Manchester panto season 2021: some of the best pantomimes to enjoy this Christmas

Oh yes it is - pantomimes are back. We take a look at some of the festive show on offer in Manchester this December.

Contact in Manchester is hosting Dick Whittington and his Amazing Cat

It’s a welcome return for one of our favourite family traditions - the Christmas pantomime.

The pandemic prevented theatres from running their usual packed seasonal programmes last year but now children’s theatre is back with bells on throughout Decemeber and into early New Year.

Sign up to our ManchesterWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

We’ve rounded up a few of the many shows on offer this festive season which are taking bookings now.

Not So Ugly Sisters

Waterside, Sale, from now til Saturday 1 January

The Not So Ugly Sisters is a funny, fast-paced family show with a twist on the traditional Cinderella tale.

The story centres around Dolly and Barb in their hairdressing salon on the day of their sister Cindy’s wedding to Prince Smarming. Thinking that they have not been invited to the so-called event of the year, the sisters gather to share their story and wash their woes out of their hair.

Not So Ugly Sisters

At just under an hour long, this comical production should hold children’s interest.

Tickets are priced £12-14 from Waterside.

Dick Whittington and his Amazing Cat

Contact, Manchester, from Saturday 11 December to Monday 3 January

This upbeat, modern production of the classic rags-to-riches story tells the story of young Dick Whittington and his loyal cat Scratch on their quest for fame and fortune. Can Dick defeat evil King Rat and his rat hordes? Can he win the love of the beautiful Alice Fitzwarren? Can he survive shipwrecks, magic, pirates, ghosts, sharks and Freda the Cook’s terrible pies?

The all singing and dancing cast promise good old-fashioned entertainment for young and old.

Tickets are £12-22 and the show is two hours and 15 minutes with an interval. See Contact’s website to book.

Contact in Manchester is hosting Dick Whittington and his Amazing Cat

Car Park Panto: Horrible Histories

AJ Bell stadium, Eccles, from Wednesday 29 December to Thursday 30 December (three shows a day)

Another twist on the standard panto, this time in a drive-in set up, perfect for those wanting a socially distanced show.

Laugh and boo at your favourite historical figures as they figure out Christmas traditions, from Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII and St Nicholas himself. Expect lots of audience participation and you can even bring your own snacks in your car.

It costs £49.50 a car from FeverUp.

Medieval Manchester Festival will include Horrible Histories shows from The Stoller Hall at Chetham’s. Photo: Mark Douet


Manchester Opera House, from Saturday 11 December to Sunday 2 January

Former X Factor singer Alexandra Burke heads up the cast of this family favourite tale of flying carpets and the genie in a bottle.

There’s special effects by the bucket load, sensational sing-a-long songs and lots of chances to boo and hiss the evil sorcerer.

Tickets from £13 at ATG tickets.

Will the genie grant your wish? Credit: Shutterstock

Stick Man

Lowry Theatre, Salford, now til Sunday 9 January

Not strictly a panto in the traditional sense but we can’t resist this delightful tale by Julia ‘Gruffalo’ Donaldson of an unfortunate Stick Man who gets lost while out jogging and is desperate to return to the family tree to celebrate Christmas with his stick family.

This stage adaptation of the beautiful book is from the team behind Zog, Tiddler and other Terrific Tales, and Tabby McTat and features a mix of puppets, songs and live music. Tickets are from the Lowry box office and there are BSL and audio described shows.