From Cinderella and Carols to Disco and Panto – Our Guide to the Best Live Shows this Christmas

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It’s the time of the year when Christmas music starts dominating radio stations, stores, and just about everywhere you go. For many, the music hits all the right spots, stirring up sweet and happy memories. But it’s also the time of the year when you are looking forward to making some new memories. And what better way to do so than by booking some performances, Christmas concerts and pantomimes to attend with friends and family?

There’s so much on offer, from recitals at your local church and community halls, to special candle-lit concerts, opera shows and more, but the ones below, in particular, caught our attention and we thought of sharing them with you.

The Gaiety Theatre’s 150th Pantomime, Dublin

Every family has a Christmas tradition. For many, a trip to the theatre to see a pantomime is a ritual that is taken very seriously, and everyone from the very young to the nans and the great grandads gather together for a pantomime. The Gaiety Theatre boasts of one of the longest-running performances and this year, it’s their 150th production. It’s on show now and runs until January 21st with extra performances added due to the growing demand.

For their 150th production, the Gaiety Theatre chose ‘Cinderella,’ perhaps one of the most loved fairy-tale of all times, and it stars Gaiety Panto Dame Joe Conlan as Nanny Scrumptious. Directed by Daryn Crosbie, it’s packed with song and dance, gorgeous costumes and of course, the inimitable panto antics.

It’s pertinent to mention here that Panto aficionados in Dublin are sometimes split into two groups, each fiercely loyal to their theatre of choice. While panto performances are available all over Ireland, in Dublin, there are fans who swear by the Gaiety Theatre, and then there are those who are more inclined to Olympia’s Panto, which has another long-running show and its own devoted share of audiences. In case, you belong to the Olympia side, this year their Panto offering is ‘Olly, Polly and the Magic Lamp’.

Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Dún Laoghaire

Encore Screening

The music from the original 1892 ballet is considered to be a Christmas classic, and even if you’re not a classical music aficionado, you would have heard Tchaikovsky’s score – world over, it signifies the start of people’s favourite holiday season. It also certainly helps that The Nutcracker is fittingly set on Christmas Eve.

Peter Wright’s much-loved production which is being showcased at the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire delights both kids and adults alike and keeps true to the spirit of this festive ballet classic. This production for The Royal Ballet is just perfect for the festive season with its gorgeous period designs, and combines the thrill of the fairy tale with spectacular dancing.

It takes place on the 14th and 15th of December (at the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire).

A Christmas Carol, Kildare

For all those who love Charles Dickens and his take on Christmas, this highly theatrical adaptation of A Christmas Carol would be right up your alley. It brings the colour and vivacity of perhaps the greatest of all Christmas stories to the intimate setting of The K Club’s Palmer Room. Maybe like Ebenezer Scrooge, the protagonist of Dicken’s novel, we can all turn in to a kinder, nicer version of ourselves, inspired duly by the play?

If a kinder version of yourself really appeals to you, you might want to know that A Christmas Carol is presented by Bewley’s Café Theatre and The K Club on December 9 and 10. While this performance takes place in Kildare, it’s worthwhile also to check out the other offerings at the Bewley’s Café Theatre (like James Joyce’s GRACE, for example). Ever since it opened its doors in 1999, it has emerged as Ireland’s foremost venue for lunchtime drama and has an international reputation for innovation and excellence. It’s such a perfect place to take your guests to, you can enjoy a lunch time concert and have the time before and after to explore the sights and sounds of Dublin. Especially if your visitors are coming during the Christmas period.

The Biggest Disco, Killarney

Now if you rather not do carols, Dickens or otherwise, and don’t really fancy ballet either, don’t worry. How about dancing your socks off? How does that sound to you for ringing in the festive season in a funky way? Taking place on December 16th, at INEC Arena Killarney, the Biggest Disco is an immersive music experience featuring 80’s, 90’s and 00’s, fancy dress, flash mobs, lots of confetti, fireworks, and many more special effects. If you like how this ‘sounds’ get working on your fancy dress inspiration, just right about now?

A Night at the Opera, Wicklow

Russborough House is often referred to as one of the most beautiful Georgian, Palladian house in Ireland. It’s a popular destination year round, and with plenty of locals and tourists flocking to its guided house tours as well as its gardens and park. They have an assortment of events lined up in the run-up to Christmas (a free X-mas wreath making class, a twilight guided tour of the house with mulled wine and mince pies), but a combination of Christmas opera, slow-cooked Irish Lamb Shank, and homemade apple crumble sounds just too good to resist. For ‘A Night at the Opera,’ the Drawing Room Opera Company will serenade you with their mesmerising voices, and you can expect popular opera and Christmas Classics. The event takes place on December 9, with dinner at 6 pm and the show at 7.30 pm at the Russborough House.

Laugh-a-lot with My Therapist Ghosted Me, Kerry

Some of us find carols or the entire run-up to the festive season a bit cheesy. That doesn’t mean that that we slot them into the category of Mr. Grinch, for it’s perfectly understandable that some people would rather just go out with friends and family to events that make them laugh, shaking off all those calories that the mince-pies and mulled wine has piled around their bellies. For that reason, we thought we would list this wildly popular performance out for you. Those who missed out on watching Vogue Williams and Joanne McNally perform in Dublin, can still book tickets for ‘My Therapist Ghosted Me’ in Kerry, at the INEC Arena on December 13 and 14. (The Mayo dates are all sold out.) We realise the show appeals more to women, (or so we think), so it might make for a perfect girl’s night out to ring in the festive season? Of course, devoted husbands and partners are very welcome to tag along if they so wish!

Whatever your style, classic, new, or outright funky, we hope you get to enjoy some really nice performances in the run up to the festive season.

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Prerna Shah
Prerna Shah
Prerna Shah is a media and content professional with over a decade of experience in both print as well as digital. She pursues her love of a good story and storytelling by writing features, blogs, essays and interviews.

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