Planning a festive trip to the theatre? There’s always plenty to see on the stage in London around this time of year: feel-good musicals, Christmas classics, ballets, comedy performances and more. Here we highlight the best shows to watch this Christmas, from an orchestra-led screening of The Holiday to a retelling of a Dickensian classic.
Shows To Watch This Christmas 2023
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without The Nutcracker, and happily The Royal Ballet’s version returns to the Royal Opera House this November. Set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, this classical production follows Clara and her Nutcracker as they travel to the Land of Sweets. Expect stunning set designs from Julia Trevelyan Oman and choreography by Peter Wright.
Details: 6 December 2023–13 January 2024 at the Royal Opera House (The Piazza, London WC2E 8HD). roh.org.uk
Elf the Musical
While Will Ferrell sadly doesn’t feature in the stage version of hit Christmas film Elf, it’s still well worth a watch. Coming to London for an eight-week season this November, the musical stars Simon Lipkin as the loveable Buddy, who is raised by Santa’s elves in the North Pole, and one day embarks on a trip to New York City to find his father. A feel-good favourite that all the family will love.
Details: 15 November 2023–6 January 2024 at the Dominion Theatre (268-269 Tottenham Ct Rd, London W1T 7AQ). elflondon.com
Head to the Southbank Centre this Christmas for a festive variety show curated by none other than Love Actually writer and director Richard Curtis. With live music, comedy, Christmas stories and poetry, there really will be something for everyone at this enchanting event – and in true Christmas spirit, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Comic Relief.
Details: 7–11 December 2023 at the Southbank Centre (Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX). southbankcentre.co.uk
The Holiday In Concert
The only thing more heartwarming than a viewing of The Holiday is a viewing of The Holiday with the soundtrack performed live by a full orchestra. Expect a dazzling immersive experience firmly rooted in festive magic.
Details: 2 December 2023 at Eventim Apollo (45 Queen Caroline St, London W6 9QH). eventimapollo.com
Home Alone In Concert
The Holiday isn’t the only Christmas classic to be given the concert treatment this year, as the Royal Albert Hall will be putting on a spectacular viewing of Home Alone with live music by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the Crouch End Festival Chorus. The magic of this historic venue will ensure it’s a night to remember.
Details: 2–3 December 2023 at the Royal Albert Hall (Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP). royalalberthall.com
Cabaret and circus acts might not scream festive, but it’s always a highlight on London’s Christmas calendar. The award-winning show returns to Leicester Square’s Spiegeltent this November, complete with aerial performances, acrobatic dance, visual art, burlesque and more. Throughout the season, a line-up of special guests will join the original cast for a run of performances, including renowned cabaret dancer Kitty Bang Bang.
View this post on Instagram
Details: 8 November 2023–6 January 2024 at Leicester Square. lacliquetheshow.com
A Christmas Carol
It wouldn’t be Christmas without A Christmas Carol, and Matthew Warchus’ exuberant, smash hit production of Dickens’ tale returns to The Old Vic this year starring Emmy Award-winner Christopher Eccleston (of Doctor Who fame) as Ebenezer Scrooge and adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne (known for his work on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and His Dark Materials).
Details: 11 November 2023–6 January 2024 at The Old Vic (103 The Cut, London SE1 8NB). oldvictheatre.com
A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story
If the classic version of A Christmas Carol isn’t quite your style, why not try one of the spookiest shows to watch this Christmas? This eerie retelling, which is back at Alexandra Palace with a ghoulish array of special effects, stars Keith Allen (Robin Hood, Kingsman: The Golden Circle) in the role of Scrooge.
Details: 24 November 2023–7 January 2024 at Alexandra Palace Theatre (Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY). alexandrapalace.com
A Christmas Gaiety
Make the yuletide well and truly gay and join drag superstar Peaches Christ and conductor Edwin Outwater for the most extravagant festive celebration at The Clapham Grand. The lineup of this glitzy show features West End star Kerry Ellis, comedian Sandi Toksvig, drag favourite Baga Chipz and cabaret sensation Le Gateau Chocolat, with live music from the BBC Concert Orchestra. What could be more fabulous than a camp Christmas?
Details: 12 December 2023 at the Royal Albert Hall (Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP). royalalberthall.com