Whether you love ballet or opera, or prefer carols to classic pop, there’s something for all tastes in these seasonal shows …
Savage Singing Sessions at The Sugar Club, Dublin
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear – so says the Savage Singing Sessions (and of course Buddy from Elf!) a choir directed by singer and arranger Roisin Savage. They will be performing at The Sugar Club on December 20 at 8pm – their second gig this month – with a set list of festive hits and carols including Little Drummer Boy to Stay Another Day. Tickets are available on Ticketweb. Do follow this uplifting choir on @savagesingingsessions.
Toy Show the Musical, The Convention Centre, Dublin
The brainchild of two Late Late Show producers – Jane Murphy and Katherine Drohan – Toy Show The Musical, which opened this week, brings the magic of the Toy Show to life on stage. It promises to sweep audiences along on one little girl’s adventure as everyone in her town prepares for the Toy Show. The stars of the show are undoubtedly its youngest performers Ceola Dunne, Clare Keely and Doireann McNally. Adult roles are played by Jamie Beamish (Bridgerton, Derry Girls, Otto Bathurst’s Halo, Billy The Kid) Clare Barrett (Fair City, Medicine, Wild Mountain Thyme, Trad), and Anna Healy (The Spin, The Last Return, Mother’s Day and Emmerdale). The show continues until December 31 and tickets are priced at €25; www.rte.ie/toyshowthemusical.
Peter Pan, UCH Limerick
For some pantomime, UCH Limerick is debuting its take on the flyaway fairy tale Peter Pan, on Thursday, December 15. There will be two shows each day in addition to a special sensory relaxed show on Friday, December 23. For this show, the team is providing a sign language interpreter, surtitles to assist with impaired hearing, softer lighting and no strobes and less sudden noise. Space for guide dogs will also be provided. To learn more and book tickets visit www.uch.ie.
The Sunday Service, Grainstad an Gheimhridh
On Sunday, December 18, from 5pm – 6.30pm is an edition of The Sunday Service, an online self-care experience curated for women. It will mark the winter solstice or Grianstad an Gheimhridh. Solstice means “standstill” and refers to the three days around December 21 when the sun appears to stand still. Imelda May and Aine Tyrell will be participating in this event, which is to raise funds for SiSi, a service that supports women survivors of abuse in Ireland. The restorative Winter Solstice event is available via Zoom. For more information visit www.thetrailblazery.com.
Nutcracker Sweeties, Ballet Ireland
Ballet Ireland’s festive Christmas classic Nutcracker Sweeties is currently touring 14 venues around Ireland until December 23. Set in a department store in Dublin, the main characters are Ciara and her brother Fionn, who wander off from their parents. The pair are rescued by the Nutcracker Doll who comes to life transporting them to the magical Kingdom of The Sweets where the two meet the majestic Sugar Plum Fairy. With choreography by Morgann Runacre-Temple, this ballet appeals to all ages with its fairy tale setting, exquisite costumes, and a re-imagined Tchaikovsky score. For information on tour dates visit www.balletireland.ie.
Christmas in Ireland with Imelda May and Friends, Sky Arts
Filmed at the iconic Pepper Canister Church in the heart of Dublin, Christmas In Ireland with Imelda May and Friends features music and literary performances, from well-known and up-and-coming artists. Produced to celebrate the now legendary Grafton Street Christmas Eve Busk, and shot in front of a live audience from the Simon Community, the Sky Original will feature festive favourites like The Wexford Carol and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and will see Imelda May joined onstage by musicians Glen Hansard, Jack Lukeman, Loah, Hawke The Band and more. Alongside these musical performances, Sharon Corr recites Patrick Kavanagh’s A Christmas Childhood while The Dubliners’ John Sheahan, performs a self-penned poem about Christmas at home. Viewers will also be treated to a very special rendition of Marino Waltz that sees John joined onstage by his daughter Ceoladh, Séamus and Caoimhe Uí Fhlatharta and Cormac de Barra. The show will premiere on Sky Arts and NOW, on Saturday, December 24 at 9.30pm.
Allegri & Orchestra North West, at The Guildhall, Derry
On December 17, Allegri Ladies Choir will join forces with Orchestra North West in the Guildhall, Derry to perform a beautiful programme of music. The show will include Howard Blake’s timeless orchestral work The Snowman as well as popular pieces such as Troïka, Gaudete and some original takes on a few festive tunes which you will know and love; www.visitderrry.com.
Carols at Avoca Dunboyne, Co Meath
Enjoy some carols by candlelight in aid of The Gavin Glynn Foundation at Avoca Dunboyne, Piercetown, Dunboyne, Co Meath on Thursday, December 15. The carols commence at 6pm, during which mulled wine will be served. Afterwards there’s a chance to enjoy some late night shopping – as the store will remain open until 9.30pm. Tickets are available from www.eventbrite.com and ticket holders will have ten per cent discount in store.
Handel’s Messiah is as timeless today as it was when it premiered in Dublin in 1742. As one of the greatest oratorios ever written, it is a composition that has never waned in popular and critical appeal. Irish Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir Ireland are collaborating on a special production of Handel’s Messiah in Kilkenny from December 15-18. The combination of period instruments and full chorus reveals this much-loved work in all its original colour and splendour. Hailed as the “master of sacred and secular music,” Handel’s talent of composing for voice and instrument shines through in Messiah. Among the arias and uplifting choruses are: Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, Rejoice greatly O daughter of Zion, The trumpet shall sound, For unto us a child is born, and the rousing Hallelujah Chorus. Messiah will be directed by IBO’s esteemed artistic director Peter Whelan; www.visitkilkenny.ie.
Drive in Christmas movies, Ferry Terminal, Dun Laoghaire
On Saturday, December 17, drive-in movies opens at Ferry Terminal, Dún Laoghaire with festive favourite The Grinch at 4pm followed by Scrooged at 7pm. On Sunday, December 18 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is on the big screen at 4pm, followed by Christmas blockbuster It’s a Wonderful Life at 7pm. Tickets are available from dlrevents.eventbrite.ie at €15 per vehicle.
Westlife – Home For Christmas
I have to admit that one of my favourite Christmas CDs is Westlife’s Allow Us To Be Frank. Fans will know all about their concerts which begin on Tuesday, December 20 at 6pm, in the 3Arena Dublin. Such has been the demand for tickets, extra shows have been organised on December 21 and 22. Tickets are from €72 plus booking fee; www.ticketmaster.ie; www.westlife.com.
Carols by NI Opera, The Harrison Chambers of Distinction, Belfast
There’s still time to book into a special festive getaway, from £90, at The Harrison Chambers of Distinction, Belfast and combine some Christmas shopping with posh carols. On Sunday, December 18 guests will be serenaded with carols over mulled wine and nibbles by members of NI Opera, from 6pm – 7pm. Owner Melanie Harrison has compiled a handy guide to insider places to visit and shop in Belfast which is an invaluable guide; www.chambersofdistinction.com.
Swan Lake, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin 2
We’re booking ahead for The Estonian National Ballet’s production of Swan Lake on at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for five days only from January 11-15. This is bound to be one of the most spectacular ballets as it will be accompanied by the Irish National Opera Orchestra and has a touring company of over 90 people. Audiences will be captivated by Tchaikovsky’s core as well as the story detailing the romance of Prince Siegfried’s love for the Swan Queen Odeette and their battel against the evil sorcerer Rothbart. Tickets are from €31.00 available from Ticketmaster.
An Evening with Phil Rosenthal, 3Olympia Theatre Dublin
One to book for the new year: creator, writer and producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, and Netflix food and travel lover Phil Rosenthal is bringing his live tour: An Evening with Phil Rosenthal to 3Olympia Theatre Dublin on January, 30. He’ll be talking about his travels, the food along the way, the new Somebody Feed Phil The Book (available at the venue), with a special guest at each show. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, December 16 from www.ticketmaster.ie.