Pantomimes, or simply “pantos,” are a beloved and time-honoured form of theatrical entertainment that have been enchanting audiences, especially in the United Kingdom, for generations. These lively and family-friendly shows blend comedy, music, dancing, and slapstick humour to tell classic fairy tales and stories. What sets pantomimes apart is the interactive nature of the performance, with actors engaging the audience through call-and-response, encouraging boos and cheers, and often featuring a “dame” character played by a man in flamboyant, over-the-top costumes. The plots are typically based on well-known tales like Cinderella, Aladdin, or Jack and the Beanstalk, and they often feature a hero, a villain, and a generous dose of fairy-tale magic. Pantomimes are a delightful tradition that brings communities together during the holiday season, offering a fun and light-hearted escape from everyday life, making them a cherished part of many families’ festive celebrations.

The annual popular pantomime provides sparkling festive entertainment, glittering sets, gorgeous costumes and bewitching special effects. Singing, dancing and plenty of audience participation provide fun and laughter for the whole family at the Assembly Hall Theatre and this year we see the return of the Panto at Trinity Theatre as well!

Beauty and the Beast at the Assembly Hall Theatre

In a pretty French town, Bookish Belle is ready to start a new chapter. Life isn’t quite the Paris-dise she’s been dreaming of. She’s just a ‘Oui’ bit different and longs to find some adventure.

However Belle, her friend Jacques and his mum, Betty, local bell ringer of the local Tunbridge Bells, gets much more than they bargained for when they find themselves trapped inside the enchanted castle of a mysterious beast.

Will true love conquer all? Will the curse of the Enchantress ever be broken? Will Betty drop a clanger?

Cinderella at Trinity Theatre

Poor downtrodden Cinderella lives with her two mischievous and sometimes downright appalling stepsisters in Hardup Hall, the home left to all three of them following the untimely death of her father. Her best friend in the whole world, Buttons, tries his hardest to keep her happy and entertained, but her stepsisters are determined to make her life a misery (Boo!). Following a chance encounter with a handsome Prince (in disguise), a Royal Ball is organised by the prince’s valet and eventually we discover whose foot the glass slipper actually fits.  With a highly entertaining score of popular songs from the charts and musical theatre, our enchanting Fairy Godmother conjures a recipe for love to ensure that everyone lives happily ever after and audiences return home feeling warm, Christmassy and full of festive joy.

What’s on this Christmas in Tunbridge Wells
Joy to the Wells logo. Royal Tunbridge Wells