The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeFestive entertainment is back with a bang this year in Manchester, with lots of lovely family shows to warm your heart, plus some great grown-up entertainment for those planning a seasonal trip to the theatre.

Seasonal sing-alongs

If you are struggling to get into the festive spirit, head over to the Palace Theatre before 4 December to see White Christmas. This brand new production of the timeless romantic comedy features all the classic songs including the most festive song of all, White Christmas, a sure-fire way to bring on the Christmas spirit.

There’s nothing more festive than a good old Christmas carol. On 20 December Alan Titchmarsh presents Grand Christmas at The Bridgewater Hall, a special concert of seasonal classics, festive readings and joyful song, all crowned by a selection of your favourite carols, including classics such as Silent Night, Ding Dong Merrily on High, Away in a Manger and O Come, All Ye Faithful.

Souped-up screenings

Love Actually, the seasonal romcom that has become a revelation and synonymous for so many with the festive period, returns to The Bridgewater Hall on 13 December, with a full orchestra performing its soundtrack live to picture. What a joy!

Another classic Christmas film, Disney’s The Muppet Christmas Carol will be presented live at The Bridgewater Hall on 29 November and 5 December. Don’t miss your chance to see the Muppets perform the classic Charles Dickens holiday tale, with its musical score performed live to the film by The Novello Orchestra conducted by David Mahoney.

Show stoppers

Those looking for a bit of escapism should check out The Book of Mormon at the Palace Theatre from 8 December until 1 January. This globally successful, outrageous musical comedy from the creators of South Park, follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent on a mission to a place that's about as far from Salt Lake City as you can get. 

Over at The Lowry the highly-anticipated Six runs from 14 December until 9 January. The Olivier-nominated musical sees the six wives of Henry VIII finally take to the mic to tell their tales, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into a 75-minute celebration of 21st century girl power. 

Family favourites

A fun pre-Christmas theatre trip would be to Manchester Opera House to see the stage show of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny, currently on tour around the country. Don’t miss your chance to see Ben and his very own Gangsta Granny brought to life on stage between 24 – 28 November.

A real treat for the senses is Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! at The Lowry from 23 November to 4 December. This is a great opportunity to introduce little ones to the magic of ballet through Bourne’s reimagined version of the classic featuring Tchaikovsky’s glorious score.

Featuring a star-studded cast, Aladdin pops up at the Opera House from 11 December to 2 January. Follow Aladdin on a spectacular adventure he'll never forget, with flying carpets, a wish-granting genie, an evil sorcerer and plenty of festive panto magic.

CS Lewis’ mystical winter classic, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe brings plenty of Narnia magic to The Lowry from 8 December to 15 January. This extraordinary adaptation of the much-loved novel re-tells the story with a mix of theatricality, humour, music and puppetry. 

The Lowry also plays host to a production of a modern classic, Stick Man, from 30 November to 9 January. This award-winning adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stick Man is from the team behind Zog, Tiddler and other Terrific Tales, and Tabby McTat.

Socially-distanced entertainment

Fancy watching a festive flick with a difference? Head to Christmas City Drive-in Cinema at Soccer Dome from 1 December - 2 January to enjoy some yuletide charm from the comfort and safety of your own car. This is no ordinary drive-in cinema, visitors are invited to a true winter wonderland which sees live actors and unexpected surprises throughout for a truly heart-warming experience. 

Fancy a panto but not the crowds? Car Park Panto: Horrible Histories could be just what you’re looking for. Following a sold-out tour in 2020, the nation's favourite Car Park Panto will be returning this Christmas with Horrible Christmas at the AJ Bell Stadium on 29 - 30 December.