Seven shows to get you in the festive spirit this Christmas

Sleeping Beauty at Sunderland Empire.
Faye Tozer as The Good Fairy
Sleeping Beauty at Sunderland Empire. Faye Tozer as The Good Fairy

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas - and to celebrate we’ve rounded up eight of the top shows to get you in the festive mood.

•Sleeping Beauty, Sunderland Empire, December 9-31

Santa's Little Helper, Arts Centre Washington

Santa's Little Helper, Arts Centre Washington

Honourary Mackem Faye Tozer, who lives in Boldon with her Sunderland-born husband, stars as the good fairy in this classic tale. The former Steps star will be joined on stage by former Coronation Street star Vicky Entwistle as Carabosse; Balamory’s PC Plum actor Andrew Agnew as Silly Billy; Bobby Crush as Nurse Nelly and Eastenders actress Amy-Leigh Hickman as Princess Briar Rose.

Speaking about the Empire, Faye said: “It’s an incredible theatre. Sometimes it’s something people take for granted: to have a wonderful venue like this on your doorstep.”

Jack and the Beanstalk, Customs House, South Shields, November 29 to January 7

Customs House stalwart Ray Spencer – who many will know as his former alter ego Tommy the Trumpeter – stars as the Dame with panto regulars Luke Maddison as Jack and Steven Lee Hamilton as baddie Fleshcreep. Also back as part of the Customs House panto family are Natasha Haws, as principal girl, and Gareth Hunter as her dad the Mayor.

Peter Pan at Steel's Social Club at Pallion

Peter Pan at Steel's Social Club at Pallion

•Cinderella, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, November 22 to January 15

One of the longest runs in the season, the Theatre Royal panto features favourite comedy trio Danny Adams, Clive Webb and Chris Hayward. Expect fabulous costumes and dazzling effects.

Jack and the Beanstalk, Billingham Forum, December 3 to January 8

X Factor star Lola Saunders is excited to take on her first pantomime this Christmas. The East Boldon singer is heading back to the North East to appear in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Forum Theatre, in Billingham. The 22-year-old, who made it to the live finals of X Factor in 2014, said: “I’m so happy that I’m doing my first ever panto in the North East.

Jack and the Beanstalk at the Customs House.

Jack and the Beanstalk at the Customs House.

“It’ll be the best of both worlds getting to perform on stage every night and then go back home afterwards.”

•Peter Pan, Steels Social Club, Pallion, Sunderland, November 25-27

Steels Social Club Concert Room in Pallion will be transformed into mythical Neverland this weekend as Centre Stage brings the classic story of Peter Pan to life. Sunderland-based theatre group Centre Stage has been producing musicals and pantomimes in the city for over twenty years. This year they return to Steels to present a family panto version of Peter Pan.

•Santa’s Little Helper, Arts Centre Washington, December 5-11

This is a funny, festive, family adventure with a very happy ending. Guaranteed to have your spirits flying higher than Rudolph! For children aged three and over.

•Jack and the Beanstalk, Durham Gala Theatre, November 24 to January 7

Following last year’s acclaimed and best-selling panto Cinderella, creative duo Neil Armstrong and Paul Harley are back to write, direct and star in the Gala Theatre pantomime once more.

Always a favourite with families, Jack and the Beanstalk sees Jack fall in love with Princess Jilliana, but she is kidnapped by the evil wizard Fleshcreep

•Aladdin, Hartlepool Town Hall, Raby Road, Hartlepool , from December 16 to 28