Review: Father Christmas Live At Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

Every year as part of our Christmas traditions, we read a festive story every night on the run up to the big day. One book we always love is Raymond Briggs’ classic Father Christmas. Over the years it’s also become a tradition to watch the film adaptation and along with The Snowman, it’s something we love watching together as a family. We were therefore delighted to be invited to watch Pins and Needles Productions’ theatre adaptation of Father Christmas at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale.

Father Christmas At Waterside Arts Centre, Sale
Picture © Jason Lock Photography.

Raymond Briggs’ creation is a grumpy but lovable St. Nick who is preparing for another “bloomin’ Christmas”. We follow him as he goes about his day, from waking up and feeding his pets, to packing up his sleigh and delivering the presents.

Pins and Needles have adapted the story beautifully as we watch the classic story come to life on stage. The scenery was wonderful and so familiar from the book. The backdrop adapted to show Father Christmas’ travels throughout the day and night and it was really effective.

Mike Aherne was perfectly cast as Father Christmas himself. He was the only human character on stage, but he was joined by puppeteer Richard Booth. Richard was in charge of the animals’ movements and sounds. The animals were full of character and so realistic I almost forgot they weren’t real! The final cast member was the incredibly talented musician Katy Sobey. Katy provided all the sound effects, from eggs sizzling in a pan, to playing musical instruments and singing songs. She was sat in full view of the audience so we could see how she made the variety of sounds. My kids were fascinated with her and the creative ways she made the sounds.

Picture © Jason Lock Photography.

We have visited Waterside before to watch Guess How Much I Love You and it’s one of my favourite venues when visiting with young children. It’s quite compact and intimate and because of this every seat provides a good view of the stage. The actual show is also perfect for younger visitors. Its 50 minutes long and without an interval which we found to be perfect so our three year old didn’t become restless. You can also pay £2 for the children to receive cookies and milk as they watch the show, and they’re welcome to wear pyjamas to the evening shows. It’s the perfect way to introduce your little one to the theatre.

Tickets are still available now and the show runs up until New Years Eve. Click here to book your tickets.

I was offered complimentary tickets but as always views are my own. 


  1. Sounds like a wonderful show my kids would enjoy especially with Santa and the puppeteers. It just gets all of us into a more festive mood

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