VIVA is getting a bit dramatic ahead of Christmas 2023
Emma Chadwick | 22nd October 2023
Manchester’s theatre season is getting in full swing in the run up to Christmas with some show-stopping productions in the pipeline.
And what’s more the panto season is just around the corner – “Oh no it isn’t, oh yes, it is!”
With everything from the traditional festive fayre to some great LGBTQ+ performances taking centre stage, here’s VIVA’s round-up of the best of what’s on ahead of Christmas…
Romeo & Juliet
Theatre and film director Nicholai La Barrie makes his Royal Exchange Theatre debut with this fiery retelling of Shakespeare’s most famous love story.
Romeo & Juliet runs from October 20 to November 18 and encapsulates the hope and tragedy of love, showing the power it has to make change even when everything feels impossible.
Taking on the role of Romeo is Manchester actor Conor Glean last seen at the Exchange in Mother Courage and Her Children. Playing opposite him as Juliet is Shalisha James-Davis, who is perhaps best known to TV audiences for her recent regular role as Paige Alcott in the long-running BBC drama Casualty.
For bookings visit the Royal Exchange website or phone the Box Office on 0161 833 9833.
Aladdin at The Met
This December, The Met is delighted to present Aladdin, produced in house with panto professionals The Big Tiny Production Company, the team who last year brought outstanding success, Dick Whittington.
Aladdin will take the audience on a magical journey to a mystical world of magic lamps, adventure and, of course, an amazing flying carpet. Join our hero in his quest to win the hand of Princess Jasmine and thwart the villainous Abanazar’s evil plans to seize control of the all-powerful magic lamp and conquer the kingdom.
Audiences should expect all the elements for a high-flying theatrical experience, laugh out loud comedy, spectacular costumes, enchanting music and exuberant dance numbers, all in the heart of Bury.
The cast includes, Neil Jennings as Widow Twankey, Ian Hayles as Abanazar and Shahar Mizrahi as Aladdin, all known to theatre goers and TV watchers.
The Met’s production of Aladdin is written and directed by The Big Tiny’s Ben Richards who directed last year’s production of Dick Whittington
Schools’ performances are available from December 7, priced £12, and include a free teacher place per 10 children. Adults tickets are £15 and children £12 (includes booking fees), available from the website or by calling the Box Office 0161 761 2216.
Manchester drag sensations to shine at the Contact’s Cinderella
Lady Bushra and Misty Chance, two of the brightest stars in Manchester’s LGBTQ+ drag scene, take centre stage in an enchanting production from eight-freestyle this December at the Contact Theatre.
Get ready to be captivated by their charisma and creativity as Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters – Veruca and Hernia – as they bring their unique flair to the classic rags-to-riches tale.
Expect a fresh twist on the traditional storyline as Cinderella fights for her freedom from her cruel stepsisters and their questionable fashion choices. Marvel at the inventions of Lord Stoneybroke, share laughs with Buttons, and help the Prince find true love, all set to an upbeat modern soundtrack of ballroom bangers mixed by DJ Dandini.
The show stars eight-freestyle’s regular cast of all-singing, all-dancing performers, making it a treat for children of all ages, even the grown-up ones!
This year’s Cinderella pantomime not only features an exceptional LGBTQ+ cast, but also emphasises sustainability through recycled costumes and a collaboration with Hart-Work.
Cinderella runs from Saturday, December 9, until Sunday, December 31 with tickets ranging from £15 – £25. The run includes a range of access provisions, including BSL, captioned performances, relaxed conditions and a range of discounts.
For bookings visit the Contact Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6JA or phone 0161 274 0600.
Award-winning playwright, actor and HIV activist Nathaniel J Hall (First Time, It’s A Sin) returns to the stage with his hotly anticipated new play, Toxic, billed as ‘Not another play about gay pride shame’.
It’s a world premier for HOME MCR and runs from October 18-28, then tours across the UK in 2024. Suitable form those aged 18 and above, contact HOME for tickets and other details.