2020 Festive Treats:

Theatrical Treats this Christmas are there if you can find them:

Normally by this point in the year we at Scotsgay arts would have published our festive preview of the best on offer from across Scotland and the UK this festive season. We would also be gearing up for ever growing Panto tour of the country trying to cover the moments that sparkle on our stages.

However, 2020 has been no normal year, with our theatres in Scotland remaining shuttered and the ghost lights continuing to burn bright. There has been a plethora of digital offerings from all of Scotland’s biggest producing houses combined with community engagements from venues the length and breath of the country.

Those digital offerings will continue over Christmas and we have a few of the best in this preview. Wales and Northern Ireland are facing the same issues and problems and as yet there is no theatrical offerings, although Wales is at the point test projects.

England have been more successful with socially distant performances taking place in venues across England and with the Partnership between the National Lottery and QDOS, ten venues will receive pantomimes this festive season. It’s important to note 9 out of these 10 will be hybrids, one act 75-minute affairs all staged socially distant.

So, lets go round up those and all the latest show news for the upcoming festive season.


Aladdin Govan:

Aladdin in Govan

Halo Arts are an innovative arts and events production company with a remit of delivering a range of high quality and inclusive projects with young people aged 6-18 and those with additional needs across Glasgow. Halo Arts have a commitment to working with young people, the disadvantaged and those with additional needs. The company will produce, A Lad in Govan- Glasgow’s first ever digitally streamed community panto running from 17th to the 27th December.

Join Aladdin, Widow Twankey and Wishee Washee in their home town of Govan where they are soon to swap the streets of South Glasgow for the Pyramids of Egypt on an unexpected and exciting adventure… Widow Twankey’s launderette isn’t doing too well, Wishee Washee is up to mischief and to top it all off Aladdin has gone and fallen in love with a Princess! Will he be able to make his wishes come true and defeat the wicked Abanazar?

The show will be performed live and streamed from the Pearce Institute in Glasgow and will star Cameron Fulton of BBC River City and is sure to be a festive treat for all the family.

For tickets go to:

Oh Yes We Are! A Quest for Long Lost Light and Laughter: Perth,

Christmas magic for Perth

Written and directed by Barrie Hunter
Design by Becky Minto

Experience the joy of panto with Perth Theatre’s unique LIVE interactive online broadcast via video platform Zoom. You can still be a part of the action, you can boo the baddie, cheer the hero, banter with the dame and have the same singalong, laugh along panto fun you love with your families, but from the comfort of your sofa! Why not get a group together in your different households or with family across the world and all attend at the same time?

This digital extravaganza will run from December 11th through December 24th and will feature Christina Gordon, Ava Hickey, Barrie Hunter, Helen Logan and Ewan Somers.

For tickets and full information go to:

Rapunzel The Pantomime: The Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh

The Brunton Panto team return!

A family film screened at The Brunton

The Brunton panto regulars are getting in the mood for Christmas and The theatre elves are planning some festive treats for everyone. Join us in our sparkling Christmas grotto (otherwise known as Venue 1), for a big screen family film – Rapunzel The Pantomime. Why not dress up as your favourite pantomime or Christmas character? Or wear a Santa hat and sparkles.

The story of Rapunzel who was locked in a tower before being rescued by her pal Jammy, is told in fun panto style. Full of songs and slapstick, local references and colourful characters – a unique family pantomime film for all ages.

Rapunzel The Pantomime – a film for all the family is produced by The Brunton, written and directed by John Binnie, designed by Robin Mitchell with Musical Direction by Tommy Travers and filmed by D Fie Foe. The cast includes many of the Brunton Panto regulars.

The film will run from the 19th to the 30th December, for more information and tickets go to:


Dick Whittington at The National:

For one year only Pantomime comes to the National on the South Bank

Join Dick Whittington and friends on an adventure to save the true spirit of London as pantomime comes to the National Theatre for one year only. In a newly transformed Olivier theatre, Ned Bennett directs this wild new version of the classic tale which has been freshly updated for 2020 by Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd.

This hilarious and heartfelt panto is packed with the cheekiest of jokes, the chattiest of animals, the awesomest of songs and the messiest of silliness. Initial casting includes Dickie Beau, Amy Booth-Steel, Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings, Georgina Onuorah, and Cleve September.

In a season when many UK theatres have been forced to postpone their pantomimes, help us to celebrate its place at the heart of British theatre.

For more information and tickets go to:

Pantoland at The Palladium:

The full scale two act Panto from Qdos this year at the historic London Palladium.

As covered in articles elsewhere on Scotsgay arts The London Palladium, the home of pantomime, will welcome back panto favourites Elaine Paige, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot, as well as past stars Ashley Banjo & Diversity and Charlie Stemp. Making their debut will be West End sensations Beverley Knight and Jac Yarrow.

Returning for a fifth consecutive year, The London Palladium pantomime has become an essential part of Christmas in the West End, with record-breaking box office success year-after-year. Pantoland at The Palladium, devised by Michael Harrison, will be a treasure-trove of The London Palladium panto past and exciting new surprises written especially for the show, guaranteeing an unmissable treat for panto and musical theatre fans alike.

Celebrating the very best of pantomime, with comedy in abundance, this star-filled extravaganza will play to a socially-distanced audience. The show will feature the work of Olivier Award-Winning Team director Michael Harrison, choreographer Karen Bruce, set designer Ian Westbrook, costume designer Hugh Durrant, lighting designer Ben Cracknell, sound designer Gareth Owen and composer and orchestrator Gary Hind.

This will be the only full scale two act pantomime from QDOS this year so will indeed be the jewel in the crown. For more information and to book go to:

Robin Hood and His Merry Men:

The Bristol Hippodrome then Transferring to The Birmingham Alexandra Theatre.

A Panto for two cities (note Doreen Tipton will before the Birmingham dates only)

Starring the Strictly judge the nation loves to hate, the fab-u-lous Craig Revel Horwood as The Sheriff of Nottingham, alongside the Hippodrome’s pantomime superstar Matt Slack, the legendary pairing of Richard Cadell & Sooty and the Black Country’s funniest matriarch Doreen Tipton. The socially distanced, one-act production will begin its run at the Historic Bristol Hippodrome in December before moving to Birmingham and then temporarily change venues due to Birmingham Hippodrome’s hosting of the critically acclaimed Van Gogh Alive experience.

Doreen Tipton will only appear in the Birmingham dates.

For tickets go to:



Sleep Beauty, The Manchester Opera House.

The best panto in the North, A Stellar Cast for Manchester

Starring Salford-born funny man Jason Manford as Muddles, with comic legend Billy Pearce as King Billy, musical theatre leading lady Jodie Prenger as The Enchantress and Eric Potts as The Queen, Sleeping Beauty will play from Saturday 12 December for a strictly limited 3 week run. This new production will be packed full of comedy routines, audience-safe participation and all the unmissable magic that Manchester Opera House audiences have come to expect from their annual festive pantomime. The previously advertised production of Aladdin will be staged in 2021 and existing bookers have already been contacted with details of their new tickets.

For full details and tickets go to:

Sleeping Beauty, The Milton Keynes Theatre

Scottish Pantomime Royalty Allan Stewart and Andy Gray swap Edinburgh for Milton Keynes

Best-known for winning the BBC talent show Any Dream Will Do, Lee Mead won the title role in the West End revival of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to rave reviews. Since then Lee has had lead roles in Wicked and Legally Blonde in the West End, releasedseveral solo albums and toured extensively. No stranger to pantomime, Lee has starred in seven Qdos Entertainment pantomimes, including his star turn as Prince Charming in their critically acclaimed production of Cinderella at the London Palladium and last year’s Milton Keynes Theatre pantomime,  Starring alongside Lee as the evil Carabosse will be star of screen and stage, Claire Sweeney. In the role of The Enchantress will be pop and television star Suzanne Shaw, who rose to fame via the popular ITV talent search Popstars and the music group Hearsay.

Starring as Princess Beauty’s hilarious best friend Muddles is comedian and magician Pete Firman. Widely recognised having starred in BBC1’s prime-time Saturday night programme The Magicians, he has made special guest appearances on ITV1’s The Next Great Magician and Let’s Sing and Dance for Comic Relief.

This year’s cast will also feature two legends of comedy, Allan Stewart and Andy Gray, who will be swapping their usual pantomime home at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh, where they have delighted almost two million festive theatregoers for the last twenty years, for Milton Keynes Theatre. The much-loved pairing of Scottish comedy royalty will provide all the laughter and quick wit the duo are best-known and loved for in their native home, with Allan playing The Queen and Andy as The King.

For Full details and to book tickets go to:

Robin Hood, The Newcastle Theatre Royal.

Newcastle’s panto favourites are joined by the gorgeous Joe McElderry this year!

Starring masters of mayhem Danny Adams and Clive Webb, alongside the Grande Dame of Grey Street Chris Hayward, they will be joined by X Factor and local lad Joe McElderry, illusionist Phil Hitchcock, hilarious gymnasts The Acromaniacs, Pop Idol star Zoe Birkett and Mick Potts. Robin Hood will play from Saturday 19 December, 2020 for a strictly limited 3 week run.

They headliners will be joined by renowned illusionist Phil Hitchcock, who starred in last year’s London Palladium pantomime, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Completing the line-up will be comedy gymnast troupe The Acromaniacs, musical theatre leading lady and Pop Idol star Zoe Birkett, who is renowned for her incredible vocal talent and leading roles in The Bodyguard and Priscilla Queen of the Desert, with Danny & Mick star, the side-splittingly silent funny man, Mick Potts. Robin Hood will also feature Theatre Royal panto regulars Steve Arnott, Wayne Smith and Laura Evans making up an on stage company of 18 performers and musicians

This year’s production, created especially for Newcastle Theatre Royal in this unprecedented year, will be a riotously funny, one-act celebration of pantomime, packed full of comedy and laughter and allow audience members the opportunity to come safely together and enjoy the magic of the much-loved and unique art form this festive season.

For full details on tickets go to:

Sleeping Beauty, Theatre Royal Nottingham.

To Me To You! Paul Chuckle leads the cast in Nottingham!

An all-new production of Sleeping Beauty comes to Nottingham, thanks to support from The National Lottery. Starring legendary funny-men Paul Chuckle and Ben Nickless, with street dance stars Flawless, the show will play from Saturday 12 December for a strictly limited 3 week run.

The top of the bills will be joined by hilarious pantomime dame David Robbins as The Queen, back again after starring as Ugly Sister in Cinderella in 2012 and west end musical stars Kimberly Blake, fresh from her west end role in Pretty Woman as The Enchantress, and Hannah Grace Lawson as Princess Beauty. Completing the line-up is Jack McNeill as the Prince, marking his third consecutive Theatre Royal pantomime having starred in the title role of Peter Pan, and Dandini in last year’s production of Cinderella. This year’s pantomime will be directed by Guy Unsworth, who also directed last year.

For full details and tickets go to:


Robinson Crusoe, The Theatre Royal Plymouth

Two panto legends Les Dennis and Andy Ford are headed for Plymouth this Christmas

An all-star cast including pantomime legends Les Dennis and Andy Ford are headed for Plymouth for a swashbuckling adventure.  This Socially distant one act spectacular looks set to a magical affair.

For information and tickets go to:

Sleeping Beauty, The Mayflower, Southampton

The biggest Panto on the South Coast!

Joe Pasquale and Lesley Joseph will lead the company on the south coast in the pantomime of your dreams, joined by a stellar cast, you would be in a muddle to miss it.

For information go to:

Robinson Crusoe, The Regent Theatre, Stoke on Trent.

Stoke’s Panto Favourites are back!

With  The much-loved Stoke regulars Jonathan Wilkes and Christian Patterson at its helm, this specially-created show will bring pantomime back to the Potteries and will play from Saturday 19 December.

For information go to:

And Finally,

So there we have it, its literally the smallest offering of Christmas shows in living memory but the magic is alive and lets hope a full season returns for Christmas 2021. For now however enjoy the offerings its vital these socially distant productions are supported as for all those involved there a life line. The fact does remain that for the fast majority of the arts industry tough times will continue into 2021.

We hope to bring at least a couple of reviews over the festive period! until then enjoy some fabulous festive treats.


BBD Productions Does Halloween!

BBD Productions Returns:

Edinburgh based Big Bad Does Productions which had planned to return in the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival but like the entire arts industry those plans are shelved. Now however they are back with a Spooktacular online Halloween special.

The company co-produced by Scott Coltman and Jonnie Grant made a four-Star debut In the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, transforming the biggest number from New York’s Great white way into big band infused sparklers.

Now the company returns and Coltman says “BBD Productions is proud to present ‘Big Band Does… Halloween‘ – a wide mix of songs from movies, musicals and more performed by a spook-tacular cast of performers from across the industry. We hope you will join us in celebrating all things Halloween in this musical extravaganza.”

The production will star Claire Moore (Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Mary Poppins), Rachel Stanley (42nd Street, Chicago, Legally Blonde), Caitlin Tipping (Six, Last Five Years, Musical Starnights) and many more from across the west end and UK.

This Production is in aid of Acting for Others and all proceeeds will be split between Acting for Others and all the creatives involved in the production. Coltman goes on to say “We hope you can support us to show that #WeAreViable and together we can #SaveTheArts”

The performance will begin streaming from 19:30 on Halloween evening and be available for the following 5 days and is unique chance to be entertained by the best up and coming performers from across the musical theatre industry so buy those tickets now!

For full details and to book tickets for the digital performance go to:


Interabang Productions, Scene to Seen:

Scene to See

Acclaimed Scottish theatre and film Production company Interabang are celebrating a remarkable first year in the creative industry, a year that has seen them garner 4 and 5 stars for their innovative showcase of home grown talent through there hit production of self-written shows including “Being Liza” and “Toast” both of which have enjoyed revivals of there original productions at the Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh.

To celebrate their 1st Anniversary the company will launch “Scene To Seen” – a digital series offering  new writing monologues and duologues, shot in isolation with signature high production quality and post-production editing. The Series will comprise  6 weekly videos, premiering on 2nd July 7PM LIVE on the companies Facebook @weareinterabang. Each video will be roughly 8-10 minutes long and will include captioning and one of the episodes will feature full BSL.

FiRST SCENE: PERMANENT SCAR by Rachel Flynn the  premiere video is a monologue called Permanent Scar written by Rachel Flynn, directed, and edited by Ryan Dewar and performed by River City’s Cameron Fulton. The company are exciting to showcase how scenes were filmed in nightclub cutaways during lockdown combined with Cameron’s storytelling.

The Series then continues for the following 6 weeks all Directed by Ryan Dewar and produced by Rachel Flynn. The company are aware of the plethora of free online theatre during the ongoing close down of the Theatre industry due to Covid and will be encouraging online donations via: And are determined to value the skill and hard work of our creatives by asking audiences to support artists with a financial contribution at a time which is particularly difficult for us all.

Once the series ends there are big plans in the pipeline for this innovative company including a return to the Theatre, this is a company to keep your eyes on, for now enjoy Scene to Seen!


Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @weareinterabang


Beyond Broadway: Broadway Bound Preview:

Beyond Broadway: Broadway Bound 

Beyond Broadway the Edinburgh based producer of large-scale musical theatre productions aimed at emerging talents who take part in short training schools was scheduled to perform its latest work “Broadway Bound” in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing lockdown makes that impossible.

The company are fulfilling the best of theatrical tradition by ensuring the show does indeed go on, by taking the show online as Murray Grant, director of Beyond Broadway, said: “We were determined not to let down the young performers, who were all so keen to gain a taste of featuring in a professional production. By taking The Beyond Broadway Experience online, we are exploring a form of performance that has become popular with theatres and companies in recent weeks. As the saying goes, the show must go on and we are so proud of how well the young performers and our creative team have adapted to this new way of working and rehearsing.

broadway bound 3

“Through delivering the programme online, we’re also giving the students an important focus and chance to socialise with each other, in addition to the professional tuition on which we have built our reputation.

“The cast have been put through their paces, rehearsing online and filming and recording everything themselves while in isolation. All the material has been mixed and edited and will, we hope, provide some superb entertainment for our virtual guests on Saturday night.”

The show will be broadcast at Donations by viewers are being encouraged, with proceeds to be split between the NHS and The MGA Foundation, which offers funding for those from disadvantaged backgrounds towards performing arts training opportunities.

The company are also continuing there plans for a full-scale production of “High School Musical” at the cities King’s Theatre however should theatres still not be open this too will move into the virtual realm.

broadway bound 1

Beyond Broadway are joining theatre companies up and down the country in keeping live theatre going by streaming productions via the internet. Andrew Lloyd Webbers back catalog, productions from the National Theatre Live as well as Les Misérables are now joined by local companies! While our theatres remain closed and ghost lights burning bright as we stay safe at home at least we can enjoy the best of theatre.

So why drop in tomorrow night from the comfort of your sofa and watch the next generation of performers take to the stage.!

Beyond Broadway: Broadway Bound Streaming Live, 8pm Saturday 18th April 2020 go to:


Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Preview:

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

UK Tour, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 3rd to 7th March.

Inspired by the 2011 television documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 and debuting at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in 2017, Everybody’s Talking about Jamie is the life affirming musical telling the story of Jamie New who wants to attend his high school prom in a glamourous Drag Queen outfit only to be met by Hate, confrontation from those who should love him and a new understanding of the relationship between himself and his mother.

Following an award winning transfer to the west end, a production which is still running, this year see’s the show receive its first ever UK Tour! and Jamie finally comes to Edinburgh and its beautiful Festival Theatre Edinburgh. Ahead of the opening Layton Williams who plays Jamie, fresh from his run in the Apollo Theatre, London spoke with Scotsgay Arts!


For people who are new to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, how would you sum up the storyline?

Jamie is based on a real character who was the subject of a documentary on BBC Three. I remember watching it years ago and it was about him wanting to be a drag queen and wanting go to the school prom in a dress and how his mum Margaret supported him. When he got there there was all this hoo-hah, the teachers wouldn’t let him in, then something wonderful and unexpected happened, his school mates refused to go in without him. The basics of his story inspired the musical and it’s been given a bit of theatrical razzamatazz. Our story is about a 16-year-old boy who wants to be a drag queen and it’s about his relationship with his parents – including his dad, who he isn’t much in touch with. It’s about Jamie finding himself and his drag persona and, without giving anything away, what happens when he does eventually go to the prom.

What do you see as the key themes?

It’s about acceptance. This is a show for everyone, especially for today. It’s not just for people who are into RuPaul’s Drag Race and stuff like that. The show is about a boy finding his path in life with the help of his close relationship with his incredible mum and her unconditional love for him. She loves him exactly as he is. A dad who isn’t supportive and lots of other characters that people will be able to relate to. It’s about family, friendship, trust and support. There are so many different, relatable characters in it – [laughs] although if you identify with the dad then have a word with yourself! And there’s so much diversity in the cast. The real Jamie is white and I’m not, but that wasn’t even a question for the producers and creatives – which is so refreshing and so fab, like just ‘He’s right for the role’ and that’s how it should be. Oh, and there are high heels, high kicks, drag queens, beautiful dresses, feather boas, some fantastic songs and brilliant dancing. It really is fun, funny and fabulous with a lump in your throat and a little tear.

How important is the theme of inclusion to audiences both young and old?

Very important. I get messages from older people who have been helped by the show, whether it’s helped them come out or helped them understand their children better. It does obviously speak directly to the LGBTQ+ youth but it’s not limited to one faction. So many people can relate to being an outcast or feeling different but after seeing the show they’ll feel, to quote one of the songs, there’s a place where they belong. It didn’t happen to me personally but our director [Jonathan Butterell] said when he was doing the show in Sheffield a guy came up to him, grabbed his arm and said ‘I was Dean once’ – referring to the school bully character. Some people in the audience will maybe see the Dean character and think ‘That was me’ or they might see the dad and think ‘I was homophobic’ or they’ll go ‘Everybody is celebrating this boy here so why do I have these negative feelings?’ They might get dragged to the theatre by their girlfriends or wives, thinking ‘Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?’ then hopefully by the end of it their hearts and minds will have been opened and their opinions on things have changed.


What challenges does the role of Jamie present?

It’s about the emotional journey he has to go on. Eight times a week I’m having an argument with this person, bonding with that one, having to cry about this, having to cry about that… The rollercoaster of emotions is a lot to navigate. Being 16 years old is hard. I remember being 16 with all those hormones and stuff. There’s the acting side of all that, then there are so many songs. I have to keep my voice tight and right. That’s the difficulty – keeping myself on top form all the time so when I get out on stage I slay it. I want people to have the best experience possible and that means I have to be in full health, make sure I’m rested and always prepared. That’s the nature of the job but that’s what makes it exciting because you put your whole self out there on stage.

Having played Angel in Rent this isn’t your first time in heels, is it?

No, it isn’t. [Laughs] The heels thing is a doddle now.

Do you know the real Jamie and have you based your performance on him?

Yes, I know Jamie Campbell, he’s a really lovely guy. I rewatched the documentary once I got the part. There a few things he does, like a few little dance moves, that I’ve put into the show. And with him as a person, I take some of his isms and personality traits. On the surface he might come across as someone who is really confident and fab and out-there, but as with lots of people you don’t really know what’s going on behind closed doors. There’s so much vulnerability to him. That’s something I don’t necessarily have myself. I’m always getting notes from the director about tapping into Jamie’s vulnerability. I try to stay as true to him and his story as I can because I want to do it justice. I want everyone who comes to see the show to not just get this fierce, fully-formed teenager who’s got everything sorted because then it’d be like ‘So what’s this story about?’ If I came out in the opening number And You Don’t Even Know It like ‘Bam! I’ve got this!’ then the audience would just go ‘He seems fine, what’s the point of the story?’


Does the show resonate for you on a personal level?

Yes it does. I’m a queer boy from a council estate up North, so we have that in common. Me and my mum have had our moments in the past and sometimes on stage I’m thinking about the things we’ve been through. We always patch things up but families go through stuff. And my upbringing wasn’t rosy. As I say, I was a gay boy on a council estate and as much as I tried to hide it I had a few things coming my way. It’s not been the easiest ride but I put it into my art.

What’s your favourite musical number in the show and why?

And You Don’t Even Know It is fab because it’s the opening number and I get to sing and dance and do it all. Then I love the closing number Out Of The Darkness because I have my microphone in my hand and I feel like a real popstar.

What are you most looking forward to about taking Jamie on tour?

It’s about giving people the opportunity to see it who might not necessarily be able to because travelling to London is too expensive. When I was a musical-theatre-loving kid I couldn’t have afforded to get on a train and come to London. We’re bringing the show to a whole new audience and changing their opinions and perspectives and lives, hopefully. I know it sounds super-dramatic when you say it like that but we’re coming to their doorstep telling our story. It’s great that Shane Richie and Shobna Gulati from the West End cast are also with me.


Is there one thing you couldn’t be on the road without?

My suitcases full of outfits and things for my dressing room, like my dolls and cards full of love and my artwork. I have to put them all out so when I come into the room I feel the love and the energy.

How hard do you think it will be to say goodbye to Jamie when the tour ends?

I can’t even think about it to be honest. I’ll have been playing this part for a good year and a half and I’ve loved every single second of it. All good things have to come to an end and I’m sure there are many more amazing opportunities waiting for me in the future but this will be something I will never forget. It’s been a life-changing job.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie makes its Scottish Debut in Edinburgh but will also visit Aberdeen and Glasgow later in the year! grab those ticket before they sell out and discover just why everybody is really talking about Jamie!

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Tuesday 3rd to Saturday 7th March, for tickets go to: