Where to watch panto this Christmas

Posted 20th December 2023

It’s the most magical time of the year, and pantomime is a huge part of that family entertainment, with lost slippers, ‘wooden actors’ (read the feature!), talking mirrors, lost children and all sorts of bonkers stories waiting to be told. Sammy Jones once again picked up the magical wand and sprinkled some fairy dust to bring you the ultimate guide to pantos in the area. Oh, yes she did!

Panto: Cinderella
Starring: Brian Conley is swapping Albert Square for the new city – and his daughter Lucy will join the cast this time
Where: Milton Keynes Theatre
When: Saturday, December 9 2023 –Sunday, January 14 2024

What to expect: Another top class production from the team behind Crossroads.
They say: “This Cinderella is a bit different, so I think you are going to want to see it. Even though you might have seen Cinderella before, this is a nice, different story,” promises Lucy.
Who’s it for? Absolutely everyone, without exception.
And another thing: Ben Stock and Neal Wright return to star as Tess and Claudia, and they are the best Ugly Sisters – they’ve got a gong from The Pantomime Awards to prove it!
Book: atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

Panto: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Starring: Strictly winner Ore Oduba and
Corrie’s Wendi Peters head the cast
Where: Northampton Derngate
When: Friday, December 8 –Sunday, December 31, 2023

What to expect: With lavish sets, hilarious jokes and fun for all the family… Hi-ho, Hi-ho it’s off to panto you go!
They say: My favourite thing about doing panto is being able to get dressed up, be a bit silly and have a lot of fun!” says Ore.
Wendi Peters – playing the Wicked Queen – added: “If I haven’t made somebody cry, I’m not doing my job properly”
Who’s it for: It’s perfect fun for all the family, of course.
And another thing: This is the third year that top dame Bob Golding will be bringing his panto magic to Northampton.
Book: royalandderngate.co.uk

Panto: Stick Man
Starring: Freckle Productions have selected a trio of top actors for this adaptation of work by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Where: The Royal, Northampton
When: Thursday, December 7 – Sunday, December 31, 2023

What to expect: Touching and funny, this delightful adaptation of the popular children’s picture book is packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves.
They say: “I just love its energy and the music, I love the way that they get just the right level of audience participation – it keeps everyone involved,” says Julia Donaldson.
Who’s it for? All ages are welcome to take their seats for this family favourite.
And another thing: Julia and Axel’s best-selling book has been translated into 23 languages – and celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
Book: royalandderngate.co.uk

Panto: Cinderella
Starring: Outnumbered’s Tyger Drew-Honey and BBC Radio Northampton’s Daisie Belle
Where: The Old Savoy, Northampton
When: Friday, December 1 – Sunday, December 24, 2023

What to expect: The Old Savoy – Home of The Deco Theatre brings you their very own production of the classic tale of ‘Cinderella’ in this year’s traditional family friendly pantomime. Expect lots of smiles, laughs and of course a bit of cheek from the two wicked sisters.
They say: “I love the craft of panto, things can go a bit wrong and you are allowed to look silly – It’s all part of a traditional panto,” says Tyger, “Casting in panto is totally different than any other form of acting role – it’s highly comical, chaotic and over the top with lots of audience interactivity – that’s what I am really looking forward to.”
Who’s it for? “The beautiful tale of Cinders will touch the heart of any audience member! With storytelling, dancing, silly songs, audience participation and the odd ‘hidden’ joke thrown in, we aim to cater for all ages.”
And another thing: The previous handsome Prince from Cinderella has hung up his suit and is re-appearing in a dress and heels this year as a Wicked Sister!
Book: theoldsavoy.co.uk

Panto: Hansel & Gretel
Starring: Actors from the award winning Box Tale Soup will take you on this adventure
Where: The Stables, Wavendon
When: Monday, December 18 –
Saturday, December 23, 2023

What to expect: A fun filled festive adventure where you’ll meet lots of woodland friends and watch some magical baking… there might even be bubbles! Your help is needed to protect the glowing pebbles from a cheeky magpie and get Hansel & Gretel safely home for Christmas. Original songs, spellbinding puppetry and a set full of wondrous surprises all combine to make the perfect family Christmas show.
They say: “Hansel & Gretel is one of our favourites because it’s such a fun show to perform. It’s a heartwarming story about friendship and kindness, but then it’s also really silly and very Christmassy!”
Who’s it for? It’s the perfect introduction to live theatre for children aged 3+, and even better, the adults will enjoy it too.
And another thing: “The puppets’ heads were made out of frozen pizza boxes! Our favourite flavours are pepperoni and mushroom and we had to eat a lot of them to make this show!” say those bringing it to the stage.
Book: stables.org

Panto: Jack and the Beanstalk
Starring: The Dreams ‘n’ Wishes team will bring this to the stage
Where: The Venue, Milton Keynes
When: Friday, December 22, 2023 – Sunday, January 7, 2024

What to expect: New faces and old favourites are here in their trademark family panto, brimming over with old jokes, fresh music and more laughs than you can shake your beans at!
They say: “He’s the Princess Rescuer, Giant defeater and mighty beanstalk climber upper – or Jack for short…”
Who’s it for? It’s for fun loving families and the young at heart of all ages, from three to 93. (Over 93s are also permitted, but they must have a note from their grandparents!).
And another thing: They can’t really be doing Bohemian Rhapsody as their Act 1 finale, can they? Really?
Book: thevenuemk.com

Panto: Sleeping Beauty
Starring: The team behind CATS
Where: The Core, Corby
When: Thursday, January 4 – Sunday, January 7, 2024

What to expect: Prepare for a fun-filled ride through a traditional story like never before, with delightful surprises at every turn…
They say: ”With an impressive 60-year history of enchanting pantomimes in Corby, you’d regret missing out on this magical tradition!’ state the creatives responsible.
Who’s it for: It’s for the whole family – young, old, and everyone in between. It’s the perfect post-Christmas treat to come together and enjoy an unforgettable experience!
And another thing: The team is proud to present a relaxed performance with a twist. It’s a bit cosier, with fewer of the loud and bright elements of a typical show, plus, they’ve got a brilliant British Sign Language interpreter to make sure everyone feels welcome.
Book: corby-cats.co.uk

Panto: Cinderella
Starring: A cast hand-picked by the folks at
Little Wolf Entertainment
Where: The Core, Corby
When: Saturday, December 16 –S]unday, December 31, 2023

What to expect: A full scale pantomime, complete with all the fun, mayhem and magic that you want for a real Christmas treat. Cinderella is the greatest pantomime of all time, and loads of lovable characters, breathtaking magical sequences and bucket loads of laughs are promised.
They say: “I can’t wait to meet the people of Corby, and introduce you to my best friend Cinderella,” says Buttons, “I suppose we have to meet her horrid Ugly Sisters too, but at least we have our friends the Fairy Godmother and Mozzarella the Mouse to help us out on this magical adventure – see you there!”
Who’s it for? Little Wolf pantomimes are aimed at everyone from three to 103 – there is lots of silly stuff for the kids, but also genuinely funny jokes for everyone to enjoy!
And another thing: The team can’t wait to show you how Cinderella gets to the ball: “The transformation scene is breathtaking as a bronze Pegasus rises to circle slowly amid the stars.” they promise.
Book: thecorecorby.com

Panto: Snow White
Starring: RARE Pantomimes are back in play with this delivery
Where: Stantonbury Theatre, Milton Keynes
When: Monday, December 18 – Sunday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 27 – Saturday, December 30

What to expect: A magical, fun filled, traditional family pantomime with audience participation, magic moments guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.
They say: “Last year’s panto was packed full of hilarious jokes and brilliant songs. I’m returning from last year so they must be doing something right!” says Sam Peterson, who plays Muddles, “My mum told me it was really really good last year and that I was her favourite…need I say more!? Come and see us in Snow White this December, we can’t wait to see you.”
Who’s it for? The whole family
And another thing: “We have 11 quick changes in our pantomime this year,” said an insider, “Will you spot them?”
Book: stantonburytheatre.co.uk