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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.

Oh No It Isn’t!, Ha-Hum-Ah Theatre, The Old Library, Bodmin, 27 Nov – 22 Dec

They’re the best of sisters onstage but the worst of friends off it. It’s the final performance of Cinderella in a moth-eaten, regional theatre and backstage tensions threaten to boil over onstage. Will the egotism, one-up-manship and politics remain confined to the dressing room? Will the ugly sisters keep the professional professional and the personal personal?

Based on a lifetime of experience onstage and backstage Oh No It Isn’t! is a hilariously funny and beautifully moving new play exploring the highs and lows of life in the theatre. Written by Great British Pantomime Award nominee Luke Adamson and using real anecdotes and stories it is an impassioned yet tender love letter to the world of performance.

Nativity! The Musical at Theatre Royal Plymouth. The show has had two sell-out seasons on the West End and this year will again star Love Island’s Dani Dyer – feel-good family fun at its finest (26 – 30 Nov).

Candlelit Advent Carol Service, Truro Cathedral, Sun 1 Dec

Get your fill of carols started early with this beautiful candlelit service in the magnificent Truro Cathedral.

Treasure Island, Wadebridge Town Hall, 4-7 Dec

A collaboration between Hopeful Monsters: A Wadebridge Theatre Company and Wadebridge Town Council, this promises to be a swashbuckling evening of laughter, slapstick, songs and shenanigans for all the family.

Near.Ta Theatre Christmas. Time, venues around Cornwall,  Fri 6 Dec – Thurs 26 Dec

Bringing bucketloads of Christmas spirit, and back again for 2019, 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!

Rogue Theatre’s Winter Wood, Tehidy Woods, Sat 7 – Sat 30 Dec

Multi-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 2019).

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.

Mazymeg and the Honey Bees by Angel Heart Theatre, Mount Pleasant Eco Park, Sat 7 Dec

Angelheart Theatre are back with a brand new show for the whole family. Albert lives with his honey bees on Dartmoor, a mysterious land where nothing is as it seems. Weaving threads of Devon folklore and song, a soundtrack by Dartmoor musicians and shape-shifting puppetry, Mazymeg is a spell-binding tale from an ancient land.

Cirque Du Ciel Charity (CDC) ‘Our Circus’, The Acorn, Penzance, Sun 8 Dec

Roll up! Roll Up! Step inside with us and discover from a child’s perspective what learning, and performing circus means to them, and what it gives to them. This show marks the beginning of the second year of ‘Circus & Rainbows’ existence, and is both a celebration, and a culmination of the efforts of all the children involved in the project, in it’s first year.

The performers involved range from 7-14 years of age, and all proceeds from the show will go directly to supporting CDC’s circus skill-based activity project work locally.

A Cornish Christmas Carol, The Acorn, Penzance, Mon 9 Dec – Sat 14 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.

Sleeping Beauty: A Maleficent Tale, Sterts Theatre, Liskeard (11-14 Dec)

This brand new, hour-long pantomime tells the tale of Maleficent, Queen of the fairies who puts a curse on the baby princess Aurora. Indulge in an extended winter warmer interval where warm mince pies, mulled wine and hot chocolate will be available, with an opportunity to meet some of the characters before the second act.

Aladdin, Lane Theatre, Newquay, 12-14 Dec

Oddsocks are returning to Lane Theatre with their fabulous Pantomime which this year is Aladdin. The story may be familiar but there will be a modern twist. Book soon as it sold out last year.

Treasure Island by Miracle Theatre, Princess Pavilion, Falmouth, Fri 13 Dec – Sun 5 Jan

Yo, ho, ho and a bucket of… fun. Miracle will be back at Princess Pavilion this December with a brand new festive treat, full of music and laughter, freely adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

This epic nautical adventure story, full of swashbuckling sea shanty singing characters, will have all the saltiness of the original nineteenth-century setting with the added flavours of Miracle humour and seasonal fun.

Jingle All the Way – Truro Cathedral Choir Concert, Truro Cathedral, Sat 14 Dec

Join the boys, girls and adult professional singers of Truro Cathedral Choir for this year’s Christmas concert – its sure to get you into the festive mood! Alongside seasonal favourites like O holy night, the Cherry Tree Carol, In the bleak midwinter and the Sussex Carol, the choir will perform some less well-known gems including a powerful setting of the Coventry Carol and a virtuosic arrangement of Jingle Bells.

The Mousehole Cat, Solomon Browne Hall, Mousehole, Sat 14 – Tues 31 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 21, 22, 24, 28 and 29 Dec are designated ‘relaxed performances’.

BBC Cornwall Carol Concert, Truro Cathedral, Tues 17 Dec

This seasonal celebration evening will include the winners of the BBC Radio Cornwall ‘Sing Out’ competition for Cornish school choirs, traditional music, Christmas Carols and readings.

Aladdin: Christmas Pantomime, Base Camp Cornwall, Gwel an Mor, Weds 18 Dec

Join Aladdin and his mystical Genie on their perilous quest to win the hand of the beautiful Princess Jasmine. Pursued by the wicked Abanazar and hindered by the hopeless Wishee Washee and Widow Twankee, get ready for magic, mystery and mayhem in this traditional family Pantomime, with a modern edge!”

Johnny Cowling’s Christmas Show, Lane Theatre, Newquay, Thurs 19 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.

Airfish Circus ‘Naughty and Nice’, The Acorn, Penzance, Fri 20 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.

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!

Montol, Penzance, Fri 20 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, Mon 23 and Tues 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, these services are usually filled to capacity so arrive early to avoid disappointment. This service will be sung by the choir with its boy choristers.

Find more ideas here

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