The Festival Theatre and The Studio festive season offers fun for all ages, including dance and family entertainment that ranges from world-class dance to household names.
Edinburgh’s number one panto returns to the Festival Theatre stage this winter with The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan (25 Nov – 31 Dec). Created by the world’s biggest pantomime producer Crossroads Pantomimes, and supported locally by Taylors Snacks, with amazing special effects, stunning sets, beautiful costumes and barrel-loads of laughter, The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan takes audiences on a trip to Neverland like never before. The cast features familiar star panto favourites Allan Stewart, who makes his 25th appearance as the pantomime dame, Grant Stott, Jordan Young, and Clare Gray. Street dance collective Flawless and three Edinburgh local performers – Rebecca Stenhouse as Tinkerbell, Robyn Whyte as Wendy and Kieran Lynch as Peter Pan – add to the swashbuckling fun.
The King’s Theatre, the traditional home of panto in Edinburgh, closed in summer 2022 for a 35.6 million capital redevelopment to improve facilities both onstage and off, preserve the heritage of the beautiful building and ensure it's a fitting venue for the panto for years to come. In the meantime, the panto has found a new home at the Festival Theatre until Christmas 2024.
Unicorn Christmas Party (8 – 24 Dec), a coproduction from Raw Material and Capital Theatres, invites audiences to find their inner unicorn. Written and performed by Sarah Rose Graber and Ruxy Cantir, under-sevens and their grown-ups join glittering, magical friends Melody and Luna as they bring the sparkle back to Christmas with a little winter sunshine, moonlight, good times and a lot of boogie. Expect easy-to-follow dance moves and a soundtrack of Christmas hits. Unicorn Christmas Party also hosts two twilight shows on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 December 6pm, where children can come along in their PJs for a special performance and bedtime snack. Unicorn Christmas Party was originally commissioned by Aberdeen Performing Arts, Capital Theatres and Eden Court Highlands and was funded through Creative Scotland’s Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund.
The festive magic continues into January with Scottish Ballet's playful new production of the Cinderella story Cinders! (5 – 20 Jan), which features glittering new designs and a charming twist to the tale. Breaking with tradition, audiences will have a surprise in store each night as until the curtain rises nobody will know whether Cinders will be a woman, swept off her feet by her Prince, or if Cinders will be a man, swept off his feet by his Princess. Choreographed by Christopher Hampson, with stunning art-nouveau-inspired set and costumes designed by Elin Steele, and Prokofiev’s irresistibly melodic score performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, Cinders! is everything audiences adore about the enchanted fairy tale – made sparkling, fresh and new.
Selected performances are part of Capital Theatre’s newly launched 25 & Under scheme, which allows people aged 25 and younger to book £10 tickets online on the day of the performances. Further details are available here.
Capital Theatres ensures its programme is accessible to everyone and provides captioned, BSL interpreted, audio-described and dementia friendly performances and activities. The festive season features relaxed performances of The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan (1 Dec) and Cinders! (18 Jan 2024). These inclusive performances are designed for people requiring additional support and and their families. Audience members are free to make noise and move around the auditorium, lights are kept on but dimmed to reduce anxiety, and break-out spaces with a live stream of the show give people a chance to leave the auditorium without missing the action.
Capital Theatre’s festive season, including both relaxed performances, is available for booking now. Full details of all shows can be found online at www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on.
The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan
Sat 25 Nov to Sun 31 December (press performance Sat 28 November at 7pm)
With amazing special effects, stunning sets, beautiful costumes and barrel-loads of laughter, The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan is a brand-new adventure for Christmas 2023. Returning for another year to the Festival Theatre, are pantomime favourites Allan Stewart, Grant Stott and Jordan Young.
Unicorn Christmas Party
Fri 8 to Sun 24 December 10.30am and 1.30pm (press performance Saturday 9 December 1.30pm)
Magical unicorns Melody and Luna bring a little winter sunshine, moonlight, good times and a lot of boogie into everyone’s lives, with easy-to-follow dance moves and a soundtrack of Christmas hits.
Scottish Ballet’s Cinders!
Fri 5 to Sat 20 January
Scottish Ballet’s festive favourite returns for the winter season with a new name, glittering new designs, and a charming twist to the tale in this magical new Cinderella story.
Capital Theatres presents world-class shows to entertain and inspire audiences of all ages.
The three venues we manage include two of Scotland’s largest, oldest, and most respected theatres: Festival Theatre (1,915 seats), King’s Theatre (1,100 seats, currently closed for a major redevelopment until Summer 2025) and The Studio (155 seats).
Together they host over 700 performances each year with a broad and inclusive programme featuring the very best in drama, dance, musical theatre, family shows, live music, comedy, and pantomime.
We are a receiving house which means we work with producers across the UK to programme their work. We also commission and co-produce a select number of productions of our own each year. Much of our programme is exclusive to our venues in Scotland, providing the only opportunity for audiences to see the biggest shows touring north of the border, the best in international contemporary dance and the latest productions from leading local and national companies. We are also the home of Edinburgh’s largest community companies, providing them with a platform each year to share their work.
As Scotland’s largest theatre charity, we support access to the arts for everyone and have an extensive Creative Engagement programme of talks, workshops and events to introduce and develop participation and interest in the heritage of our buildings and all areas of live performance. We have an extensive artist development programme; Open@TheStudio and have just won the UK Theatre 2023 Award for Excellence in Inclusivity for our work with people living with Dementia.