Ten shows to keep the children entertained this festive season

3rd December 2019

Leeds has a spectacular programme of dazzling performance on offer for all ages this Christmas. We’ve put together a list of shows aimed at children that the whole family will enjoy; with everything from musical theatre and traditional pantomime to puppetry and play to interactive, fairy tale princesses and go-karting penguins!


Sleeping Beauty
The Carriageworks Theatre: Fri 22 November to Sat 4 January
A sensational traditional pantomime for all ages. Set in an enchanted castle deep in the forest, a beautiful sleeping Princess cursed by a wicked fairy awaits her rescue from a handsome prince.

You will experience sumptuous sets, gorgeous fairy tale costumes, and fabulous song and dance in this treasured tale of Sleeping Beauty. There’s lots of audience participation to keep you entertained right up to the happy ever after!

Wizard of Oz
Leeds Playhouse, Quarry Theatre: Wed 26 November to Sat 25 January
Follow the yellow brick road this Christmas to the newly-redeveloped Leeds Playhouse and discover a fantastic musical treat for all the family.
Join Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion in the magical Land of Oz on an unforgettable journey, as they search for their hearts’ desires. This spectacular production of the classic story has all the songs you know and love, so why not click your heels together, soar over the rainbow and rediscover the story of Oz.


Red Riding Hood, Rock ‘n Roll Panto
City Varieties Music Hall: Fri 29 November to Sun 12 January
In a very different format to the traditional Christmas pantomime; the Rock ’n’ Roll Panto at the City Varieties is fast becoming a festive treat that’s a hit with children and adults alike.

This year’s Red Riding Hood mixes classic rock anthems and chart toppers performed live by talented actor-musicians, with audience participation, corny jokes, smoke effects, flashing lights and ‘a barrage of boulders’; this brand new production has it all and more.


The Night Before Christmas
Leeds Playhouse, Courtyard Theatre: Sat 30 November 2019 to Sat 28 December

This beautiful, funny and delightful story of friendship and the true meaning of Christmas is aimed at children aged from 3 to 7 years old.

Carol doesn’t feel very Christmassy. What’s all the fuss about? Trees, tinsel, baubles, pudding, presents… Then Elf 30046, all stripy tights and pointy ears, falls down her chimney and they tumble into a big adventure. It’s the perfect festive outing for your little elves and a wonderful treat for the family this winter.


Santa and the Christmas Dragon
Leeds Kirkgate Market: 7, 14, 21, 22, 23 and 24 December (performances 11am and 2pm – plus pop-up appearances from Santa)
This Christmas, the Kirkgate Market lucky dragon comes to life and gives two Leeds children the surprise of their lives. Leanne and Little Joe have been nagging their mother to get them a pet for Christmas – but Mum’s having none of it – “Write to Santa – ask him!” Imagine the mischief and mayhem when Santa promises them a Dragon!
Incorporating a tale about the famous wyvern dragons in Leeds Kirkgate Market this FREE performance features songs, music and festive cheer to entertain all the family this Christmas.

Hansel and Gretel
Room 700, Leeds Central Library: Sat 7 December to Sun 5 January

Wrongsemble present a brand-new unmissable Christmas show for little elves aged 4-10 and their grown-ups.

Follow the trail of breadcrumbs to Leeds Central Library, where discovery hides behind every bookshelf and there’s always more than two sides to every tale.
Buckle in for a rollercoaster of magic, music and mayhem as Hansel & Gretel crash-land in an enchanted world of stories and adventure. All performances are followed by an interactive ‘Meet and Greet’ session with the cast on stage.


Snow Mouse
Leeds Playhouse, Bramall Rock Void: Tues 10 to Sat 21 December

Join two new friends on their adventures in a mystical forest full of play, puppetry and music; this is an enchanting winter’s tale for the very young.

Winter has arrived and the woods are covered in white. A child hurries to put on their winter clothes so they can run outside and play in a sparkly new world. Just when they are starting to feel a bit lonely they find a sleeping mouse buried under the soft white flakes. Sliding, tumbling and laughing, they explore the winter wonderland together and keep each other safe and warm from the winter freeze.

Outside the Igloo
The Carriageworks Theatre, The Studio: Mon 16 to Wed 18 December – for ages 4+ and their families
Safe in their igloo, penguins Pixel, Crash and Click play their way through life with screens and games, whizzing and karting along until one day, the power goes off!
They then step out of their igloo for the first time, into an incredible world of discovery and delight, following cracks in the ice, scaling enormous mountains and swimming in freezing lakes.

The children in the audience play an essential part in helping the three penguin friends on their amazing wintery journey. This show promises to take any young explorer on an incredible adventure they will never forget!


The Christmas Elf, Northern Opera Group
Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Northern Ballet: Sat 21 December

A beautiful animation from Sophia Watts with a rare opportunity to experience this wonderful festive opera, performed in English and suitable for the whole family.

It’s Christmas Eve, and all the village are getting ready for the big day. In the nearby forest, a young elf is learning what Christmas is all about from the wise old Fir Tree. In one magical night two worlds collide, and Christmas will never be the same again…

Peter and the Wolf and the Snowman with the Orchestra of Opera North
Leeds Town Hall: Sun 22 December at 2.30pm and 4.30pm
The charming tale of Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev is narrated by Pui Fan Lee (former Teletubby and CBeebies star) and accompanied by stunning illustrations on the big screen.
Raymond Briggs’ classic, The Snowman, with Howard Blake’s much-loved music remains the soundtrack to every child’s dream Christmas. This is your chance to experience the iconic score performed live by a full symphony orchestra, and the unforgettable Walking in the Air, sung live by a member of Opera North’s Youth Company.


We’ve listed ten of the shows on offer this festive season; there are many more to be found on our full list of Christmas shows, the choice is yours!