30+ family-friendly theatre shows, musicals, pantomimes and other performances in and around Cardiff for Christmas 2023

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A live theatre performance can be a wonderful family treat in the run up to Christmas. Whether you like traditional panto, lavish Disney productions, non-Christmassy musicals, or smaller scale performances, there’s something for all tastes.

I’ve included performances in and around Cardiff for the rest of November and December. I’ve also included some great shows taking place in January all of which would make a great Christmas present and something to look forward to once the festive period is over.

All events are subject to change or cancellation, please check with organisers to avoid disappointment.

Let me know anything I’ve missed in the comments below.

And, as always, please give this post a like, share or comment on my social media channels as it helps Cardiff Mummy Says keep on showing up in people’s timelines.

See more family-friendly events in and around Cardiff by following Cardiff Mummy Says on Instagram, on Twitter/X and Instagram (I share on my Stories most days and save all events in my What’s On Stories highlight and, in the run-up to Christmas, the Christmas highlight folder.

Opening in November

(some of these performances continue into December)

When The Dragons Came Back to Wales/The Planets

Blackwood Miners’ Institute

Thursday 30 November, 7.30pm

Adults £11, concessions £9, group of 4 £32

Age guidance: 5+

Hummadruz, The Black-Light Theatre of Wales, presents the world premiere of two fantasia-like stories set to music, The Planets and When Dragons came back to Wales.

Hummadruz use masks, dance, small and large-scale puppets, circus, stage illusion and music to tell their stories.  

Their shows are beautiful, joyous, non-verbal, multi-sensory, performed under black-light and integrate Makaton as a visual language. The Planets, performed to Holst’s classical masterpiece, tells seven stories based on each planet’s theme. When the Dragons Came Back to Wales is an uplifting, multi-coloured, blacklight, psychedelic spectacle performed to a new suite of music by Wales-based composer, Lenny Sayers based on a story by Stuart H. Bawler.

Suitable for ages 5+, performed in darkness, certain scenes may be strange for some small children. Running time, 90 minutes.

Shrek

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Monday 20-Saturday 25 November, 7pm plus Thursday and Saturday 2pm

From £7.50, age guidance 5+

Based on the Oscar winning DreamWorks film, the Broadway and West End smash hit Shrek the Musical is a fun filled and hilarious musical comedy with a cast of vibrant characters and a ‘shrektackular’ score.

With an upbeat soundtrack including the smash hit I’m a Believer, join the adventure as Shrek and Donkey endeavour to complete their quest, finding unexpected friendships and surprising romance along the way.

Snow White and the Super Seven: Cardiff Scout and Guide Gangshow

Stanwell School, Penarth

Monday 20-Saturday 25 November

From £10

Around 90 young people from Scout and Guide troops across Cardiff and the Vale present this year’s Gangshow, a panto devised and written by a team of volunteers.

The King and I

New Theatre, Cardiff

Tuesday 21-Saturday 25 November

The multi award-winning Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I is touring the UK, following its critically-acclaimed sold out season at The London Palladium. Starring the West End’s Annalene Beechey and Broadway’s Darren Lee, The King and I is the classed as one of the greatest musicals from the golden age of musicals, with songs including Whistle a Happy Tune and Shall We Dance. This lavish production is brought to the stage by an internationally renowned creative team under Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher (South Pacific/My Fair Lady/To Kill a Mockingbird) and will feature a world-class company of over 50 West End and Broadway performers and a full-scale orchestra.

Humbug!

Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Thursday 23-Saturday 25 November, 7pm plus Saturday 2pm

It’s November at the humbug factory, and the employees of Scrooge & Cratchit Confectionery Co are hard at work in the final rush to Christmas.

However, the factory’s boss and owner, Tim Cratchit, has become strict and work-obsessed, having forgotten the lessons passed down to him by his friend and mentor, Ebenezer Scrooge.

One night, Tim is visited by a colourful array of ghosts on a mission to change his perspective. Will a journey through the past, present and future succeed in bringing joy back into Tim’s life?

Performed by Hijinx Odyssey’s cast of disabled and non-disabled actors, Humbug! is a fun and reflective sequel to Charles Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol.

Lunchtime Family Comedy Show

Glee Club, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay

Sunday 26 November, 12pm

Adults £12, children and concessions £8. Age guidance 7+, no under 5s

(Not in half term but I wanted to give advance notice on this one as a lot of people don’t know about these family comedy events)

A fun lunchtime show for all the family, from kids to grandparents. Now you don’t need the babysitter to enjoy your weekend stand-up.

The Full Monty

New Theatre, Cardiff

Monday 27 November-Saturday 2 December

From £24, age restriction 12+

As in the 1997 smash hit film, this new production is a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, laughs and heartbreak. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the film on a major national tour, book now to relive the music of the 90s and have a great night out in the company of the loveable group of lads as they work to put on the show of their lives. The production stars Danny Hatchard (EastEnders, Ridley Road, Our Girl, Scrooge) as Gaz, Jake Quickenden (Footloose, Hair, X Factor, Dancing on Ice) as Guy and Bill Ward (Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) as Gerald, with Neil Hurst (Fat Friends the Musical, All Creatures Great and Small, Coronation Street) as Dave, Ben Onwukwe (The Shawshank Redemption, Professor T, Marcella) as Horse and Nicholas Prasad (Around the World in 80 days, The Comedy of Errors, Doctors) as Lomper.

Hansel and Gretel / Hansel a Gretel

Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

Monday 27 November-Saturday 6 January

Tickets from £9.50; age guidance 3 to 6

The Sherman’s annual Christmas production for younger children has performances in English and in Welsh.

Filled with songs and laughter, this new version of Hansel and Gretel is the story everyone loves with an added delicious and delightful twist.

It’s Christmas Eve but something’s not right in the woods. Pine trees are changing into Sweet trees. The river is flowing with treacle. All of this is the work of Sioned Siocled who is turning everything into sweets!

Only Hansel and Gretel stand in her way. They set off on an incredible adventure to save the woods. On their travels they’ll meet magical new friends including Spencer Squirrel and Trefor Tree. They’ll also learn that asking for help is the bravest thing anyone can do.

Peter Pan

Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

Monday 27 November-Saturday 6 January 2024

£16-£24, under 25 half price

Age guidance 7+

Catherine Dyson’s new take on J.M. Barrie’s timeless tale, is a fun, funny and moving play sees the story through Wendy’s eyes. Songs composed by Gwyneth Herbert will be performed by a talented cast of actor-musicians, including faces familiar to Sherman audiences. This fresh new take on a much-loved classic celebrates the power of the imagination to help us navigate life’s adventures. It thinks about what it means to grow up, and how we can all embrace living life in our own way.

I Should Be So Lucky

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Tuesday 28 November-Saturday 2 December, 7.30pm plus Saturday 2.30pm

From £15, age guidance 12+

The wedding is OFF, but the honeymoon is ON! Ella and Nathan, a young couple, hopelessly in love, and about to take the biggest step of their lives – marriage. Until it all goes wrong. Will they be together forever, or will he make her cry and say goodbye?

The official Stock Aitken Waterman musical features the soundtrack of a generation with music from no less than 10 number one singles and more than 30 songs from pop royalty including Kylie Minogue (I Should Be So Lucky), Rick Astley (Never Gonna Give You Up), Jason Donovan (Especially for You), Bananarama (Love In The First Degree) and so many more, all woven into this original story.

Beauty and the Beast

The Riverfront, Newport

Wednesday 29 November-Saturday 6 January

From £15

Newport’s favourite comic, Richard Elis returns to the Riverfront stage with much-loved familiar favourites including Aled Pugh, Phoebe Holmes and Gareth Tempest, along with welcomed newcomers Elian West, Londiwe Mthembu and Hugo Joss Catton. Get set for enchanting sets, dazzling costumes and show-stopping musical numbers that will appeal to panto regulars and newcomers alike.

Puss In Boots

Paget Rooms, Penarth

Thursday 30 November-Sunday 3 December

Adults £15, children £12

Penarth Operatic Dramatic Sociey (PODs) present their annual family pantomime, Puss In Boots. Expect adventure, excitement, laugh-out-loud comedy and uplifting songs, as a penniless miller falls in love with a beautiful princess who can never be his as they live in different worlds. When his faithful pet cat puts on a pair of magic boots, he turns him into a mischievous friend determined to help his master succeed in love.

Shows opening in December

Please note some shows starting in November run into December and January, and some December shows run into January

Santa’s Wish

Spiegeltent, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff

Friday 1-Sunday 24 December

From £11.25

Back by popular demand following a triumphant premiere last year, Santa’s Wish opens Cardiff Christmas Festival 2023. This heart-warming musical adventure, written by Matthew and Laura Brind, is enriched with catchy original songs, immersive storytelling, and a sprinkling of circus magic – guaranteed to leave the whole family bursting with festive joy and happiness.

Santa’s Wish tells the enchanting story of Snowflake and her journey to becoming one of Santa’s elves. Landing on the edge of a warming ice cap, Snowflake melts into the ocean and travels on an extraordinary and vibrant journey around the world as she struggles to make it back to the North Pole and reach Santa Claus. On her journey, she meets various characters, including a wonderful young lady, Lily, whose mission is to spread joy at Christmas time.

Cardiff Christmas Festival 2023 takes place in the magical, heated Fortuna Spiegeltent located in Sophia Gardens. It also includes the cabaret show, Castellana, two special concerts from Welsh of the West End, a night of laughs in the Christmas Cracker Comedy Night (in support of Shelter Cymru) and MyMyAbba! The Christmas Concert.

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff

Saturday 2-Friday 8 December, 7.30pm, plus Wednesday 2pm

£16-£18, age guidance 6+

A family-friendly adaptation of Charles Dickens’ most famous story of Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by a series of ghostly visitors. Expect lots of seasonal atmosphere with live music and the usual flair from the college’s own Richard Burton Company flair in Neil Bartlett’s acclaimed adaptation.

Disney’s Aladdin

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Thursday 7 December-Sunday 14 January

From £20, age guidance 6+, no entry to under3s

Escape to a whole new world and experience this extraordinary theatrical event already seen by over 14 million people worldwide. With astonishing special effects, over 350 lavish costumes and a fabulous cast and live orchestra, Aladdin features all the songs from the classic Academy Award-winning film including Friend Like Me, Arabian Nights, and A Whole New World.

Beauty and the Beast

Grand Pavilion Porthcawl

Friday 8-Sunday 31 December

From £17

Porthcawl’s annual family pantomime is the enchanting tale of Beauty and the Beast, with all the traditional panto ingredients such as hilarious slapstick comedy, plenty of audience interaction and energetic musical numbers. When an arrogant prince is cursed to live as a beast, his only hope of salvation is to find love before the last petal falls from a magic rose. Can village girl Beauty see beyond appearances and learn to love a beast?

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Blackwood Miners’ Institute

Friday 8-Saturday 30 December

From £16.25 concessions, £19.25 adults and £62 family

Starring the legendary Owen Money, Rebecca Brady as Snow White, Dafydd Weeks as Nurse Tydfil and featuring via video, Welsh rugby great James Hook as the Man in the Mirror, Blackwood Miners’ Institute presents its panto take on the classic tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Swyn

Chapter Arts, Cardiff

Friday 8 and Saturday 9 December, 10am and 2pm

£6-£8

From the bashful bunnies to the daring ducks, Swyn loves nature. She tries her best to get the curious creatures to join in her games, but they have their own ideas of fun. With the help of some new furry friends, Swyn learns that friendships are not made by following or leading others, but by celebrating the things that make us all unique.

Wrap up warm and join Swyn and her friends for a wonderful wintery adventure based on Krystal S. Lowe’s book Whimsy. Combining Welsh and British Sign Language, this magical show from Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru will spark young audiences’ imaginations through story and dance.

Peter Pan

Utilita Arena, Cardiff

Saturday 9 December, 1pm and 7pm, Sunday 10 December 1pm

From £27.15

A big budget extravaganza adaptation of J.M Barrie’s much-loved tale Peter Pan flies into Cardiff this Christmas, promising a spectacular spin on the timeless classic adventure. Karma Chameleon Boy George debuts as Captain Hook in this Neverland fantasy.  

The cast of 50 includes a dozen cirque performers, dazzling aerial stunts, a giant battle where the audience throw cannon balls at Hook’s ship and a death-defying escape from a locked water tank by rising comedy star Jordan Conway playing Peter Pan, plus a large troupe of Irish and Highland dancers. Fabulous animated digital sets redefine the genre with an immersive experience of magic and wonderment that even the most cynical audiences will be blown away by.

Jac and the Beanstalk

New Theatre, Cardiff

Saturday 9 December-Sunday 7 January 2024

Lesley Joseph will lead the as The Spirit of the Beans in this family show, with panto dame extraordinaire Mike Doyle as Dame Trot, leading comedian and impressionist Aaron James as Silly Simon, vocalist Denquar Chupak as the Princess, the ultimate panto villain Steve Arnott as Fleshcreep and musical theatre star Adam Bailey as Jac.
Doomed to sell his trusty cow, join Jac and his family as they fight to outwit the evil giant, win riches beyond his wildest dreams and the hand of the girl he loves. Expect laughs, music, special effects, magic beans and bundles of audience participation.

A Kinetic Christmas

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff

Tuesday 12-Wednesday 13 December, 6.30pm

£10-£12

Local performers of all ages from Kinetic School of Performing Arts bring in the holiday season with plenty of seasonal song, humour, a live orchestra and plenty of festive cheer.

Elves Overboard

Cowbridge Town Hall

Saturday 16-Sunday 24 December

From £12

It’s Christmas Eve and Bubble, one of Santa’s elfy helpers, is feeling blue and will do anything to spend this Christmas away from the cold and on the beach. When Bubble and her best friend Squeak are chosen to accompany Santa delivering presents, things take an unexpected spin when the sleigh hits a spell of bad weather, tossing the elves overboard and landing them right in the heart of Wales – Cowbridge! – where they must learn about some of Wales’ most special and unique traditions, from the fiery Welsh dragon to tales from the Mabinogion, and lovespoons. This new pantomime features favourite Christmas songs, sparkly costumes and laughs aplenty.

Gareth Thomas, Ian H Watkins and Caryl Parry Jones feature as voice over artists and do not appear in person.

Flossy and Boo: Beyond the Blizzard

The Riverfront, Newport

Saturday 16 December, 2pm

£10

In a little town beyond the great mountains, two best friends are setting out on the adventure of a lifetime, so strap on your snow boots and join them in journeying beyond the blizzard.

A new family show from the curious minds of Flossy and Boo, filled with adventure, strange characters and their own magical and bizarre brand of storytelling.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Memo Arts Centre, Barry

Wednesday 13-Sunday 17 December

Adults £16.75, children £14.75

Barry’s BillBoard Ensemble present their annual family pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.

Life on their farm is hard for Jack and his mother Dame Trott – they haven’t a bean to their name. When Jack exchanges the family cow for some magic beans, his mother is furious… but when a huge beanstalk grows, our hero finds himself in the home of an evil giant, with riches beyond his wildest dreams. Expect laughs, music, special effects, magic beans and bundles of audience.

Cinderella On Ice

ICC Wales, Newport

Friday 15 December-Thursday 4 January 2024

Age guidance: 4+ (no under 2s), performance time 75 minutes

From £18

The world-renowned Imperial Ice Stars bring their spectacular new adaptation of this enchanting fairy tale to ICC Wales this festive season. With state-of-the-art animated scenery, dazzling costumes and original music and songs, Cinderella On Ice is a breath-taking show for all the family. Discover the magical story of Cinderella, a humble dancer who is thrust into the spotlight as a beautiful ballerina thanks to her mysterious Fairy Godmother who uses her magical powers to transform Cinderella and send her off to the palace ball. Her graceful performance captivates the handsome Prince, but in her haste to leave before spell breaks and the clock strikes midnight, she loses one of her jewelled skates. The prince is determined to find this mysterious dancer and owner of the skate so travels far and wide and despite attempts by her jealous stepsisters to claim the skate is theirs and steal the Prince’s heart, true love eventually triumphs and Cinderella finds happiness ever after.

Beauty and the Beast

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff

Monday 18-Thursday 21 December, 7pm

£13-£16

Kinetic School of Performing Arts present their annual pantomime, full of toe tapping musical numbers, loveable characters and plenty of laughs. When an arrogant Prince is cursed to live as a beast his only hope of salvation is to find love before the last petal falls from a magic rose. When a pretty village girl, Beauty comes into his life is this the chance he has been waiting for?

Shows opening in January

Please note some shows starting in November and December run into January

Les Misérables (Schools Edition)

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff

Wednesday 3-Friday 5 January

£13-£16

Cardiff’s Kinetic School of Performing Arts present Les Misérables (Schools Edition). The true modern classic is based on Victor Hugo’s novel and features one of the most memorable scores of all time, including I Dreamed A Dream and One More Day. Set in early 19th century France, it is the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant, released from 19 years of unjust imprisonment, and his reformation as an industrialist while being pursued by the morally strict inspector Javert.

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Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Wednesday 17-Sunday 21 January (Wednesday and Thursday 7pm, Friday and Saturday 4pm and 7.30pm, Sunday 3pm)

Age guidance, 7+, from £15

This empowering pop musical is based on the popular children’s book by Suffragette relative Kate Pankhurst, and adapted by Chris Bush (Standing at the Sky’s Edge), comes from one of the producers of SIX.

Join inquisitive heroine Jade as she breaks away from her class to take a peek behind the scenes at the not yet open Gallery of Greatness in the local museum. Along her journey she is surprised to meet the incredible wonder women: Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Mary Seacole, Marie Curie and Emmeline Pankhurst to name just a few. 

From explorers to artists, scientists to secret agents, hear the stories of some of history’s strongest mothers, sisters and daughters; all independent icons who really did change the world.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Thursday 18-Sunday 21 January, Thursday 2pm, Friday and Saturday 10.30am and 1pm, Sunday 11am

From £12.50, age guidance 3+

Adapted for the stage from the Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury’s much-loved book, this is a show filled with music, laughter, rhymes, rhythms and repetitions together with puppetry, paint, water and mud… not to mention a bear – “we’re not scared!”

Join the intrepid family of adventurers and their musical dog as they wade through the swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy squelchy mud, in search of a bear. Expect plenty of interaction and a few surprises along the way. 

Sing-a-long-a Matilda The Musical

New Theatre, Cardiff

Sunday 21 January, 12pm

Adults £19, children £16

Please note this is a screening of the movie not a live stage show

Calling all revolting children and their parents – come and be a little a bit naughty at Sing-a-long-a Matilda the Musical. Interact with this incredible tale of a little girl making her great escape at the latest film to get the singalong treatment, the Tony and Olivier Award winning Matilda the Musical, based on Roald Dahl’s novel.

The  host will help teach you some dance moves, show you how to use your free props bags and have you booing the villains and championing the heroes. Fancy dress is strongly encouraged and full audience participation essential.

Sing-a-long-a The Greatest Showman

New Theatre, Cardiff

Sunday 21 January, 4pm

Adults £19, children £16

Please note this is a screening of the movie not a live stage show
From the producers of Singalonga Sound of Music, this is the smash hit film musical with lyrics on screen that everyone can’t stop singing.

Cheer, boo and hiss as you sing your heart out with the live host who will teach you some dance moves and show you how to use your free props bag.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Monday 22-Saturday 27 January, 7.30pm and Thursday and Saturday 2.30pm

From £16.50, age guidance 8+

The creators of The Play That Goes Wrong return with another catastrophic disaster. Following their multi award-winning sell-out success with The Play That Goes Wrong and the BBC TV series The Goes Wrong Show, Mischief return with their riotous spin on a timeless classic, the West End smash hit Peter Pan Goes Wrong. The members of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are back on stage, battling technical hitches, flying mishaps and cast disputes as they attempt to present J.M Barrie’s much-loved tale. But will they ever make it to Neverland?  

Jesus Christ Superstar

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Monday 29 January-Saturday 3 February, 7.30pm plus Thursday and Saturday 2.30pm

From £18, age guidance 10+(contains mature themes and depictions of violence)

This mesmerising new production of the iconic global phenomenon, Jesus Christ Superstar, is directed by Timothy Sheader (Crazy for You, Into the Woods).

Originally staged by London’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, this reimagined production won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, garnering unprecedented reviews and accolades. 

Choreographed by Drew McOnie (King Kong, Strictly Ballroom), with music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ, as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes I Don’t Know How to Love Him, Gethsemane and Superstar. 

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