The countdown to Christmas is now upon us and like most years I look forward to heading to my favourite place to sit and enjoy some great productions across the country. It's a great opportunity to gather the colleagues, friends and family and head to the theatre, with so much on this year as well you'll be stuck for choice. 
I've decided to seek out the best of the best within the regions I know best, the East and West Midlands. However, I did add a show that is performing in the North because when you find out what the production is, you need to get on your sleigh and up there!  This made the mission of finding 10 shows into 12, oops! there is one that is only on during a week in mid-November so I've allowed it to become a list of 12, you'll thank me for the recommendations I promise. Anyway with no further or do, crack on the Christmas playlist and get stuck into this list of the must-see performances this Christmas. 

101 Dalamations | Birmingham Rep | 30 Nov - 07 Jan
Adapted for the stage Debbie Isitt, known for the hugely popular Nativity! films are recreating the unforgettable story of saving a couple's dogs massive litter of adorable puppies after they're stolen in the hands of the vicious Cruella de Vil. This delightful tale will see how with the help of the canine community and an Old English Sheepdog, bring the family together again. It'll be very interesting and great fun for all of the family to enjoy. 

Beauty and the Beast | Theatre Royal, Nottingham | 09 Dec - 14 Jan
This years pantomime will star a host of much-loved celebrities including TV presenter Sherrie Hewson, and TV stage star Ben Richards to bring the magical tale of Beauty and The Beast to life in Nottingham. This pantomime is considered to be East Midland's biggest pantomime with lots of laughter, stunning costumes, music and plenty of magic. 

Cinderella | Belgrade Theatre, Coventry | 22 Nov - 13 Jan 
Belgrade Theatre hosted one of my favourite pantomimes last Christmas and it's definitely one I cannot wait to return to this festive season. Written by Iain Lauchlan this pantomime promises to feature spectacular sets, lavish costumes and sing-along-songs that will make your trip to the Belgrade a unmissable Christmas treat. Expect lots of laughs too! 

Cinderella | Birmingham Hippodrome | 19 Dec - 28 Jan 
Join the cast at Birmingham Hippodrome this Christmas as they invite you to the ball in the most magical pantomime possible with Cinderella. This year we have Soul-diva Beverley Knight making her pantomime debut as the fairy godmother alongside Strictly Come Dancing finalist Danny Mac and a host of other great TV faces. The pantomime is produced by Olivier-nominated pantomime producer Qdos Entertainment and will contain everything you expect from a great pantomime this Christmas. 

Cinderella | Nottingham Playhouse| 01 Dec - 20 Jan
The Nottingham Playhouse pantomime is a traditional family-friendly production that has been regarded by the guys at The Guardian as "a Midlands institution". This year they're creating the story of Cinderella, expect great costumes, wonderful scenery and a coachload of hilarity, slapstick, song and dance in Kenneth Alan Taylor's magical production. There's also both a Relaxed Performance and Dementia-friendly performance of this production available, you can find out more about that over on their website. 

Elf The Musical | The Lowry, Salford | 24 Nov - 14 Jan 
Discover your inner Elf and let it all out at the production of Elf The Musical performing at The Lowry during this festive season. I am extremely excited that the beloved 2003 New Line Cinema hit starring Will Ferrell (and easily one of the greatest films to watch over the season). Elf is a hilarious tale of a young orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bags of gifts and is taken back to the North Pole. Now, Buddy the Elf is curious why he isn't like the other elves and wants to find his dad in the big apple! 

Miracle on 34th Street | New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham | 14 -18 Nov
Another popular Christmas film of all-time is hitting the stage in Birmingham in this fun-filled Christmas treat. Expect a holiday classic featuring a score by the writer of The Music Man, Meredith Willson. The story follows single mother, Doris, her daughter, Susan and their neighbour, Fred, on a magical journey of love and romance to discover if Macy Department Store's Kris Kringle really is the special man himself, Santa Claus. 

Nativity! The Musical | Birmingham Rep | 20 Oct - 12 Nov 
The fun and festive film favourite is now a major new musical adapted for the stage by the creator of the much-loved creator of the films, Debbie Isitt. The story takes place in St Bernadette's School as they attempt to create a musical version of the nativity, obviously every child in the school wants to star in it. The only trouble is their teacher Mr Maddens has promised that a Hollywood producer will be coming to see the show to turn it into a film. Join him and his teaching assistant the loveable Mr Poppy who adds a whole lot of sparkle and shine into producing the show they'll never forget. I can't wait to feel incredibly festive watching this one and urge you to book tickets before its too late!

The Nutcracker | Birmingham Royal Ballet | 24 Nov - 13 Dec
The classic festive dance production of The Nutcracker returns to Birmingham Hippodrome and has been part of the city's Christmas tradition for over 26 years. Watch young Clara as she is swept away into an enchanting winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes and a Sugar Plum Fairy. It's a festive ballet with gigantic sets, lavish costumes, 60 dancers and a full orchestra, creating a production you do not want to miss with the whole family. It's acclaimed as one of the best productions of the piece.

Peter Pan | Derby Theatre | 02 Dec - 06 Jan 
J.M.Barrie's classic and much-loved novel is brought to life at Derby's Theatre this Christmas. Join the boy who never grows up, Peter, and the Darling children as they soar through the night sky and embark on an adventure like no other to the magical and mystical island of Neverland. Peter will introduce the Darlings to a never-ending childhood and a world of discovery with the Lost Boys, fairies, mermaids, the mischievous Tinker Bell and the terrifying Captain Hook. I can't wait to see how they bring this iconic story to life this Christmas. 

Robin Hood | Loughborough Town Hall | 25 Nov - 07 Jan
After receiving 5 stars for their other pantomime productions of Cinderella and Aladdin comes this year's production, Robin Hood. Join them as they travel deep into the heart of magical Sherwood Forest, where the men wear the tights and the women wear trousers. King Richard is away negotiating a trade deal with Europe, he may be some time so the Sherriff of Nottingham hatches a plan to dispose of his niece and nephew. He wants to inherit a fortune and steal the crown for himself. It's down to Robin, Marian and the gang to stop him in his tracks. Expect daring duets, stunning sets, outrageous costumes and a very merry man in this year's pantomime at Loughborough's Town Hall. 

Scrooge The Musical | Curve Theatre, Leicester | 18 Nov - 07 Jan 
The Curve is bringing a truly exciting and festive treat to its audiences this Christmas with a new Made at Curve production of Scrooge the Musical. The iconic story from Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol is the perfect story to bring to life during the festive period. Join Ebenezer Scrooge on a spellbinding journey through Christmas past, present and yet-to-come as we see whether he can truly capture the heart of Christmas. The fantastic score includes the Oscar-nominated hit Thank You Very Much, I Hate Christmas, Happiness and much more. And with local award-winning choreographer Stephen Mear within the creative team, you can be assured it'll be a production you don't want to miss.

I hope this has helped you in seeing what is on within your region this Christmas.

thanks for reading,