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This month

Stuff to do this December!  Don’t forget to check out our guides to the best pantos and Christmas shows and best pop-up ice rinks.  I’ll be adding to the monthly regularly and, if you think there’s something I’ve missed, do drop me a line:   x


The Open House, Ustinov Studio, Bath, until Sat 23 Dec 

Photo Simon Annand


This is the second UK premier this Autumn here in Bath (yah boo sucks, London Town),  this time it’s the award-winning US play about family life, a mix of dark reality and surreal comedy…fasten your safety belts.


Stephen K Amos – Bread and Circuses,  The Brewhouse, Taunton, Fri 1 Dec
The Romans used cheap food and plentiful entertainment, panem et circenses or ‘bread and circuses’,  to distract the masses when things weren’t going so well. So forget Brexit, Trump and all in the company of the TV, radio and Fringe stand up with a reputation for audience participation.
Dunster by Candlelight, all around Dunster, Fri 1 – Sun 3 Dec

Lantern lighting procession, 17th century soldiers with flaming torches, street entertainers, music, stalls, food and drink, with the Castle and mediaeval town lit up by candlelight. All in aid of St Margaret’s Hospice.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain with bells on,  Theatre Royal,  Bath, Sun 3 Dec



Bring your own uke along and join in with the global ukulele sensation.

Paul Smith Sale, Kilver Court Designer Village, Shepton Mallet, Fri 1 – Sun 3 Dec
Elbows out at the ready, it’s the Paul Smith sale at Kilver Court, with up to 70 per cent off women and men’s gear and accessories. Never miss this one, so see you there? Late night shopping until 8pm on the Friday.
Festive Food Fair & Family Saturday, Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, Sat 2 Dec
Make Christmas dex inspired by the contemporary art gallery’s current exhibitions – Josephsohn / Märkli. A Conjunction’ and ‘Rita Ackermann. Turning Air Blue’ – have your face painted, buy Crimbo stuff from local producers, sup soup and stew with crusty bread and nibble on toasted chestnuts from the Roth Bar & Grill.

The Frome Independent Christmas market, all around Frome, Sun 3 Dec

If you’ve not been to this brilliant street market yet make this Sunday the time you do. The streets of the town will be awash with designer-makers, vintage, local food and drink, etc.

Lily and the Snow Bear, The MacMillan Theatre, Bridgwater, Sun 3 Dec

Lost bear, a little girl, puppets – should keep the very littlest happy for a bit. And if they’re happy, you’re happy, right?

Disenchanted, Rondo Theatre, Bath, Weds 6 – Sat 9 Dec

In this tale of fairytale princesses, the royal renegades toss off their tiaras in a hilariousy subversive musical that comes from off Broadway. Not one for the kids.

White Christmas at Forde Abbey, Chard, Thurs 7–Thurs 21 Dec

Photo Andrew Maybury Lowres

An illuminated trail around the gardens, Christmas dex up around the house, mulled wine and mince pies, and on Sat 16 & Sun 17 Dec, Father Christmas by the fireside – if this doesn’t put you in the mood for Crimbo….

Hansel & Gretel, Merlin Theatre, Frome, Thurs 7 – Sat 16 Dec

The Merlin Theatre’s in-house production.

Lickety Spit’s Nativity, Tobacco Factory, Bristol, Fri 8 – Sat 30 Dec

Likety spit tobacco factory

Photo Coe Creative

They’re promising a cornucopia of comic Christmassy crudeness with silly songs, pitiful puppetry and plenty of Bibical befuddlement. So I’m in then. For over 16s only.

Carols under the stars, NT Fyne Court, nr Bridgwater, Sat 9 Dec

(c) National Trust Images Jim Elliot

They can’t promise the snow but there will be a grand sparkling Christmas tree and candles in the courtyard,  as well as the community choir Company of Voices. Sounds pretty magical.

Jules Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Colston Hall, Sat 9 & Sun 10 Dec

Not just Jules and his band but also José Feliciano, Ruby Turner, Louise Marshall, Beth Rowley and with original Squeeze member Gilson Lavis on drums. Music from across his career plus new stuff from his latest collaboration with José.

Cinderella – the Australian Ballet, Westlands, Yeovil, Sun 10 Dec

australian ballet

How do you like your Cinderella? With dames and cheesey jokes? Or en pointe? You can see both in Yeovil, with Cinderella the panto over at The Octagon and the Australian ballet’s glamourous and romantic  version here.

NT Live: Young Marx, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Weds Dec 13 

Photo: Manuel Harlan

Watch the very first production from London’s newest theatre, The Bridge, from the comfort of your seat in Taunton (you’ve sort of got your finger on the pulse). A 32-year-old Karl Marx (Rory Kinnear) is hiding in Soho, broke, restless and horny, with his writing blocked, marriage dying and friend Friedrich Engels (Oliver Chris) in despair at his wasted genius. His only option is a job on the railway but there’s still no one in the capital who can show you a better night on the piss. I’m in then.

Classic Christmas, Gourmet Picture Company, Royal Victoria Park, Bath, various dates between Thurs 14 Dec–Sun 7 Jan

Rick Stein and Tom Kerridge pop up in Bath with the Gourmet Picture Company, offering three-course meals curated by the two chefs accompanied by screeenings of classic films. Oooh, nice. The programme kicks off with Casablanca and ends with Wonderwoman, with 28 other movies including Life of Pi, When Harry Met Sally, Iron Man and many more in between.

Alight! Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath, Thurs 14–Sun 17 Dec

Piano Migrations (c) National Trust- Nicola Easterby

Light and sound installations after dark in the Georgian gardens, inspired by nature and created by leading artists Kathy Hinde and Ulf Pedersen, with mulled wine on the opening night. From Sat 9–Sun 24, the Cabinet area at the top of the gardens will be decked out as a Georgian Christmas with games, crafts and refreshments.

Women with Vision, Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, Sat 16 Dec –Sun 11 March 2018

Helix, Sandra Blow

Women in British art, past, present and future, to coincide with Vote100 celebrations (centenary of British women’s suffrage) and 160 years of the RWA. Artists include Cornelia Parker, Elisabeth Frink, Sonia Lawson and Sandra Blow.

The Matthew Robins Christmas Show, Ustinov Studio, Fri 23 Dec

Romantic science-fiction shadow operas with paper cut outs, cardboard animations and a live band – as performed at the Barbican,  Tate Modern and National Theatre. Intrigued? I am.

Stars of Magic, Redgrave Theatre, Bristol, Weds 27–Sat 30 Dec

Seven magicians and illusionists from the UK, Portugal, France and Italy come together to make you gasp in wonderment (or be mildly entertained) – with everything from Las Vegas-style illusions to sleight of hand magic.


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