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Christmas pantomimes and shows pepper festive programmes of North East venues

The North East has an embarrassment of festive riches when it comes to top drawer Christmas shows for all the family. Here's our highlights

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Snow White, November 25-January 18, 08448 112121 or www.theatreroyal.co.uk

Clive Webb, Danny Adams and Chris Hayward - Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
Clive Webb, Danny Adams and Chris Hayward - Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
 

The record breaking apple of the Theatre Royal’s eye will be polished and ready to go as the story of Snow White is told in a classic 21st century pantomime manner, guaranteed to delight both the young and the young at heart. Promising to be the fairest one of all, this year’s Yuletide spectacular is an extra special one for stalwarts Clive Webb and Danny Adams who are celebrating 10 years of treading the pantomime boards together on Tyneside. Our money is on this being a hilarious as well as very happy anniversary for the father and son team.

Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre, Newcastle

Cinderella, December 5-30, 0844 493 9999 and www.millvolvotynetheatre.co.uk

Audiences are being promised a ball when the stage comes alive with a pantomime telling of the classic fairytale Cinderella. The long-serving Newcastle Pantomime Company - Maxie Peters, Kevin O’Keefe and Charlie Richmond are among the much-loved faces returning to the panto stage - are encouraging people to join Cinders as she struggles with her sinister stepmother and squabbling stepsisters (who are less than pleasing to the eye) while dreaming of finding her true love.

The odds are stacked against her but we’re thinking her Fairy Godmother might just get her to the ball to find her Prince Charming on time. So before midnight.

Playhouse Whitley Bay

Beauty and the Beast, December 13-January 4, 0844 248 1588 or www.whitleybayplayhouse.co.uk

The cast of Beauty and the Beast at Whitley Bay Playhouse
The cast of Beauty and the Beast at Whitley Bay Playhouse
 

Two well known faces from the small screen are heading to the region to help tell a tale as old as time in Whitley Bay this Christmas.

Former Emmerdale star Roxanne Pallett will take on the leading role of Belle while Hollyoaks and Holby City actor Jeremy Edwards will play the vain and villainous Gaston. Expect a sing-a-long soundtrack, cracking costumes and plenty of story book magic. .

Sunderland Empire

Snow White, December 12-January 4, 0844 871 3022 or www.atgtickets.com/shows/snow-white/sunderland-empire

Hi-De-Hi legend Su Pollard is bracing herself for plenty of boos as she steps into the cloak (and suitably flaboyant spectacles) of the wicked queen on Wearside for the festive season.

It may be the season of goodwill but the mood inside her castle will be anything but as she grows more and more jealous of stepdaughter Snow White, who talking mirror knows is the fairest of them all.

It’s going to be left up to the Prince, played by dashing Dancing on Ice star Matt Lapinskas to save the day, while CBeebies’ Andrew Agnew will be taking care of laughs.

People’s Theatre, Newcastle

Rapunzel, December 6-14, 0191 265 5020 or www.ptag.org.uk

In the last few years, the People’s panto has become a bit of a Tyneside institution, and fans will be pleased to hear its returning production team have been back at the tinsel-dripping drawing board to come up with another corker for 2014.

Penned once again by award-winning writer Philip Meeks, Rapunzel is promising to be more than a safe pair of hands when it comes to carrying on the People’s rich vein of pantomime form.

You can be sure this version of the old favourite will be packed full of cheeky twists, sing-along songs and fun for everyone.

Customs House, South Shields

Little Red Riding Hood, December 2-January 10, 0191 454 1234 or www.customshouse.co.uk

You’ve got plenty of chances to go into the woods this Christmas as the Customs House offers its own take on the famous fairy tale.

Panto legend Ray Spencer is ready to be glammed up as he returns to the stage as resident dame Granny Hood. That wolf, who seems intent on ruining the panto parade, better watch out.

Consett Empire

Aladdin, December 5-31, 01207 218 171 or www.leisureworks.net/event/681/aladdin-consetts-family-pantomime

Stars of the Empire Theatre's pantomime, Aladdin in Consett
Stars of the Empire Theatre's pantomime, Aladdin in Consett
 

After breaking box office records last year thanks to a popular panto take on Snow White, Leah Bell and supporting company including Jason Jones, Jordan Todd, Harriet Povey & Bionik Funk return to showcase the magic of the lamp as well as the odd flying carpet as they tell the tale of Aladdin.

Lee Brannigan takes on the role of Widow Twankey while David John Hopper plays the Genie of that special lamp. Expect special effects aplenty and more than a few opulent adventures.

Northern Stage, Newcastle

The Christmas Grump, November 15-January 5 and Get Santa, December 1-27, 0191 265 5020 or www.northernstage.co.uk

Michael Blair as Mr Scratch in The Christmas Grump
Michael Blair as Mr Scratch in The Christmas Grump
 

A duo of productions have once again been programmed to ensure there’s something to delight all ages this Christmas time at Northern Stage.

The Christmas Grump is tailored towards children under six and their families, and takes its inspiration from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Rich toyshop owner, Mr Scratch is miserable, mean and miserly in spite of his success... will that noise in the cellar offer a route to him seeing the light?

Get Santa - a show for everyone else promises songs, slapstick and comedy in abundance. It tells the story of Holly, a frustrated little girl who is tired of not getting what she wants from Santa, and so kidnaps his hopeless son, with unexpected and magical results.

The Maltings, Berwick upon Tweed

Dick Whittington, December 19-30, 01289 330 999 or www.maltingsberwick.co.uk

Cast members of The Maltings' production of Dick Whittington
Cast members of The Maltings' production of Dick Whittington
 

The bright lights of Berwick are more than enough to entice young Dick who is seeking his fortune.

Unfortunately for him, the streets aren’t paved exactly with gold and are being kept up by an evil army of rats intent on causing destruction. Dick’s goig to need the help of his trusty cat, Tommy, if he’s to save the day. So it’s all hands on deck for a nautical (but nice) adventure.

Darlington Civic Theatre

The Chuckles of Oz, December 6-January 11, 01325 486555 or www.darlingtoncivic.co.uk

The Chuckles of Oz panto, will be showing at Darlington Civic Theatre
The Chuckles of Oz panto, will be showing at Darlington Civic Theatre
 

Forget the great Wizard, if you follow the yellow brick road in Darlington you’ll be off to see one of TV’s most famous double acts, The Chuckle Brothers. Prank prone Paul and Barry are back by popular demand and will be joined by Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion for a re-telling of the famous silver screen musical.

Billingham Forum

Aladdin, December 6-January 11, 01642 55263 or www.forumtheatrebillingham.co.uk

Benidorm star Jake Canuso is swapping the Hotel Solana for the Forum over Christmas and New Year as he prepares to take on the role of panto villain Abanazar who is intent on ruining Aladdin’s life for his own gains.

The TV star will be joined on stage by Brennan Reece as the have-a-go-hero himself, Natalie Pilkington as the princess and Craig Ansell as Widow Twankey.

Middlesbrough Theatre

Jack and the Beanstalk, December 5-January 4, 01642 81 51 81 or www.middlesbroughtheatre.co.uk

Shelley Anne Rivers and John Altman who star in Middlesbrough Theatre's production of Jack and the Beanstalk
Shelley Anne Rivers and John Altman who star in Middlesbrough Theatre's production of Jack and the Beanstalk
 

Eastenders’ Nasty Nick aka John Altman will need to be at his villainous best in Teesside over the festive season as he steps into the sinister shoes of Fleshcreep in the pantomime adaptation of the classic tale.

Join Jack as he scales the magical beanstalk to save Daisy the Cow while trying to escape the clutches of the UK’s most infamous soap baddie.

Gala Theatre, Durham

Aladdin, 27 November to 3 January and Elf’s Christmas Adventure, December 16-24, 03000 266600 or www.galadurham.co.uk

Durham's Gala Theatre Pantomime for 2014 is Aladdin
Durham's Gala Theatre Pantomime for 2014 is Aladdin
 

The Gala is doing something a bit different this Christmas, offering two Christmas productions.

The venue’s pantomime favourites are lined up to wow audiences with the flying carpet-laden story of Aladdin. Resident baddie Neil Armstrong will take on the role of evil Abanazar, while Paul Hartley plays daft laundry lad Wishee Washee.

Meanwhile there is also a charming Christmas tale on offer for the under fives. Young audiences are invited to join Elf as he deals with the catastrophe of the reindeer’s magic flying dust being knocked over before the big night of deliveries gets underway,

Phoenix Theatre, Blyth

Sleeping Beauty, December 6-14

Sleeping Beauty at Blyth Phoenix Theatre
Sleeping Beauty at Blyth Phoenix Theatre
 

The Phoenix has a new manager at the helm in the form of Richie Ross and he’s arriving at the theatre at a good time. Hot on the heels of current production Joseph & His Amazing Tecnhicolour Dreamcoat comes this family pantomime which is sure to warm the cockles as winter will inevitably take hold.

Tickets from the Phoenix box office, 01670 367 228 or www.phoenixtheatre.org.uk

Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham

Wind in the Willows, December 11-28, 01434 652 477 or www.queenshall.co.uk

Wind in the Willows at Queen's Hall Arts Centre
Wind in the Willows at Queen's Hall Arts Centre
 

Presented by Oddsocks Productions, this promises to be a charming production. Audiences of all ages are being invited to join Mole, Ratty, Badger and the boisterous, bumptious, loud and lovable Toad as the adventure of a lifetime unravels on the riverbank. Boasting live music, hilarious comedy and exciting thrills and spills.

The Sage Gateshead

The Snowman, December 22-24, 0191 443 4661 or www.sagegateshead.com

The Snowman which is at Sage Gateshead
The Snowman which is at Sage Gateshead
 

In recent years this special screening of The Snowman has drifted naturally into the Christmas calendar of the North East. And this year’s eight shows will cement it even further into the festivities.

For the uninitiated, the classic animated film, based on the equally classic picture book from Raymond Briggs is screened on the big screen, while the Royal Northern Sinfonia play Howard Blake’s magical score live.

This year the concerts begin with an interactive rendition of the traditional rhyme ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’. Teddies will be most welcome to join in.

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