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Cultural Christmas in Cornwall: panto, theatre and music

Looking for something cultural to mix things up a bit this festive season? Read on for our top picks.

Quick, diaries out and tickets booked – before everything sells out.

Cinderella, Hall for Cornwall, Thurs 2 Dec – Sun 2 Jan 2022

Packed with all the traditional ingredients of laugh out loud comedy, spectacular dancing, live music and singing – not to mention a large sprinkling of Cornish heart and fairytale magic – our homegrown retelling of the classic CINDERELLA story promises to be a ball for adults and children alike.

Truro’s Big Sing, Truro Cathedral, Fri 3 Dec

Get your carol on early with Truro’s Big Sing, held in the Cathedral Nave and run by Christian Aid. Every year Cornish choirs are invited to sing as part of this traditional Carol Service and this year the Big Sing will feature: Truro Methodist Church Choir and Cornwall Junior Choir.

The StoryExplorers by Angel Heart Theatre, Mount Pleasant Eco Park, Fri 3 Dec

Angel Heart Theatre are back…Roll Up! Roll Up! Meet Nellie Natinski and Nathaniel Nautilus! Intrepid adventurers and guardians of the intriguingly ingenious, much loved StoryGenerator.

Discover what secrets this mysterious machine holds and listen to their tantalising tales from around the world. The StoryExplorers is a dynamic new collaboration between Pip Jones of Skylarker and James Richardson of Angel Heart Theatre – held in the giant tipi at a child friendly time of 4.30pm.

Airfish Circus ‘Naughty and Nice’, The Acorn, Penzance, Sat 4 Dec (No under 18s)

A ‘Christmas Circus Spectacular’ for adults only! Join Airfish Circus on a racy and raucous romp, designed to put you in the party mood, and set you up for a happy holiday season, no kids allowed.

Airfish Circus returns to the Acorn with another festive Holiday Spectacular for Winter 2021, (it’s getting to be a tradition).  Drive away the Winter Blues with some adult circus fun!  Airfish Circus is a collective of locally based circus professionals, semi-professionals & enthusiastic amateurs with extraordinary skills. Think of this show as a fantastic excuse to dress up and have a ball, inside an elaborate pop up Christmas Card, with a smattering of burlesque glamour, and don’t forget your mistletoe!

Finnegan & Tweed, Ha-Hum-Ah Theatre, Courtroom 2, Shire Hall, Bodmin, Tues 7 Dec – Thurs 23 Dec

Finnegan & Tweed were once the undisputed kings of the Victorian Music Hall. However with Tweed long gone, the remaining Finnegan has fallen on hard times and become a Scrooge. Little does he know that he’s in for a rude awakening. With his reputation, theatre and morality at stake can Finnegan seize this intervention and avert crisis to become a better man? Or will old habits die hard?

Paying homage to the early days of Music Hall, Finnegan & Tweed injects comedy and a rich sound scape into a heart-warming festive tale. Drawn from the works of Charles Dickens and performed by one actor, expect more Christmas gags and puns than a Christmas show should ever contain!

Beauty & the Beast, Lane Theatre, Newquay, Thurs 9 Dec – Sat 11 Dec

Back for their third visit, Odd Socks entertainment is providing another traditional pantomime – Beauty and the Beast – with the odd modern reference. As ever, a great time will be enjoyed by all who come to see if Beauty will get her Prince and good triumph over bad. Shows are at 7.30 pm each evening with some matinees on some of the days. Please check the tickets page for available times.

Rogue Theatre’s Winter Wood, Tehidy Woods, Sat 11 Dec – Thurs 30 Dec

Muddy-Award-winning Rogue Theatre returns to the wilds of Tehidy Woods this December with their enchanting winter celebration Winter Wood (with all-new stories for 2021).

Follow the path deeper into the Winter Wood, land of myth, legend and festive magic as Old Man Winter’s world of stories, faeries and winter wonders comes to life.

Created by Cornwall’s immersive and highly visual Rogue Theatre, Winter Wood is an adventure for families and those who still believe in magic.

A Cornish Christmas Carol, The Acorn, Penzance, Sat 11 Dec – Weds 22 Dec

Over the course of one miserable, mizzly, Cornish night, join miserly Scrooge and a gaggle of ghostly ghouls who force him to revisit his PAST(y), explore his (Ker)NOW and decide if his FUTURE will Come-to-Good.

From the team that brought you Trevithick, The Cornish Caretakers and HIRETH, comes this irreverent, new adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic.

Weaving physical comedy, music and gags a-plenty, A CHRISTMAS CORNISH CAROL is a festive treat for the whole family.

The Mousehole Cat, Solomon Browne Hall, Mousehole, Sat 11 Dec – Fri 24 Dec

A magical puppet and live action production of Antonia Barber’s classic children’s story, The Mousehole Cat, performed in the heart of Mousehole alongside the village’s famous Christmas light display. Based on a well-known Cornish legend this uniquely heart-warming story of the friendship between a fearless fisherman and his devoted cat will warm your cockles… almost as much as an ‘efty portion of stargazy pie! This show lasts for approximately one hour. Last year it sold out, so book early! All tickets £10.

For adults and children who might benefit from a more relaxed environment, or are uncomfortable with sudden lighting changes or loud noises, including those with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, sensory or communication needs or a learning disability, the 11.30am shows on 12, 18, 20, 21, 23 and 24 Dec are designated ‘relaxed performances’.

Johnny Cowling’s Christmas Show, Lane Theatre, Newquay, Thurs 16 Dec

Cornish favourite entertainer and singer Johnny Cowling will once again be coming to the Lane Theatre with his usual mix of fun and a bit of music. Early booking is recommended as this show is usually a sell-out.

Near.Ta Theatre Christmas. Time, venues around Cornwall, Thurs 16 Dec – Mon 27 Dec

Bringing bucketloads of Christmas spirit, and back again for 2021, is Near-ta Theatre’s festive comedy, Christmas. Time.!

Charlie and Toby are feeling low, and why wouldn’t they? It’s Christmas Day and they’re serving time at Her Majesty’s pleasure. But why shouldn’t they be having a Merry Christmas in spite of their incarceration? What’s stopping them from creating Christmas around them? Absolutely nothing! And so they set off on their festival of carols, Claus, Christ and custody!

Aladdin, Theatre Royal, Plymouth, Fri 17 Dec – Sat 15 Jan

Flying carpets, a wish-granting genie, an evil sorcerer and comedian Joe Pasquale in the part of Wishee-Washee. This is last year’s rescheduled show, with 2020 tickets carried over, but with over 1000 seats to fill, there’s still plenty available. Sure to be a big night out in what is the largest regional producing theatre in the UK. £18 – £42

Twisted Christmas, Owdyado Theatre, Sterts Theatre, Liskeard, Fri 17 Dec

This selection of original dramas includes tales of how to buy the perfect gift for your unloved ones, the dark side of Christmas cracker jokes, and one woman’s maniacal plot to murder Santa Claus.

Influenced by cult classics such as Inside No.9, The Twilight Zone and Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected, Twisted Christmas promises a darkly comic evening of macabre mini plays all with a festive flavour‘

Please note – this is not a kid’s show – it contains strong language and adult references so we recommended an age of 12+.

The Christmassy Christmas Show, Squashbox Theatre, Sterts Theatre, Liskeard, Weds 22 Dec

The Christmassy Christmas Show of Christmassy Christmasness! is an over-stuffed stocking of seasonal surprises crammed with puppets, songs, quizzes and comedy, and over-flowing with crazy characters, silly slapstick, tall tales and fantastic facts – all presented in that unique Squashbox style!

Montol, Penzance, Tues 21 Dec 

Montol is Cornwall’s traditional festival of midwinter on 21 Dec (the Winter Solstice) in Penzance. Dancers in full disguise, called Guisers, parade the streets, accompanied by music from peccadillos, drumming and burning torches.

Nine Lessons and Carols, Truro Cathedral, Thurs 23 and Fri 24 Dec

The ‘Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols’ services are a much loved and historic part of Christmas celebrations in Cornwall. Devised in 1880 by Bishop Benson, the first Bishop of Truro, and then adopted almost universally by every church of every denomination, these services are usually filled to capacity so arrive early to avoid disappointment. The first service will be sung by the choir and the girl choristers, the second, with its boy choristers – and live streamed on their YouTube channel if you can’t attend in person.

Find more ideas here

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