Family favourites Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White will all delight audiences at a host of pantomimes across Lancashire and Blackpool this Christmas.
But it’s not just the classics being told in theatres across the land this year, as a number of amateur dramatic groups have written their own original pieces to keep families entertained throughout the festive season.
One is set at Clitheroe Castle, another sees Sherlock Holmes step into the shoes of Ebenezer Scrooge, and one even sees Santa kidnapped by goblins!
Here’s a guide to upcoming pantomimes and Christmas shows in the area:
The festive spirit will kick off this Friday, December 4, with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs a little further afield at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool.
Starring Lancashire favourite Steve Royle as Muddles, comedy actress Su Pollard as the wicked queen, and Dancing on Ice star Daniel Whiston as the prince, it runs until January 3 at the Church Street theatre.
Visit www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk for tickets.
A run of the famous fable of Jack and the Beanstalk also starts on December 4, at the Lancaster Grand Theatre.
It runs until December 29 at the St Leonard’s Gate venue, from the Footlights amateur drama group.
Visit www.lancastergrand.co.uk for tickets.
Elsewhere in Lancaster, the Dukes is staging Beauty and the Beast for its Christmas show, although not as a pantomime.
It runs until January 2. Visit dukes-lancaster.org for tickets.
On Saturday, December 5, the Grand Theatre in Clitheroe stages a very homegrown pantomime, Jack and the Golden Staircase of Clitheroe Castle.
Produced by the town’s Ribcaged Productions, it tells the tale of Jack, who ventures into the grounds of Clitheroe Castle, and after passing through a door that says ‘Do Not Open’, he finds the fabled golden staircase that leads on a magical adventure through some familiar locations in the Ribble Valley.
Visit www.thegrandvenue.co.uk for tickets.
Sleeping Beauty is the classic tale brought to life at Preston’s Guild Hall from December 7 to January 2, written, directed by and starring comedy favourite Phil Walker as Silly Billy.
Phoenix Nights royalty Archie Kelly is the King, Coronation Street’s Jacqueline Leonard steps on to the stage as the evil Maleficent who vows to put the princess to sleep, and Hayley Hassall, as seen on CBBC and Newsround, will be on hand as the Good Fairy.
Visit www.prestonguildhall.com for tickets.
Buckshaw VAMP (Village Amateur Musical Performers) also presents Snow White and the Seven Dwarves on December 6, 12 and 13.
The show, which tells the story of a princess finding refuge from her evil stepmother, will be staged at Buckshaw Village Community Centre in Unity Place.
Visit www.buckshawvamp.co.uk for tickets.
Cinderella is this year’s choice for the St Ambrose Players pantomime, based in Leyland.
The play, at St Ambrose Church Hall, Moss Lane, runs from December 8 to December 12, and tells the story of a maid who finds love with a handsome prince when she secretly attends a grand ball.
Visit www.stambroseplayers.co.uk for tickets.
The Garstang Theatre Group have announced their pantomime this year will be Robin Hood and The Babes In The Wood.
It will be presented at Garstang Community Academy from December 8 to December 12.
Visit www.garstangtheatregroup.co.uk for tickets.
It’s family favourite Aladdin at Chorley Little Theatre in Dole Lane from December 11 to December 19, by the Chorley Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society (CADOS).
Featuring slapstick, jokes, songs, silliness, adventure and excitement, it tells the story of an orphan boy who finds a magic lamp - complete with a genie to grant him wishes.
Visit www.chorleylittletheatre.com for tickets.
In Morecambe, a number of Christmas shows are planned at the Platform in Marine Road West.
The Christmas storytelling season this year includes The Great Santa Kidnap, and Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol, both on December 23.
In The Great Santa Kidnap, the play’s characters need the audience’s help to find Santa who has been kidnapped by goblins, and in Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson’s failed attempts to cheer Holmes into celebrating the holiday season forces the unrepentant, ill-tempered detective to deduce the facts and solve the most important mystery of his life – past, present and future.
Visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/platform for tickets.
Dick Whittington will be retold by the Adlington St Paul’s Players at Adlington Community Centre in Railway Road.
That will performed from December 27 to January 2, focusing on the journey of a young boy travelling to London to find fame and fortune.
Visit www.stpaulsplayers.co.uk for tickets.
And taking us into January is Wigan Little Theatre’s production of Aladdin, which is staged from January 8 to 23.
Visit www.wiganlittletheatre.co.uk for tickets.
Further afield, there are some top shows planned for the likes of Manchester and Liverpool.
Ice-skating icons Torvill and Dean make their pantomime debut as the Fairy Godparents in rag to riches tale, Cinderella, at the Manchester Opera House from December 5 to January 3.
They will be joined by Wicked star Liam Doyle, funny-man Samuel Holmes, and stand-up comedian and actor Andre Vincent.
At Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, the magical story of Aladdin will be told, featuring Heartbeat’s David Lonsdale, Radio City presenter Claire Simmo, former Coronation Street star Scott Wright and ex-Brookside actress Ann Marie Davies.
That runs from December 11 to January 2.
It’s Dick Whittington at the Liverpool Empire Theatre from December 12 to January 3, starring Coronation Street’s Sally Lindsay, Radio City’s Leanne Campbell, Corrie’s Eric Potts, City Talk’s Pete Price and Emmerdale’s Kurtis Stacey.
For more details and tickets for the shows outside of Lancashire, visit www.atgtickets.com.