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9th December 2021

All I Want For Christmas is Theatre: What’s on in Manchester

Find out what shows are heading to Manchester’s main theatres over the holiday season
All I Want For Christmas is Theatre: What’s on in Manchester
Photo: The cast of Six by Johan Persson.

ABBA Mania

Opera House (Friday 7th January)

“ABBA Mania is now accepted as the world’s number one touring ABBA tribute production. Featuring a special concert presentation, which celebrates the music of ABBA in a respectful and enjoyable way, reviving special memories of when ABBA ruled the airwaves.”

Photo: ABBA Mania.

Adam Kay: The Nightshift Before Christmas

The Lowry, Lyric Theatre (Monday 13th December)

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat… but 1.4 million NHS staff are heading off to work. Following the multi-million-selling success of This Is Going To Hurt, Adam Kay delves back into his diaries for a hilarious peek behind the blue curtain at Christmastime.

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the front line, removing babies and baubles from the various places they get stuck, at the most wonderful time of the year. This heart-warming and hilarious live show mixes highlights from the book with Kay’s award-winning stand-up comedy and exclusive new content.”

Photo: Adam Kay.


Opera House (11th December – 2nd January)

“Join the notorious powerhouse Alexandra Burke, the fabulous Ceri Dupree, the hilarious Ben Nickless and musical theatre sensation Matthew Croke in this year’s pantomime Aladdin at Manchester Opera House this Christmas. Follow Aladdin on a spectacular adventure he’ll never forget, with flying carpets, a wish-granting genie, an evil sorcerer and plenty of festive magic. Featuring a lamp-load of comedy, jaw-dropping special effects, sensational songs and plenty of boos and hisses, the whole family will enjoy.”

Check out our magical preview!

Photo: ATG.

The Book of Mormon

Palace Theatre (8th December – 1st January)

“The New York Times calls it ‘The best musical of this century.’ The Washington Post says, ‘It is the kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals.’ And Entertainment Weekly raves, ‘Grade A: the funniest musical of all time.’ It’s The Book of Mormon, the nine-time Tony Award and four-time Olivier Award-winning Best Musical.”

Check out our biblically good preview!

Photo: The Book of Mormon.

Bourgeois & Maurice: That’s Snowbiz!

Home, Theatre 1 (17th-18th December)

“Critically acclaimed musical monsters Bourgeois & Maurice return to HOME to present a Christmas show like no other! Joined by different special guests each night, handpicked by Bourgeois & Maurice from their little black book of showbiz contacts, this is a guaranteed night of freaky, festive joy. Sit back, relax and give in to the social pressure of rampant consumerism this Christmas, after all…That’s Snowbiz!”

Photo: Bourgeois and Maurice.


Home, Theatre 1 (16th-23rd December)

“Duckie is a reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling with a message of tolerance and self acceptance at its core. Family-friendly glamour and glitz takes centre stage in a fabulous children’s show originally created by cabaret superstar Le Gateau Chocolat. Set in an animal circus, we join Duckie on an adventure of self-discovery, asking questions of the ‘happy ever after’ in a celebration of difference. Walking a little differently? Sounding a bit strange? Watch Duckie triumph by realising that these are his strengths. While Le Gateau Chocolat continues to spread his wings, an exciting adventure awaits our newest duckling, with a brand new cast member joining the Duckie family this year, adding their own twist to this classic tale of identity and belonging.”

Photo: Le Gateau Chocolat.

Little Penguin’s First Christmas: A Snowbabies story

The Lowry, Lowry Studio (18th-31st December)

“From the company that brought you the sell-out productions of Snowbabies! and Aleena’s Garden, Little Penguin’s First Christmas is an immersive, festive experience for babies aged 0-36 months and their grown-ups! Filled with puppetry, original music and sensory delights to stimulate and captivate, this show is a perfect first theatrical experience for your little one. Join Little Penguin in her winter wonderland as she discovers the magic of her first Christmas.”

Good luck getting a ticket!

Photo: Little Penguin’s First Christmas.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

The Lowry, Lyric Theatre (8th December – 15th January)

“Elliott & Harper Productions and Catherine Schreiber present the Leeds Playhouse production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Direct from London, the smash hit production of C.S. Lewis’ classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, voted the nations favourite book in 2019, is coming to The Lowry this Christmas. Step through the wardrobe into the enchanted kingdom of Narnia. Join Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter as they wave goodbye to wartime Britain and embark on the most magical of adventures in a frozen, faraway land where they meet a Faun, talking Beavers, the noble king of Narnia, Aslan, and the coldest, most evil of all, The White Witch. This critically acclaimed production is pure theatrical magic.”

Check out our chilling preview!

Photo: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Nina Conti: The Dating Show

Opera house (Saturday 8th January)

“British Comedy Award winner Nina Conti is back on tour! The quick-thinking queen of ventriloquism brings you her pioneering new dating show. She’ll be like Cilla Black with masks. Derailed. Not so much a Blind Date as a re-voiced one. There’s no promise that true love will be found, but a firm guarantee that big laughs will be had in the reign of this “voice-throwing queen” (London Evening Standard).”

Photo: Nina Conti.

School of Rock

Palace Theatre (4th – 15th January)

School of Rock is the global hit musical based on the iconic movie starring Jack Black. Wannabe rock star Dewey Finn is cast out by his dive‐bar bandmates and finds himself in desperate need of cash. Posing as a substitute music teacher at an elite prep school, he exposes his students to the rock gods he idolises, transforming them into a mind‐blowing rock band. While teaching these pint‐sized prodigies what it means to truly rock out, Dewey falls for the school’s beautiful, but uptight headmistress, Miss Mullins, helping her rediscover the wild child within. But, will they all find redemption at the battle of the bands?”

Photo: School of Rock.


The Lowry, Quays Theatre (14th December – 9th January)

“SIX returns to The Lowry this Christmas for a run in the Quays Theatre. From Tudor Queens to Pop Princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic to tell their tales, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of 21st century girl power.”

Good luck getting a ticket!

Photo: Six.

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

The Royal Exchange Theatre (4th December – 15th January)

“A devilish offering from award-winning writer David Greig, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart is a wild musical play that sees Scottish folk songs collide with decadent karaoke under the direction of Debbie Hannan. Oozing with wit, passion, seduction and sambucas, this show is a riotous mix of rhyming couplets, live music and a glimpse of the underworld.

“It’s the winter solstice and lover of old things and traditional ways, Prudencia Hart, fresh from her PhD, is conference bound. In a hot stuffy hall on the borders, she shares her theories on Hell in folk literature. But, as the snow falls thick and fast the small-town flings off its folk traditions, dumps Robert Burns for a bit of Kylie, and grabs the karaoke mic with both hands. The night gets increasingly raucous and it’s astonishing what Prudencia will discover between the snow and the vodka shots – not least, what she finds out about herself.”

Check out our strange preview!

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart
Photo: Royal Exchange Theatre.

The Wiz

Hope Mill Theatre (24th November – 16th January)

“This Christmas, Hope Mill Theatre are delighted to be staging the first new UK production of The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in 10 years. With music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls, book by William F. Brown and original orchestrations by Harold Wheeler, The Wiz is a retelling of L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Check out our wicked preview and our wonderful review!

The Wiz
Photo: Hope Mill Theatre.

So, there you have it – all the shows to catch at Manchester’s main theatres this Christmas. If you’re not here over Christmas, don’t fret, for you’re in for a treat in the new year – stay tuned!

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected].

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