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Reader Treats Just For You!

December 2019

December 2019

‘Tis the season to be jolly with hundreds of fantastic events across Cambs and Suffolk this December. We’ve got magical music concerts, Christmas markets aplenty, ballet dancers strutting their stuff on every other stage in the area and of course the December favourite… the Panto. Enjoy!

MUSIC

close up of dido face for 2019 tour

Dido is in Suffolk! I repeat Dido is in Suffolk! Get your tickets before they all sell out. You can catch her and her incredible voice at the Ipswich Regent on 5 Dec. She’ll be singing material from her new album Still On My Mind as well as some of the old classics – Thank You, Here With Me, White Flag and Life For Rent.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without carols and you can get involved in the most impressive carolling scene at Aldeburgh thanks to Scratch Choir: A Ceremony of Carols on 6 Dec. Sing Britten’s most festive piece accompanied by harpist Valeria Kurbatova, led by conductor Ben Vonberg-Clark. Being able to read music is a definite help!

Prefer to leave it to the pros? Get yourself down to Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion Theatre on 7 Dec for Walk Like A Man, a celebration of the unique falsetto sound of Frankie Valli!

singer wearing a hood

For a less traditional Christmas offering, you cannot go wrong with exceptional Irish singer, Cara Dillon’s Upon A Winter’s Night at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds on 10 Dec. Cara will be capturing the mystery of the festive period with a mixture of ancient and modern songs so if you’re after Santa Baby and Jingle Bells you’re in the wrong place!

From Ireland to Scotland, the next band to take to Bury’s The Apex on 11 Dec are indie/folk band Elephant Sessions with their new album – What Makes You. Expect traditional music turned on its head with electronic dance beats.

Kate Rusby with a floral crown

Credit: David Lindsay

The next take on Xmas comes from folk singer Kate Rusby, with her Kate Rusby at Christmas concert on 15 Dec at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. Her Christmas show has bee going for 15 years and for many is as essential to the festive season as mince pies and mulled wine. She’s joined by a brass quintet and she’ll be singing joyous songs from her only just released 5th Christmas album.

Not into traditional Xmas shows? Then you need Demon Barbers: The Lock In ‘Christmas Carol‘, at The Junction Cambridge on 18 Dec. It’s a half gig, half dance show, and half panto and promises to be the best festive live music, song and dance you’ll see this season. The plot sounds like a hoot!

music group G4

You’ll really feel festive after a trip to St Edmundsbury Cathedral on 21 Dec. The gorgeous quartet of Jonathan, Lewis, Mike and Duncan aka G4 are in residence singing festive songs in the most beautiful setting. You’ll hear these incredible singers do their magical versions of When A Child is Born, Silent Night and All I Want For Christmas.

ART

Looking for some unique and locally-made pottery for your house or a Christmas pressie? You’ll be in handmade heaven at The Anglian Potter Cambridge Exhibition, which is running at All Saints Church, Jesus Lane, Cambridge until 8 Dec.

outside of a museum

The Fitzwilliam Museum

Oh la la, Rembrandt loved painting females nudes and The Fitzwilliam Museum is running an exhibition dedicated to these until 23 Feb, entitled Rembrant and the Nude. The exhibition draws attention to the beauty and power of Rembrandt’s treatment of the female form, despite attacks received from critics of the time.

Fed up of the commercialised, tinsel-strewn side of Christmas. Treat yourself to a more cultural takes on the festivities with Byard Art’s Christmas Cracker exhibition running until 24 Dec. You’ll find a mix of original paintings, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media artwork, limited edition prints, photography and handmade jewellery by over 50 artists and designer-makers.

EVENTS

Miss the glory days of the disco? Well, you can dance the night away under the glitter ball this December at 2648 Bar on Trinity Street Cambridge on 13 December when two top DJs, Andy Smith and Nick Halkes, will be behind the decks, ahead of the release of a new compilation album in January. Expect classic 80s disco anthems as well as the best boogie tracks and house music at this Reach Up Disco Wonderland.

No plans for NYE yet? Well fear not, because we’ve found a fabulous way to ring in the new year – a flappers and gangsters night at Elsie May’s Electric Lounge in St Neots. Grab your pearls and feather boas and throw yourself into the golden age of jazz, enjoying a delicious menu and decadent drink before the clock strikes midnight.

 

THEATRE

poster for a theatre production of the the famous four

Loved the Enid Blyton books as a kid or get a little one currently obsessed? Then you’ll be pleased to hear that the well-known quartet are in the county with The Famous Four and a Half Go Wild in Thetford Forest touring Sir John Mills Theatre in Ipswich, Seckford Theatre in Woodbridge and The Key Theatre in Peterborough from 4 Dec 2019 – 25 Jan 2020. Eastern Angles are behind this hilarious comedy spoof that sees Rupert, Nick, Fran, Alex and Dimmy the dog do battle with a shady figure who has stolen their Aunt’s time machine. A fabulous a Panto alternative that spoofs the kids whose adventures we all learnt to read by.

head shot of Ollie Ollerton

You might recognise him from TV’s SAS: Who Dares Win, Matthew Ollie Ollerton is an ex-special forces soldier and as one of the first to ever reveal his identity, he has an incredible story to tell. In this fascinating show, Ollie Ollerton Live at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds on 9 Dec, he’ll be sharing stories about hardened criminals, high-speed car chases, counter-terrorism and humanitarian heroics. It’s better than fiction!

Remember that William Golding book we all read at school? Well, The Lord of the Flies is now coming to stage at The Cut in Halesworth thanks to Mouth Youth Theatre, from 12 – 14 December. It’s a chance to reminisce about school days or the remind yourself about how kids’ minds work if you’re struggling to remember! This classic novel works really well on stage and is a nice break from all the festive razzmatazz.

Central School of Ballet’s touring group Ballet Central will be returning to the ADC Theatre to perform the Yuletide classic, The Nutcracker, from 17 – 19 December. The 45 minute show (not too long for the kids) sold out last year so grab a ticket early if you fancy.

Good Morning Baltimore, or make that Good Morning The Leys School Cambridge, where you’ll find the fabulously upbeat and colourful performance of Hairspray gracing the stage from 17 – 22 Dec. Dance your way into the festive season with the much-loved hits, You Can’t Stop the Beat and Welcome to the 60s!

 

st petersburg ballet nutcracker on stage

There’s another chance to see the festive ballet favourite, The Nutcracker, this December because St Petersburg Ballet are in town from the 30 and 31 December at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. With a full orchestra and the stars of Russian ballet, this is a full-length version for ballet lovers and older children.

 

PANTOS

CinderellaCambridge Arts Theatre, until 11 Jan

cast of pantomime cinderella

You shall go the panto! And when you’re there you’ll get to see Wayne Sleep pirouetting around in his usual fabulous style as an Ugly Sister, plus other famous faces from the cobbles of Corrie, and West End shows like Les Mis and Hairspray. cambridgeartstheatre.com

 

Red Riding Hood, ADC Theatre, until 7 Dec 

illustration of red riding hood

The comedic and musical genius of Cambridge Footlights are behind this modern take on a Panto. Join Red and the Big Bad Wolf, plus her estranged father – the leader of the anti-Wolf revolutionaries (I told you it was modern!) as she explores life beyond the woods. adctheatre.com

 

Sleeping Beauty, Cottenham Village College4 – 7 Dec 

This panto comes from am-dram group Cottenham Theatre Workshop, but it’s a professional-sounding Panto with your usual comedy combo of slapstick jokes, men dressed as dames and comic villains. If you’re not a panto fan, just have a nap while the kids watch – if the main character can get away with it…! cottenhamtheatre.com 

 

Beauty & the Beast, The Key Theatre, Peterborough, 5 Dec – 5 Jan

promo for beauty and the beast pantomime

From one beauty to another… this time we’re in France so expect to exclaim ‘oh la la’ a few times as you follow the tale (as old as time) of Belle and her hirsuite prince (no judgement here, some girls like their men hairy!). vivacity.org

 

Cinderella, The Cresset, Peterborough, 7 – 30 Dec 

Gosh Cinders you’re working your fingers to the bones this Panto season, with a whole host of performances across our region. The second one is in Peterborough, and is a fully-loaded glitterathon of a Panto, with the requisite terrible jokes and more singing and dancing than an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical. cresset.co.uk

 

Cinderella, The Angles Theatre, Wisbech, 10 – 31 Dec

Just when she thought she could relax in her new Palace and settle down with Prince Charming, it’s back to washing the floors for poor old Cinders as she reappears in Wisbech for a traditional panto at The Angles Theatre. Will someone give this poor girl a day off? anglestheatre.co.uk

 

Dick WhittingtonThe Maltings, Ely, 13 Dec – 5 Jan

pantomime character dressed as a rat

Dick Whittington is off to London to seek his fortune and find the streets that are paved with gold (see you on the commute Dick!). He’s got his famous feline friend in tow as he aims to save London from a rat. Just an average day in the city then. Expect a live band, stunning set design and glitzy costumes! thelittleboxoffice.com

 

AladdinNew Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, until Feb 1 

Aladdin panto on stage

Enter A Whole New World of pantomime awesomeness in Ipswich this year with their exotic take on Aladdin. There’s a musical twist for Ali and his genie pal this year with the introduction of over 20 classic songs like I’m A Believer, Papa Don’t Preach, ABC, I Will Survive and Highway to Hell! The theatre will be rocking. wolseytheatre.co.uk

 

Cinderella, Ipswich Regent Theatre, 14 – 31 Dec

Cinders and her fairy godmother strike again but will it be pumpkins at midnight? There’ll be whip-cracking comedy, fabulous costumes and of course a glass slipper in search of its rightful owner… if the shoe fits! Need more persuading? West End and Hollywood star Adam Garcia plays Prince Charming! ipswichregent.com

 

Peter PanTheatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until 19 Jan

Peter Pan panto at bury st Edmunds

Journey to Never Never Land with Peter, Wendy Darling and Tiger Lily for a swashbuckling adventure as they take on the villainous Captain Hook. A panto for kids and grown-ups who never want to grow up! Looking for the theatre? Second star to the right of the Greene King Brewery and straight on till morning. Think I’m pun-tastic? Just wait till you see the show. theatreroyal.org

 

Snow WhiteMarina Theatre, Lowestoft, 12 Dec – 1 Jan

Snow White panto

Might this be the fairest panto in the land? The Wicked Queen certainly thinks so. Help decide in this production that promises plenty of “Oh no she didn’ts” as well as fabulous singing, dancing and silliness for all ages. None other than Collabro’s Micheal Auger will be headlining as the Prince, so expect stunning vocals. marinatheatre.co.uk

 

The Sleeping BeautyQuay Theatre, Sudbury, 14 – 30 Dec 

In a kingdom not too far away called Suffolk, Princess Aurora is born. Unfortunately at her christening there’s a cock-up with the guest list and evil fairy Distaff doesn’t make the cut. Cue a rather nasty spell and a nice long snooze for Aurora. Help wake her up with jazzy tunes and lots of shouting out. quaysudbury.com

 

Snow White and the Seven DwarfsHaverhill Arts Centre, 20 – 30 Dec 

This production stars Drew Cameron from Britain’s Got Talent finalist (come on, you know – the impressionist!), so buckle up for some hilarious jokes and comedy impressions, as well as some clever lines from the mischievous Mirror Mirror on the Wall. haverhillartscentre.co.uk

 

Dick Whittington, Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe, 21 Dec – 5 Jan

dick whittington the panto

Dick got lost on his way to London and ended up in Felixstowe, luckily for us. This panto by Dennis Lowe Theatre Company tells the rags to riches tale of a young man and his cat on an exciting quest for fame and fortune through all the traditional panto mediums – songs, a live band, magic, dance routines, slapstick comedy and bags of audience participation. spapavilion.uk

 

AladdinStonham Barns, 20 – 31 Dec 

Travel by magic carpet to the ancient city of Peking and join Aladdin and his brother Wishee Washee and mother Widow Twanky in this perfect family panto from AMP Theatre. Get practising those boos and hisses as they try and defeat the evil Abanaza. stonhambarns.co.uk

 

Jack & the Beanstalk, Southwold Arts Centre, 21 – 27 Dec

Chic Southwold is joining the panto scene this year with a professional take on Jack and the Beanstalk. Join Jack and his family as they try to make ends meet despite the plans of the Evil Giant and his henchman Fleshcreep and afterwards do some Xmas shopping in this delightful seaside town. Winning combo! southwoldarts.org

 

Dick Whittington, Beccles Public Hall & Theatre, 20 December – 1 Jan

Dick Whittington sets out to seek fame and fortune in the Big Smoke. Promising fantastic special effects, dazzling costumes and outrageous comedy! becclespublichall.co.uk

 

Jack & The Beanstalk, Gorleston Pavillion Theatre, 11 Dec – 5 Jan

Jack & The Beanstalk

Fee-fi-fo-fum! Local TV legend Helen McDermott’s theatre company – Oh Yes It Is Productions, returns to the Pavilion theatre this year for this traditional panto classic. gorlestonpavilion.ticketsolve.com

CULTURE

Feast & Fast, Fitzwilliam Museum, 26 Nov onwards

XMAS

1 December: Heveningham Hall Christmas Market

reindeer in the snow

They certainly know how to throw a Christmas bash at this majestic listed stately home near the Suffolk Coast… not only will there be a whole host of stalls to shop at, but kids can meet Santa in his grotto from 10am – 12:30pm, see tap dancing turkeys (don’t ask!), and get up close with some real life reindeer. Oh, and there’s also the Santa Fun Run, which is possibly even more entertaining than those turkeys! Find out more here.

1 December: The Granary Estates Christmas Market, Woodditton 

inside of a barn wedding venue at Christmas

One of our favourite wedding venues, opens its welcoming barn doors to a Christmas Market on the 1st – a magical atmosphere to browse the stalls and start the countdown to Christmas with your first (of many) mulled wines.

 

Weekends until 15 Dec: British Crafts, Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham 

Christmas shopping event

Blackthorpe Barn is just one of those places that takes you from muttering ‘Bah Humbug’ to humming Jingle Bells within seconds, it’s just so bloomin’ Christmassy! Not only can you get your tree from here, take part in wreath workshops, visit Santa’s Grotto and shop in the Country Christmas Shop, but every weekend from 9 November the beautiful barn hosts the British Crafts Fair, where you can buy 100% British products for presents, or for yourself!

Until 8 December: Illuminated Garden Trail,  Helmingham Hall

There’s something rather magical about a stunning stately home lit up in the dark, and both kids and adults will love walking around the glittering paths at one of Suffolk’s most spectacular houses, Helmingham Hall by night and getting in the Christmas spirit (just watch out for that rather large moat!). Hundreds of lights transform the gardens into a winter wonderland. Sounds a bit chilly? Don’t worry, there’s mulled wine by the cauldron-load, fire pits to toast marshmallows for s’mores and the Stables Shops are open for a spot of Christmas shopping!

6 – 8 December: Lavenham Christmas Fair

tudor guildhall decorated for Christmas

Can you think of a more picturesque place than Lavenham for a Christmas fair? It’s like walking onto the set of A Christmas Carol with all the beautiful buildings draped with lights and Christmas trees aplenty. The Market Place will be taken over with plenty of tempting stalls and there will be food stalls and the delicious smell of mulled wine everywhere you go.

 

7 – 8 December: Jimmy’s Christmas Fayre, Jimmy’s Farm

Enjoy a bit of the good life this festive season with a trip to Jimmy’s Farm. The farm and wildlife park is pretty awesome any time of the year, but we particularly love it at Christmas time when you can enjoy the bucolic paradise with the added bonus of mulled cider, Father Christmas’ grotto, a carousel, donkey rides, live music, and over 100 craft and local food stalls. Talking of food, it’s a good place to stretch your stomach in preparation for Xmas lunch as there’s street food, a hog roast, hot chestnuts, hot chocolate and marshmallows, fudge, mince pies and mulled wine as well as the award-winning restaurant! Enough about food, The Farm & Wildlife Park will be hosting their biggest Christmas present hunt to date as well as keeper talks throughout the day including Meet the Pigs, Reptiles, Ferrets and Capybara, Reindeer Roundup, Meerkat Madness, Coati feed, Tapir Tales and Crocodile Creek.

 

7 December: Mill Road Winter Fair, Cambridge 

This fair is organised by a small group of Mill Road residents, so it’s a great one to get behind. It’s a bit like a mini – and much more civilised – Notting Hill Carnival. The road gets closed for the thousands of people that take to the streets to see the parade – floats from local schools and children’s clubs. Not to be missed.

 

Until 15 December: Anglesey Abbey Winter Lights

stately home light up in colourful lights

We’re spoiled for choice for stately homes in our region and another one that you’ll want to see come Christmas time is Anglesey Abbey (I mean just look at the cool picture above!). I’ve already got my tickets (just showing off as I’m never this organised!) and am looking forward to taking my toddler along to see the incredible light displays along the 1.5 mile walk. Live music comes courtesy of Cambridge Folk Festival and Cambridge International Jazz Festival and there will be screenings from the Cambridge Film Trust. So, this isn’t just a few colourful uplighters!

 

7 – 15 December: Kentwell Hall’s Dickensian Christmas, Long Melford 

 

Dickens knew a thing or two about Christmas, so step back to his time and experience a historical take on the holiday season at Kentwell Hall. This stately home is well known for it’s incredible re-enactments and this year looks set to be no different. As well as seeing what the house would have been like in 1869 and meeting all the staff and house owners, kids can visit a Victorian Father Christmas, trip to be an elf at the Elf and Safety Training School (see what they did there!) and assault course, watch a music hall and magic show, make Christmas crafts and join in the lantern-lit carolling. A history lesson you’ll actually enjoy.

 

21 December: Christmas Farmers Market, Snape Maltings 

christmas market

You can trust Snape Maltings when it comes to a farmers market, that’s for sure. And their Christmas one is no exception. You can buy all sorts of local produce directly from Suffolk’s artisan producers. It’s essentially a mini food festival (although you might not feel so mini after a trip here) and because it’s so close to Christmas Day you could even do your full Christmas dinner shop here.

 

Find more ideas here

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