In the lockdown of Christmas, the Angel (of the North) gave to me... 5 cracking Christmas virtual shows!

With all the festive fun hosted online this year, Claire Maggie Dowens takes us through five festive shows you can watch from the comfort of your own home.

Claire Maggie Dowens
11th December 2020
Credit: Northern Stage

Having been dealt a crushing blow of being placed in a Tier 3 lockdown in the run-up to Christmas, many thought that our much-loved pantomimes and festive shows had been heartlessly stolen by the COVID-Grinch. Well, they should have known that it takes a lot more than a worldwide pandemic to stop what has become a cherished holiday ritual in the high-spirited region of the North-East!

With a dash of resilience and a sprinkle of technological magic, many concert and theatre venues have managed to transform their socially distanced performances into a snowtastic variety of festive virtual shows, which audiences of all ages can enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. In our pre-Christmas excitement, we’ve put together a list of our top five, which look set to spread a sleigh full of holiday cheer and warm the cockles of your heart this winter season. 

1. Live Theatre - 5 Plays of Christmas

Following the recent success of work presented in the theatre’s online series 10 Minutes To…Call Home, Newcastle’s “coolest new writing talent” is back again, now bearing the ultimate yuletide gift for theatre lovers – The 5 Plays of Christmas: a virtual variety of short festive plays that are sure to light up your imagination and transport you into a world of seasonal delight.

You’ll be spoilt for choice in a sparkling selection which includes: The End of Term Show by Olu Alakija; My Door by Mandi Chivasa; Those Yet To Come by Ellen McNally;   Skelertons In Cullercoats by Benjamin Storey and The Whale Washed Up On Christmas Eve by Sarah Tarbit. Make sure to have a Christmassy sneak peek at a teaser video, production images and details of all the creative teams behind the magic of what’s going to be a festive explosion of performances to remember! Available here to watch for free from mid-December – don’t miss out! 

2. Northern Stage – The Emperor’s New Clothes 

The Emperor's New Clothes
Credit: Northern Stage

Having made it into The Guardian’s top list of theatre shows to watch online this Christmas, you’d be a “cotton headed ninny muggins” to miss your chance of watching a spectacular reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic folktale. This year, the team at Northern Stage which previously created the popular productions of The Snow Queen and A Christmas Carol have joined forces with Kitchen Zoo theatre makers to deliver a theatrical extravaganza, overflowing with festive spirit and holiday cheer. 

The Emperor’s New Clothesis available to stream online from 12 – 31 December and with only one ticket needed per household, there’s absolutely no excuse for the whole family not to share in the joy and merrymaking of an uproarious story that freshly narrates a “festive fiasco”! Click here to book and find out more.

3. Sage Gateshead - Christmas Cracker 

Exquisitely labelled as a “one off Christmas spectacular” and wrapped in a string of some of the North-Easts most talented musicians including rising star Sam Fender, you’re in for the most wonderful evening of the year as The Sage bestows you with the gift of music; completely free of charge.

Expect a musical whirlwind of performances from alt-pop musician Martha Hill; accompanied by jazz pianist Paul Edis to the dreamy, acoustic sounds of award-winning folk trio The Young’uns.

Also gracing the iconic venue with their infusion of Christmas soul will be the illustrious Voices of Virtue Gospel Choir as well as the Sage Gateshead’s very own Royal Northern Sinfonia Orchestra and Chorus.

Beam this sparkling musical celebration into the comfort of your own home from Friday 18 December at 7:30pm by tapping into The Sage Gateshead’s YouTube channel here. Available to watch throughout the festive season until 4 January 2021.  

4. The Stand Comedy Club – Cinderella & The Beanstalk 

It certainly wouldn’t be Christmas without some festive feel-good Panto and one of the North-East’s best comedy venues clearly feels the same, as they treat you to not just one, but two free side-splitting shows; one for families and one for adults - Oh no, it won’t! Oh yes, it will!

Hal Branson, Hannah Walker, Lee Kyle and Sammy Dobson star in the refreshed family-friendly panto which will be streamed live on YouTube from 3pm on Sunday December 20 and the adult’s version will be shown from 8:30pm on Boxing Day. With more special guests to be announced and exploding with all kinds of comical Christmas crackers, this is a must see for everyone, young and old alike! 

5. Alphabetti Theatre – Love From 

Credit: Aphabetti Theatre

Created by Alphabetti’s award-winning Artistic / Executive Director Ali Pritchard, comes a heart-warming show which explores the extraordinary and unprecedented times which we are all living in.

Production partners Woven Nest have conducted workshops with a number of local schools to produce a creative blend of fresh ideas which have been woven into the show’s script.

Watch online from 21st December at 12pm as you help to save Christmas and find out the real reason as to why “love and magic are being sucked out of our world.” The virtual show will be free to access with suggested ‘Pay What You Feel’ donation details featured at the end of the recording. Why not treat yourself to a glistening gift package which includes access to the show and a beautifully crafted ‘Love From’ activity pack for just £30. This also includes a donation to Alphabetti theatre, which means you’ll be joining in the Christmas spirit of giving.

For further details or to purchase your gift click here

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