Image Credit: Mark Morreau

Acclaimed and much-loved family theatre company Stuff & Nonsense bring The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin to Trafford’s leading arts venue this festive season.

The show runs from Wednesday 30 November for four fabulous weeks as part of the venue’s jam-packed festive season of theatrical and musical treats for all the family.

Following Stuff & Nonsense’s previous sell-out shows at Waterside, including The Gingerbread Man, The Elves and the Shoemaker and Goldilocks & The Three Bears, this unswervingly energetic and humorous company return with their brilliant new show for, featuring charming puppetry, quirky characters and an epic expedition to meet the penguins in the Antarctic!

The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin is the story of an extraordinary explorer, a curious conjurer and pioneering problem-solver. Families can see him pottering in his shed, planning his latest mission and can even learning to speak Penguin! With a playful energy and a mix of puppetry, music and song, this show is a delightful celebration of wild creativity and the joy of individuality. Concession tickets are available for low-income families, ensuring as many people as possible are able to experience a fun trip out over the festive period.

Families and schools will also be able take advantage of two wonderful digital workshops on puppet making and song writing designed by Stuff & Nonsense! Available from October half term (22 October) at £10 per workshop from Waterside’s website.

The show is co-commissioned with The Albany and ARC Stockton, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, with additional support from The Lyric, Bridport and The Point, Eastleigh.

Artistic Director at Stuff & Nonsense Niki McCretton comments: “We love sharing the magic of live theatre with whole families at Waterside, and cannot wait to be back this December for four weeks with our beautiful, captivating and playful show.”

Additional theatrical delights coming to Waterside this Christmas, include Olivier Award-winner Guy Masterson with the Dickens’ classic festive fable, A Christmas Carol. Famed for bringing multiple characters to vivid life, Masterson will take on the roles of Scrooge, Marley, the Fezziwigs, the Cratchits and even Tiny Tim in a riveting and enchanting performance guaranteed to get audiences into the Christmas spirit!

The festivities at Waterside would not be complete with Panto nor its star comedy improv performers, ComedySportz. Put them both together and you get, ComedySportz’s much loved and totally improvised adult Panto. This bawdy, raunchy and innuendo fuelled production for adults will be preceded by a far more wholesome and toned down version for ages 7+. Tots and their grown-ups even get their own short and sweet version the next day, complete with silliness and songs.

And if that is not enough to tickle your festive funny bones, Waterside’s legendary monthly comedy club – Buzz Comedy - returns with a night of Christmas crackers in the form of comics Addy van der Borgh, Lindsey Santoro and Mo Magaleo. This stellar line up of stand ups showcases the best in new and established comedy talent.

Completing the Waterside winter live arts programme is Midwinter Revels – a lively celebration of Yuletides past featuring Christmas carols, folk songs, toe-tapping tunes and a plethora of weird and wonderful instruments for a night of musical magic with the acclaimed and witty duo GreenMatthews.

Running alongside these great shows is an equally exciting and family friendly exhibition in Waterside’s Lauriston Gallery, celebrating the career and talents of the wonderful Altrincham-based, stopmotion animation duo, Mackinnon & Saunders. This brand new exhibition marks their 30 year career with a stunning display of some of their original puppets and models that have featured in many great and internationally acclaimed tv shows and films over the years. Highlights include: an original puppet and models made by Mackinnon and Saunders for Netflix’s soon to be released Guillermo del Toro animated retelling of Pinocchio. Homage will also be paid to their longstanding working relationship with Hollywood director, Tim Burton, as several puppets and models they made for two of his films, Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie will also be in the exhibition as well as work from their contribution to Wes Anderson’s much-loved Fantastic Mr Fox.

Waterside Venue Manager Darren Adams comments: “The festive season is always such a bustling and joyous time at Waterside. With so many great shows for all the family, we are particularly thrilled this year to be welcoming back Waterside favourites, Stuff & Nonsense, who have delighted our audiences here for years. I know The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin will be just as entertaining, fun and joyous. Visitors are also in for a real treat with our Mackinnon & Saunders exhibition where so many of their remarkable puppets and models will be on display for the very first time. After which, visitors can relax in our cosy Waterside coffee bar serving delicious and festive hot drinks, or browse our range of unique gifts and treats in our pop up gift shop.”

Tickets are on sale now:


The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin
Actors on stage

This is the story of an extraordinary explorer, a curious conjurer and pioneering problem-solver. You’ll find him pottering in his shed; planning his latest mission. He is learning to speak Penguin and hopes that you will too!



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