production for Christmas it is brought to life with music, song, drama and dance.

 
 
 

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag: The Scriptures

The award-winning actress, producer and writer celebrates the publication of Fleabag: The Scriptures.

Southbank Centre: Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 08th December 2019

 

In a rare public appearance and UK exclusive Fleabag actor, playwright and author, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, comes to Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall to celebrate the publication of Fleabag: The Scriptures. She discusses the new book, which includes the TV scripts, new material and stage directions, with comedian, writer and The Guilty Feminist podcaster Deborah Frances-White. Funny, somewhat rude and totally fearless, Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a refreshing new voice in popular entertainment, adapting Killing Eve for TV and pepping up the script for the latest James Bond film. Given the clamour for tickets to her one woman show, when Fleabag played to packed out audiences at Wyndham's Theatre in August this year, you can expect tickets to this special event to sell out fast. NOTE: Tickets go on sale to Southbank Centre Members on Thursday 7th November and to the general public on Friday 8th November.

 
 
 

London Santa Run

Run with thousands Santas and work off a few mince pies.

Victoria Park, Grove Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3 5SN

Tube: Mile End Station

 

Dates: 08th December 2019

 

Ever wanted to be the big man in red? Now's your chance. London's largest Santa Run invites anyone who wants to work off a few mince pies to run around Victoria Park dressed as Santa. Don't worry if your suit is at the dry cleaners, a free costume is included in the entry price. You'll run, jog or walk around the park and depending on whether you choose to do the 5km or 10km course, you'll either go once or twice round the route. Run by fundraising specialists Skyline Events, the Santa Run expected to see thousands of people take part to raise money for hundreds of different charities. The main run is for adults and children over 8 however there's also a free mini Santa run for those under 8 which takes place just before the main run. Expect Christmas characters, festive music and snow to get you in the spirit.

 
 
 

Royal Opera House: Family Sunday

Children aged 3 to 10 get a peek behind the scenes.

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

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 08th December 2019

 

One Sunday a month the Royal Opera House opens its doors to families offering the next generation of opera and ballet fans a chance to peek behind the scenes. These Family Sundays are aimed at children aged 3 to 10, giving them a chance to meet characters from current opera and ballet productions, enjoy live performances and demonstrations and get to join in a themed workshop - usually involving some singing or dance. It's all very informal with performances by Royal Ballet dancers, Jette Parker Young Artists and musicians, make-up or stage combat demonstrations, costumes to dress up in as well as design activities led by professional set designers. You can even sign up for a backstage tour when you book your tickets.

 
 
 

Royal Opera: Otello

Covent Garden's first new Otello for 30 years gets its first revival.

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

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 09th - 22nd December 2019

 

Keith Warner's stunning 2017 production of Verdi's impassioned opera in four acts is based on Shakespeare's play about a Venetian general who is tricked into doubting the fidelity of his wife Desdemona. Olivier Award-winning director Keith Warner's production of Otello, a major work in the Royal Opera House repertory, replaces Elijah Moshinsky's traditional, period-costume staging, which had been in service since 1987, with Boris Kudlicka's semi-abstract sets and Kaspar Glarner's naturalistic costumes. American tenor Gregory Kunde, who sung Otello in this production in 2017, returns to one of Italian opera's most challenging roles. Albanian soprano and Royal Opera regular Ermonela Jaho stars as Desdemona and Spanish baritone Carlos Alvarez is Otello's nemesis, Iago, under the baton of conductor Antonio Pappano.

 
 
 
 

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 - 01st 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 - 05th 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 - 05th 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 - 05th 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.

 
 
 

City Island Ice Rink

Enjoy pre-skate workshop warm-ups with English National Ballet.

London City Island, Wharfside Road, Leamouth Peninsula, London, E14 0JU

Tube: Canning Town Station

 

Dates: 12th - 22nd December 2019

 

An open-air, 45-person ice skating rink takes up residence at London City Island for first time this December and you can get all your shopping done at a four-day artisan Christmas market beside it. Enjoy pre-skate workshop warm-ups in Hopewell Square with dance artists from English National Ballet and learn a new skill at festive workshops on wreath-making, seasonal cocktail making and wine tasting. It opens with a special launch night where the Philharmonic orchestra give a festive Nutcracker themed performance. There's no ice rink in Canary Wharf this year so City Island Ice Rink is the place for east Londoners to get on the ice and families can take part in Festive Winter Wonderland sensory classes led by Gymboree. You can even get your Christmas tree here and deck the halls when you get home.

 
 
 
 

Christmas With Katherine Jenkins

The Welsh singer performs classical and contemporary songs.

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

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 12th December 2019

 

The Welsh singer's Christmas appearance at the Royal Albert Hall has become an annual tradition and here she is joined by an orchestra and guests to perform a programme of seasonal music. She has sung for the Pope, for Presidents and at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, now Katherine Jenkins performs classical and contemporary songs, including new tracks from her latest album, Guiding Light. A singer with a strong voice, she has duetted with Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, Jose Carreras and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Last year, she wowed us with her stellar performance as Julie Jordan in Lonny Price's semi-staged production of Carousel at the London Coliseum.

 
 
 

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: 13th - 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.

 
 
 

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Adding an accident-prone touch to the classic tale of the boy who wouldn't grow up.

Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, Wood Green, London, N22 7AY

Tube: Bounds Green Station

 

Dates: 13th December - 05th January 2020

 

After a successful West End run two years ago, Peter Pan Goes Wrong comes to Alexandra Palace this winter. The production by Mischief Theatre, creators of The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, applies the same accident-prone touch to the classic tale of the boy who wouldn't grow up. In the play, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society attempt to recreate JM Barrie's story but technical hitches, flying mishaps and cast disputes cause one problem after another. What could possibly go wrong?

 
 
 

Black Beauty: Red Bridge Arts & Traverse Theatre Company (Over 5s)

Racing into the finishing stretch, Anna Sewell's much loved novel is a Christmas hit.

Southbank Centre: Purcell Room, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 14th December - 05th January 2020

 

Storytelling, music and puppetry combine in a re-telling of the classic tale of Black Beauty, presented by Red Bridge and Traverse Theatre Company. Anna Sewell's timeless novel is reinvented for a new generation at the Southbank Centrethis winter. Calling it "a galloping, five-star triumph", The Guardian heaps praise on this production and its "stableful of horse-themed gags" and "touching testament to the value of resilience", making it the perfect show for families. Co-creators Andy Cannon and Andy Manley play the wide eyed brothers in the two-handed cast while Shona Reppe (who also created the show) is responsible for the inventive set which turns a record player into a race track and creates horses out of boots.

 
 
 

House of Illustration Winter Fair

Over 150 independent stallholders set up shop by Central Saint Martins for one day.

House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, London, N1C 4BH

Tube: King's Cross Station

 

Dates: 14th December 2019

 

From illustrated calendars to clothing, stationery to ceramics, greetings cards to glassware, the House of Illustration Winter Fair invites over 150 independent stallholders to set up shop for one day. At this special December market, you'll be buying handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces direct from the makers themselves. Whether you're interested in illustrated children's books inspired by nature or dark and surreal posters, you can expect environmentally friendly, plastic free artworks. Housed indoors, at The Crossing by Central Saint Martins, you won't freeze while you browse and there are plenty of places to shop and refuel in nearby Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard.

 
 
 
 

Crisis Icebreaker Challenge

Only the brave will take the plunge in the icy waters.

Brockwell Lido, Lido Park Gardens, Brockwell Park, London, SE24 0PA

Tube: Brixton Station

 

Dates: 14th December 2019

 

Don't dip your toe in the water, just take the plunge and complete the Crisis Icebreaker Challenge in the freezing waters of Brockwell Lido. It may sound like madness - the pool temperature is around 6.3 degrees Celsius - but by swimming one width you'll be helping the homeless. You can swim individually or take part in the relay race as a team of four with each team member swimming one width each. It's great fun with swimmers encouraged to wear fancy dress but there's a serious side - the registration fee equals the cost of reserving a place for someone at a Crisis Christmas centre.

 
 
 

Billionaire Boy The Musical

Joe Spud, the richest boy in the country, has everything except for a friend.

Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AH

Tube: Euston Square Station , Euston Station, Warren Street Station

 

Dates: 14th December - 05th January 2020

 

Birmingham Stage Company, the award-winning West End producers of Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie, give another one of David Walliams' books the stage treatment with an adaptation of Billionaire Boy at Bloomsbury Theatre. With his own sports car, two crocodiles and 100,000 a week pocket money, Joe Spud is the richest boy in the country. However, what he's missing is a friend. In search of friendship, Joe leaves his posh school and starts at the local comp, but things soon take a turn when he tries to find what money can't buy.

 
 
 

Hot Sauce Society Christmas Market

Unleashing 38 traders making and creating hot sauce deliciousness.

The Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8LQ

Tube: Brixton Station

 

Dates: 14th December 2019

 

Back after a packed event in the summer, Hot Sauce Society returns, this time bringing saucy fun to three floors of Brixton's Dogstar pub. Taking place on Saturday 14th December, the Christmas Market unleashes 38 traders making and creating hot sauce deliciousness. Fun extras include DJs, Christmas sing-along cabaret with live piano, festive cocktails and a chance to pick up some last minute stocking fillers for that spice-loving loved one. Traders will be selling and sampling specials so look out for bottled hot sauces, hot chutneys and chilli jams from independents like Brighton Hot Stuff, Hop Burns and Black, Peckham Sauce Co. and Baj's Blazin' Hot Sauce. Learn about the makers, their story and what goes into their hot sauces and get spicy Bloody Marys from the Tabasco bar on the top floor.

 
 
 

The Luna Winter Cinema

Showing festive films in a heated indoor pavilion by Kensington Palace.

The Orangery (Kensington Palace), Kensington Gardens, London, W8 4PX

Tube: High Street Kensington Station

 

Dates: 15th - 23rd December 2019

 

Described as "the kings of the outdoor cinema experience" (Tatler), The Luna Cinema continues its tradition of pairing movies with amazing locations with its 2019 winter season, taking place in beautiful indoor, heated pavilion of Kensington Palace. Celebrating the best recent releases, films on the line-up include Bohemian Rhapsody and the 2018 hit The Greatest Showman. Family favourites Home Alone, The Grinch and Elf will also be shown as well as heart warming romantic films The Holiday, Love Actually and It's A Wonderful Life. The pavilion will be transformed into a toasty winter grotto complete with comfy seating, mulled wine and mince pies fit for the occasion.

 
 
 

TuckShop: Cinderella

A dragged up retelling of the rags to riches fairytale.

Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DY

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 15th - 29th December 2019

 

Baga Chipz from RuPaul's Drag Race UK stars as The Wicked Stepmother opposite Britain's Got Talent performer Sheila Simmonds as The Fairy Godmother in a dragged up retelling of the rags to riches fairytale. Cinderella is given a fierce and funny drag makeover at the Trafalgar Studios for six performances only. Produced by TuckShop, a production company devoted all things drag, Cinderella is written and directed by Stuart Saint (De Profundis, Saucy Jack at the Space Vixens, Misfit Warrior), and also stars drag performers Kemah Bob, Ophelia Love, Veronica Green and Baby who makes her West End debut as Cinderella. The age-old rags-to-riches story is dragged into the twentieth century so dust off your glass stripper-slippers and prepare for the Godmother of pantomimes.

 
 
 
 

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 - 17th 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 - 05th 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.

 
 
 

The London Artisan

Browse jewellery, ceramics, textiles and more by 70 contemporary designers.

The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL

Tube: Aldgate East Station

 

Dates: 14th - 15th March 2020

 

More than 70 contemporary designers come together at the Old Truman Brewery this December for The London Artisan winter edition, one of four such markets held throughout the year. With free entry, it offers a diverse and quality shopping experience that puts the focus on independent producers and makers selling everything from sustainable socks you can 'repair and rewear' to menswear made from Irish linen. Browse jewellery, ceramics, glassware, textiles, homewares, graphic design and children's products, and meet the designers who are behind the unique products priced between five and 200 pounds. A sociable shopping experience a world away from the 'click and collect' culture.

 
 
 

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 - 24th December 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: 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 - 05th 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: 27th - 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 - 31st December 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: 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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