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Christmas in Essex – Top Pantos in the County
“It’s behind you!”
“Oh no it isn’t!”
It is officially December and panto season in the UK and lets face it, it just wouldn’t feel fully festive without a trip to a local panto in Essex. The Panto has to be one of the best Essex days out and has been a tradition in Britain since the 18th century, hailing from the ‘commedia dell’arte’, the Italian tradition of improvised theatre. Pantomimes are full of slapstick humour, men dressing up as dames and they usually follow the story of a fairytale. There are plenty of pantomimes in Essex in 2022 to visit and get you in that Christmassy mood. Here are some of the best panto’s in Essex.
Pantomimes in Essex
Pantos in Hornchurch
Queen’s Theatre – Sleeping Beauty
Billet Lane, Hornchurch, RM11 1QT
In a magical fairy kingdom, happy plans are underway for Princess Raury’s christening. But a bad fairy has been missed off the invite list, and descends on the party casting a wicked curse. So when 18 year old Raury pricks her finger on a spinning wheel, and falls asleep for many years, it takes bravery and courage to wake up and face a very different world. But the bad fairy is up to more mischief, and Raury is soon setting off to the rescue, aided by her zany Nanny and family, to ensure true love can find its way…
When: 24th Nov 2022 to 31st Dec 2022
Pantos in Danbury
Danbury Village Hall
Maldon Road, Danbury, Essex CM3 4NQ
A magical performance of Fairies, true love, curses and spinning wheels! The Princess Rose is about to celebrate her 18th birthday and the end of a long-standing curse put on her by the evil fairy Malicia. The future looks bright, but the wicked fairy is not to be thwarted! Can Rose’s friends Nurse Nelly Nutmeg and court jester Jingling Jerry save her? Will she find true love with the dashing Prince Will? A traditional family pantomime packed with jokes, silliness and oodles of audience participation!
When: 14th Dec 2022 to 18th Dec 2022
Pantos in Basildon
Towngate Theatre – Peter Pan
St Martins Square, Basildon, SS14 1DW
This swashbuckling spectacular promises to be as magical as ever.
Basildon favourite, Simon Fielding, returns this year as Peter Pan’s Director and Producer and the baddie everyone loves-to-hate – Sophie Ladds – will be back on stage, playing Captain Hook. Ian Hallard will be popping on more fabulous frocks to play the role of Mrs Smee this year. Joining Sophie and Ian will be Harvey Zaffino as Peter Pan, Hannah Taylor as Wendy, Antonia Luisa-Clarke as Tinkerbelle and Michael Loftus as silly Wibbles.
When: 23rd Nov 2022 to 2nd Jan 2023
Pantos in Witham
Witham Public Hall – Sleeping Beauty
Witham, Essex CM8 2DY
The Essex Group will be returning to Witham with their 2022 Pantomime, Sleeping Beauty. This classic Panto is full of great one liners, colourful costumes and great songs and dances. Bringing together a stellar cast of local actors who will delight audiences with our great script by local writer Gary Sullivan.
When: 17th Dec 2022 to 28th Dec 2022
Pantos in Essex
Pantos in Colchester
Mercury Theatre – Beauty and the Beast
Balkerne Gate, Colchester, CO1 1PT
It’s a tale as old as time and a panto that will be unmissable for the whole family. The mysterious Beast imprisons Beauty in his enchanted castle. Can she escape with the help of her family and melt the Beast’s icy heart before it’s too late? Will Cupid’s plan work before the last rose petal falls? Leading this talented cast are pantomime royalty, Antony Stuart-Hicks and Dale Superville.
When: 26th Nov 2022 to 15th Jan 2023
Mercury Theatre – Pinocchio
Balkerne Gate, Colchester, CO1 1PT
When Pinocchio discovers that he’s a puppet and not a human, he sets off on an exciting adventure with his trusty sidekick cricket to find the magic potion that will transform him into a real boy. As he travels the land in search of the potion, Pinocchio meets a whole host of larger-than-life characters. Will he become a real boy? Or can Pinocchio – and the world around him – learn to accept this puppet boy for who he really is?
Perfect for ages 3-8.
When: 7th Dec 2022 to 31st Dec 2022
Pantos in Harlow
Panto at Harlow Playhouse – Cinderella
Playhouse Square, Harlow, Essex CM20 1LS
Head to the Harlow Playhouse this Christmas for the Greatest Pantomime of them all, ‘Cinderella.’ Cinderella longs for a happier life away from her wicked Stepsisters. Thankfully she has Buttons, her loveable companion there to look after her. When the dashing Prince Charming decides to hold a ball to find his future wife, this may just be the chance Cinderella has been waiting for. Can the Fairy Godmother help Cinderella get to the Ball? With the help of some mice and a pumpkin – anything is possible!
When: 1st Dec 2022 to 8th Jan 2023
The Victoria Hall Theatre – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Bury Road, Old, Harlow CM17 0ED
During the bombings of World War II in London, four siblings are sent to a country house where they will be safe. One day, Lucy finds a wardrobe that transports her to a magical world called Narnia. After coming back, she soon returns to Narnia with her brothers, Peter and Edmund, and her sister, Susan. There they join the magical lion, Aslan, in the fight against the evil White Witch.
When: 17th Dec 2022 to 31st Dec 2022
Pantos in Clacton
Princes Theatre – Cinderella
Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex
You shall go to the ball this Christmas as Cinderella transforms from rags to riches, outwits her very Ugly Sisters, and with the help of her hilarious friend and one very magical Fairy Godmother, wins the heart of the dashing Prince Charming. Panto audiences will be in for a treat as the Cinderella cast will bring comedy, stunning vocals and plenty of surprises to a production packed full of music, dance, laughter and audience participation.
When: 10th Dec 2022 to 1st Jan 2023
West Cliff Theatre – Jack and the Beanstalk
Tower Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 1LE
Join Jack, Silly Billy and Dame Trott as they tangle with the town’s Squire and a whole host of other magical characters in this fun, family, traditional panto tale. Whilst Squire Tightfist dreams of controlling the whole town, Jack dreams of turning his family’s fortunes around and winning the heart of Squires beautiful daughter Jill.
Meanwhile his mother, Dame Trott, searches for the man of her dreams and Silly Billy dreams of a day off from working on the farm and performing in Sprigmere’s Got Talent!! Will Jack overcome all the odds in his pursuit of love and happiness?
When: 23rd Dec 2022
Pantos in Southend
Cliffs Pavilion – Snow White
Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA
Starring Ashley Banjo & Diversity, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be spectacularly brought to life with comedy, song and dance numbers, fabulous costumes and stunning scenery. Throw in a magical mirror, seven friendly dwarfs, a beautiful princess, a handsome prince and plenty of audience participation and you have the perfect recipe to outwit the Wicked Queen and let love prevail in this glittering festive treat for all ages.
When: 9th Dec 2022 to 31st Dec 2022
Pantos in Romford
Brookside Theatre – Elf the Musical
Romford War Memorial, 21a Eastern Road, Romford Essex RM1 3NH
Based on the much loved 2003 film, Elf the Musical is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.Featuring Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone).
When: 9th Dec 2022 to 23rd Dec 2022
Pantos in Braintree
The Bocking Arts Theatre – Robin Hood
15 Bocking End, Braintree, Essex, CM7 9AE
Pantomime returns to The Bocking Arts Theatre in Essex this Christmas with the ultimate pantomime adventure Robin Hood. Join the most heroic outlaw of them all Robin Hood as he strives to win the hand of Maid Marion while he and his Merry Men outwit the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. This panto has a fabulous cast, laugh out loud comedy, singalongs, bundles of audience participation with plenty of boos and hisses for all the family to enjoy.
When: 15th Dec 2022 to 24th Dec 2022
Pantos in Brentwood
Brentwood Theatre – The Twelve Days of Christmas
15 Shenfield Road Brentwood Essex CM15 8AG
The Turtle-Doves have just moved into Pear Tree Cottage with just twelve days to go until Christmas. While exploring their new home Henry and Piper (and their dog Goose) hear a mysterious noise coming from the attic but what’s causing the noise and will they be able to get the Cottage ready in just twelve days? Join two squabbling siblings in an adventure to find the five gold rings and restore the magic of Christmas.
The Twelve Days of Christmas is an exciting original family musical from the creative team of last year’s sell-out show The Night Before Christmas, produced by Brentwood Theatre and loosely adapted from the classic Christmas carol.
When: 19th Dec 2022
Best Pantomimes in London for 2022/23
If you are headed to London for the festive season over Christmas you may wish to treat yourself to one of London’s wonderful pantomimes. Here are a handful of the best pantomimes in London for 2022/23.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – Gillian Lynne Theatre
166 Drury Lane London, WC2B 5PW
A major new production of CS Lewis’ classic tale is at the West End on Drury Lane. Step through the wardrobe into the magical kingdom of Narnia for the most mystical of adventures in a faraway land. Join Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter as they wave goodbye to wartime Britain and say hello to a talking Faun, an unforgettable Lion and the coldest, cruellest White Witch. Voted the nation’s favourite novel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe now comes to the stage starring Samantha Womack as the White Witch and is guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages.
When: Runs until 8th Jan 2023
Jack and the Beanstalk – London Palladium
8 Argyll St, London W1F 7TF
This Christmas join comedy superstars Dawn French and Julian Clary, with Alexandra Burke making her Palladium pantomime debut, as they lead the cast of a brand-new production of Jack and the Beanstalk at London’s iconic home of pantomime! London’s best-loved panto will feature returning Palladium favourites Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot, along with all the spectacle and magic you’d expect from the UK’s biggest panto, including brand-new lavish sets and costumes. The star cast is completed with West End favourites Rob Madge, Natalie McQueen and Louis Gaunt, fresh from his success in Mary Poppins, in the title role of Jack.
When: 10th Dec 2022 to 15th Jan 2023
Jack and the Beanstalk – Lyric Hammersmith
Lyric Square, King St, London W6 0QL
‘Fee-fi-fo-fum’, Fleshcreep wants money from Jack and her mum. And if they don’t cough up, he’s going to take everything they’ve got and feed them to the evil giant in the sky. To save them from their fate, Jack swaps Daisy the cow for a bag of magic beans. But little do they know; a soaring adventure awaits…
Expect beanstalk climbing, giant defeating, golden egg laying, extreme skateboarding, milk explosions, singing cows, some absolutely outrageous outfits and of course Beyoncé!
When: 19th Nov 2022 to 7th Jan 2023
A Christmas Carol – The Old Vic
The Cut, London SE1 8NB
Matthew Warchus’ smash hit production of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol returns to The Old Vic for the 2022/2023 festive season. This adaptation for the stage was created by Jack Thorne who wrote Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and was responsible for the new adaptation of Woyzeck which starred John Boyega. The Cratchits make the most of the little they have while Scrooge is confronted by his miserly, lonely life of greed. Scrooge deals with his otherworldly visitors and we hope that change doesn’t come too late.
When: 12th Nov 2022 to 7th Jan 2023
Elf the Musical – Dominion Theatre
Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7AQ
If you’ve seen the movie you’ll love this, the stage version of Elf. It’s the tall tale of young orphan Buddy, who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s sack and ends up living with Santa at the North Pole. When William ‘Buddy’ Hobbs is transported to the North Pole, he’s convinced he’s an elf. But when he realises he’s actually a human being, he sets off for New York City in search of his family. Sadly Walter, Buddy’s father, doesn’t believe in the spirit of Christmas, and neither do most New York residents, cynical to the core.
When: 14th Nov 2022 to 7th Jan 2023
Cinderella – Theatre Royal Stratford East
Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford, London, E15 1BN
Each year, the Theater Royal’s panto tears up the rulebook and turns a classic story on its head to make it relevant to our local community and beyond. Get ready to experience Stratford East’s unique twist on this classic tale, set in the ancient home of Sphynx cats, pharaohs and the empress Cleopatra.
This year’s panto will feature all the right ingredients. You can expect a mix of show-stopping original music and laugh-out-loud comedy, alongside magical sets and costumes in this perfect festive treat for all ages.
When: 19th Nov 2022 to 7th Jan 2023
Robin Hood – Greenwich Theatre
Crooms Hill, London SE10 8ES
The poor citizens of Nottingham have just about had enough of their scheming Sheriff; relentlessly raising taxes and forcing folks to move out to the forest! But fear not, for the hero, Robin Hood, is there to right those wrongs! Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Let’s hope he can save the day alongside Maid Marion, Friar Tuck and the rest of the gang, who’ve all joined the good fight!
When: 24th Nov 2022 to 8th Jan 2023
Mother Goose – Hackney Empire
291 Mare Street, London E8 1EJ
The Mother of all pantomimes is back in Hackney this festive season, starring Clive Rowe as Mother Goose. First created in 1902 for Music Hall legend and Hackney Empire performer Dan Leno, they are celebrating 120 years of this iconic pantomime. What would you do if you found a magical goose who lays golden eggs?! That’s exactly what’s in store for Mother Goose. This reimagining of the classic rags-to-riches tale is the perfect festive treat. Expect larger than life characters, gloriously outrageous costumes, incredible live music, uncontrollable laughter and loads of audience participation.
When: 19th Nov 2022 to 31st Dec 2022