With no shortage of theatre in London, it’s difficult to know where to begin when booking tickets. To save you some time, we’ve selected some must-sees for the coming winter season; whether you’re looking to get jolly with festive cheer or tip toe into unchartered water with some newly minted theatre- we’ve got you covered! To begin proceedings, we’ve compiled a short list of the best theatre for the festive period. With a line up this good, we don’t doubt your Christmas list may read a little like a theatre billing this year…
An instant classic, War Horse captured the hearts of London audiences the moment it arrived on stage. Documenting the tragedy of the first world war alongside the astonishing companionship that exists between a boy and his horse, War Horse is a breath taking and, not to mention, heart wrenching spectacle. As a crescendo, the cast is joined on stage by astonishing life-sized horses, created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, adding galloping breathless life to the scenes on the stage.
From the 8th November 2018 until the 5th January 2019
Where: Upper Ground, Lambeth, SE1 9PX
A truly festive offering and a marvellous choice for the kiddies, The Snowman tells the classic tale of Raymond Briggs’ book. There’s magic a’plenty set against Christmas backdrops, as a friendship is kindled and on a starry-skied journey to the North Pole the Snowman and his companion meet dancing penguins, Ice Princess, Father Christmas and escape the clutches of Jack Frost.
Where: The Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, WC2A 2HT
An offbeat version of a festive classic, the Southwark Playhouse takes on this Christmas giant this December. Following the life of the unfortunate Gary, audiences traverse a series of unfortunate events before discovering that he may just hold the secret to save us all. Somewhere between South Park and the Miracle of 34thStreet this performance is the perfect antidote to festive cheer and perfect for those of us who are keen to swerve joyeaux noel…
If you’re in the mood for a truly theatrical night, why not kick things off at the Menier Chocolate Factory for a little pre-theatre dinner and drinks.
From the 28th of November until the 29th of December
Where: 77-85 Newington Causeway, SE1 6BD
It’s the timeless Christmas perfomrance that whisks us away with its exquisitie dancing and popular score, and now as a Christmas treat like no other, you can indulge in The Nutcracker in London’s very own Coliseum. The English National Ballet will tippy-toe onto stages, dancing to a spellbinding orchestra as the re-tell the famed story of how, on a sparkling Christmas eve, Clara and her enchanted Nutcracker doll discover a magical world, where she battles with the Mouse King and meets a handsome stranger.
From the 13th-30th of December 2018
Where: London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, WC2N 4ES
It’s the show that you have to buy tickets for in under a minute, a sell-out that has captured the public since its release in 2015, and a tear-jerking, edge of seater that we suggest you buy tickets to ASAP. The performance, inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow, is an American musical that (for the rock-dwellers amongst us who haven’t yet grabbed a ticket), tells the story of forgotten American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and his ascent out of poverty. Whilst it may sound rather on the dull side, we’re going to have to go off public opinion and conclude that it’s a far cry from that.
New seats for the 17th of December 2018 until the 30th of March 2019 are on sale now
Where: Victoria Street, Westminster, SW1E 5EA
Written by Black Panther star and Tony-nominated writer Danai Gurira, The Convert examines the cost of faith and the ways in which individuals pay for their belief. Exploring 1896 Zimbabwe and Jekesai, The Covert follows a young woman fleeing a forced marriage. Whilst The Convert doesn’t exactly fit within the festive Canon, it is an important and ambitious play that examines our relationship with God and the existence of religion. Critically acclaimed, the play boasts some huge names: Letitia Wright of Black Panther fame and Ianno Jeremiah from Channel 4s Humans.
To get you in the mood, head to The Cut for a few pre-theatre drinks and tapas. Neighbours of The New Vic, this eclectic indie bar is a great way to begin an evening at the theatre.
From the 7th of December 2018 until the 26th of January 2019
Where: Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo
Introducing the other two-part production you must see this autumn: The Inheritance hits the Noel Coward theatre this September and is set to sell out. Directed by multi-award winner Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance is here for a short 15 week run before catapulting elsewhere. Exploring how lives interlink, The Inheritance takes on what it means to be a gay man in New York, and the looming legacy of the 1980s AIDs crisis. Sharp, funny and incisive, The Inheritance is not to be missed.
Playing now until the 19th of January 2019
Where: 85-88 St Martin's Lane, WC2N 4AP
The remake of Antony and Cleopatra we never knew we needed, this Shakespearean heavy weight is back in business. Led by the magnificent Sophie Okonedo and Ralph Feinnes, this years’ Antony and Cleopatra traverse a boozy, rollicking dystopia not to mention side stepping the real snake which is unleashed on stage in the final scene (Consider this fair warning snake-phobes). Director Simon Godwin navigates tragedy with comedic panache, making for a slick and action-packed rendition of a complex cult classic.
Head over to the Understudy bar in the basement of the National Theatre. With an extensive selection of draft beers, wine and board games, the Understudy Bar is a wonderful pre-theatre destination.
From the 23rd of October until the 19th of January
Where: Upper Ground, Lambeth, SE1 9PX
In this vivid new imagining of Matilda, Tim Minchin jumps into the world of Matilda with genius and aplomb. Irresistible good fun for the whole family, Matilda will have you crying and laughing in a single breath as you take a new look at this timeless world. Marvelous in its musicality, Tim Minchen’s Trunchbull is magnificent- not to mention terrifying. Wicked fun, Matilda is hearty feel-good fun.
Available to watch now
Where: Earlham Street, WC2H 9HU
Adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne, this reimagining of a Christmas classic romps back to the stage this winter season. Brimming with mince pies and merriment, this joyous play is a fantastic option for those looking to get in the Christmas mood. An affectionate take on a winning festive production, this production is full of heart, soul and plenty of colour. Spectacularly gaudy, bright and gloriously kitsch, Santa Claus is coming to town.
From the 24th of November until the 19th of January
Where: The Cut, Lambeth, SE1 8NB