The meetings and events venue is one of the healthiest buildings in the UK 

THE Spine, the Northern home of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and new meetings and events venue has won a Plants@Work award for its biophilic installations created by Urban Planters.

Plants are one of the key biophilic elements within The Spine, far from covering a purely aesthetic role, the venue’s plant installations contribute to establish the venue as one of the healthiest buildings in the world.

The plants in The Spine produce oxygen and improve air quality within the building, in line with the requirements to achieve WELL Platinum. They also create a happy and calm environment, helping visitors, guests and colleagues to connect with nature every day and reduce stress levels.

Urban Planter’s plant installations have been awarded two golds at the prestigious Plants@work awards. The Plants@work Awards were introduced in 2004 to celebrate interior landscape excellence. The Spine’s GSky living walls and tropical forests won Best Project 2021: Design & Installation and were later awarded Gold Leaf for Design & Installation over £10,000.

Located by the reception area on the ground floor, the GSky living walls mimic the Voronoi pattern on the façade of the building. Voronoi patterns are extremely common in nature, and can be found in leaves, cells, human skin and animal fur. RCP’s architects used a mixture of specimens to achieve a variety of shades and textures.

Spaces at The Spine’s head of commercial events, Natacha Allen, said: “We are delighted to win this prestigious award. Planting always was a key part of the very design of the building, instead of a later addition.

“Research shows that introducing plants in our indoor environment can lead to a series of benefits for both our physical and psychological wellbeing. For example, plants have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety while also enhancing cognitive, creative and problem-solving skills, and concentration and productivity.

“Combined with the direct access to natural light, filtered water and fresh, purified air, the presence of indoor planting makes The Spine the perfect location to host conferences, meetings, training days and exams.”


L-R: Dr Xiaofeng Wu, international partnerships manager (East Asian) at University of Liverpool, Mi Tang, head of China Affairs at Liverpool City Council, Thomas Camilleri, CEO and founder at Global School Alliance, President - Gary Millar, Chair - Paul Kallee-Grover MBE, group planning director at the Leith Group, Julia Wang, deputy director of international relations at Liverpool John Moores University, Maggie Zhang, China Affairs Co-Ordinator at Liverpool City Council, James Wood, marketing campaign manager at Marketing Liverpool

LIVERPOOL China Partnership has announced a new board of directors and outlined its strategic objectives for the next 18 months.

Liverpool China Partnership is a membership organisation that facilitates purpose-driven relationships between China and the UK for civic and business people and partnerships, opening up doors of opportunities for its members.

Chaired by Paul Kallee-Grover MBE, the new board is made up of directors and representatives from across academia and the private and public sectors. Former deputy mayor of Liverpool, Gary Millar, has also been appointed as the new president of the partnership.

Together, the board will implement a renewed drive to maximise outbound activity to China from the Liverpool City Region, education providers and existing membership, participate and maximise inbound opportunities, for example tour operators and overseas students, maximise the potential for incoming Chinese investment, and a drive to attract new members.

Paul Kallee-Grover MBE, chair of Liverpool China Partnership, said: “Our new board of directors is made up of the very best in their respective fields, and bring with them a fresh outlook that will help us grow the organisation over the coming years, both in terms of our membership and our influence on government policy on a regional, national and international stage.

“I also think the timing is pertinent with the need for an organisation like Liverpool China Partnership being greater than ever. We will support our members in seizing the opportunities presented by Liverpool City Region’s new Freeport status, help them navigate the ongoing challenges to international trade as a result of Brexit and the pandemic, and inform them of the global work being done to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

The new board of directors includes:

  • Chair – Paul Kallee-Grover MBE, group planning director at the Leith Group
  • President – Gary Millar
  • Thomas Camilleri, CEO and founder at Global School Alliance
  • Mi Tang, head of China Affairs at Liverpool City Council
  • Julia Wang, deputy director of international relations at Liverpool John Moores University
  • Dr Xiaofeng Wu, international partnerships manager (East Asian) at University of Liverpool
  • James Wood, marketing campaign manager at Marketing Liverpool
  • Maggie Zhang, China Affairs Co-Ordinator at Liverpool City Council

Liverpool productions Help (Channel 4) and Time (BBC Studios)

LIVERPOOL’S film and TV talent are being recognised with an impressive haul of regional, national and international award nominations.

A number of prestigious industry bodies have announced their awards shortlist with Liverpool’s acting talent and productions filmed in the city, leading the way.

Royal Television Society (RTS) North West, British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) and the Rose d’Or Awards have gone public with their selections, and two dramas made possible by the Liverpool City Region Production Fund – Help (Channel 4) and Time (BBC Studios/BBC) – have the awards spotlight on them.

RTS shortlist includes two top award nominations for productions supported by Liverpool Film Office’s Liverpool City Region (LCR) Production Fund. Jimmy McGovern’s Time is nominated for Best Drama Series, and CBBC’s So Awkward (Channel X/CBBC) is nominated for Best Comedy Programme.

Jimmy, already a RTS Lifetime Achievement award winner, has received a double nomination as Best Script Writer for Anthony (LA Productions for BBC) and Time (BBC Studios for BBC).

Time, which was filmed in Liverpool, also bags lead actor Sean Bean a nomination for RTS North West’s Best Performance in a Drama, as well as Best Director for Lewis Arnold and Best Editing for Sacha Szwarc in RTS Craft & Design Awards.

Liverpool-based Lime Pictures lead with five nominations including two in Best Continuing Drama Storyline, one in Best Digital Creativity, and two Best Performances in a Continuing Drama (Jessica Fox, Kelle Bryan), all for Hollyoaks.

Best Single Drama winner will be announced at the RTS Northwest Awards Ceremony, and it’s hoped Channel 4’s care home COVID-19 drama Help, starring Scousers Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham will secure the win.

Well-respected accolades, the Rose d’Or Awards, have selected both Help and Time in their Drama category.

Meanwhile, on the big screen, director, Huyton-born Philip Barantini leads the BIFA announcement with 11 nominations for single-take chef thriller Boiling Point, starring Stephen Graham. Barantini is nominated for Best Director, Stephen Graham is nominated for Best Actor and Boiling Point is nominated for Best British Independent Film.

Liverpool screenwriter/director, Terence Davies is also nominated for Best Screenplay for new film Benediction.

Liverpool Film Office is also joining the city’s screen celebrations as a finalist in the Makers & Shakers Awards 2021 for Film Commission Initiative of the Year.

Head of Liverpool Film Office, Lynn Saunders: “It’s fantastic to see the region’s film and TV industry get the recognition it deserves.

“It is no surprise to me that so many of the nominations have Liverpool at their heart – the quality of productions being made here increases year-on-year and we are so lucky to be a creative hotbed which allows talent like Jimmy McGovern, Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham to thrive.

“What makes it even more special is that our Production Fund made Time and Help a reality – being able to encourage more local employment, use local businesses and create new training initiatives is reward in itself, but to receive industry recognition for the quality of the final product is the cherry on top.

“These nominations are  paving the way for next year’s BAFTAs and I really hope that Liverpool productions and talent get the nominations – and awards – they deserve.”

Liverpool Film Office manages the LCR Production fund which is supported by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority through its Strategic Investment Fund.

Toby Harris as Leonard Rossiter

IT is October 6th 1984 and we are in a dressing room at London’s Lyric Theatre, partway through a revival of Joe Orton’s Loot. Leonard Rossiter, in costume for Inspector Truscott, stumbles to a chair and collapses. The call is heard; “Mr Rossiter to the stage…” but Mr Rossiter doesn’t come. He is dead in his chair.

So begins Jim Blythe’s affectionate portrait play ‘Rossiter’, and then the actor rises from the chair and begins to reminisce. Toby Harris lets the words do the work, avoiding any direct vocal characterisation (apart from the occasional throwaway quote) and his physical makeup could equally well pass for David Suchet’s Poirot, minus the moustache wax.

The play, such as it is, presents as a series of anecdotes rather than a dramatised monologue. It’s almost like one of those ‘An Audience With’ affairs, charting the actor’s early interest in theatre, through a distinguished and varied stage career to the more lucrative but limiting television work of the ‘70s. It’s a ‘warts removed’ rather than a warts and all depiction, told very much from Rossiter’s own perspective, and much of his personal life and ability to rub people up the wrong way is swept under the carpet.

What does come across brilliantly in both Blythe’s script and Harris’s performance is Rossiter’s prodigious ability to commit lines to memory and his incredibly driven work ethic. Sadly it seems that the very drive that kept him in the spotlight so continuously also contributed to his early demise. But the piece observes that for a man whose life was so steeped in theatre it was only right that he should depart in mid performance.

There are some awkward gear shifts in the writing as it occasionally slips from first to third person and back but all in all Rossiter is a charming, if slightly one-sided, account of the life of one of Liverpool’s most prolific showbiz exports and a much loved character of both stage and screen. Even for those who were aware of the breadth of the man’s output, it makes for impressive listening to hear the catalogue of work set out in under an hour of biographical monologue. It’s surprising that the tale of such a very theatrical man can be told with so little actual theatricality.

Star rating: 3 stars

Review by Nigel Smith

Northern Design Awards judge Linda Barker

AS the Northern Design Awards organisers prepare for next month’s live event, after hosting a virtual event last year, they’ve extended the entry deadline, giving design and architecture firms until the end of the day on Thursday (11th November) to enter their projects.

Previous Northern Design Awards venues have included Liverpool’s Titanic Hotel, and a host of Merseyside firms and projects have won awards (including Thaikhun Street Bar by JMDA, The North Western by Harrison Ince Architects and a Grade II listed apartment project at The Royal Albert Dock by Oliver Steer).

The awards will be open to entries until Thursday, ahead of the ceremony on 26th November. The judging panel is made up of some of recognisable names in design and architecture, including Linda Barker, former BIID President Elect Susie Rumbold and George Bond.

Interior designer, Linda Barker, who has helped to bring her passion for design into the mainstream with her TV presenting work, said: “The Northern Design Awards is a fabulous and exciting event. It’s a celebration that presents all our designers with an important platform enabling all involved to shout loudly about the power, strength and dynamism of our industry.

“No longer are our creatives in the grip of London elitism – this event demonstrates that those in the north are every bit as important and vibrant as the capital’s fat cats! I’ll be watching out for dynamic design teams that are creating some of the most inspiring work seen across the UK.”

The Northern Design Awards have taken place for the past 18 years, usually within landmark buildings across the North of England, and with the welcome return of live events this year, the judges are anticipating a high volume of entries.

Shelley Mears, events director for the awards, said: “Without doubt there is great anticipation for the awards this year. COVID meant that in 2020 we had to present the awards to our audience online. Given that a key element of the awards is very much about networking in person at the event, we are excited for a return to our usual celebrations in November.

“There will be great food and entertainment, our judges will attend in person to meet the finalists and winners and of course the all-important presentations to our winners will take place. After a turbulent 18 months our judges are thrilled to recognise and reward what northern business have achieved – against all odds.”

To enter the Northern Design Awards, visit:

A NEW education centre that will help to train and provide ongoing learning to cardiothoracic healthcare staff, has been officially opened at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital (LHCH).

The new Sir Ken Dodd Knowledge and Education Centre was formally opened by Lady Anne Dodd after their generous ongoing support of the hospital over many years.

Featuring library facilities where staff and students can study, undertake research and stay up to date with the latest clinical knowledge, as well as dedicated training areas, the centre will be an invaluable space for medical and nursing students and other trainees, clinical staff as well as education partners. 

Dr James Greenwood, Director of Medical Education and Consultant Respiratory and Critical Care Physician at LHCH, said: “We are delighted to open our new knowledge and education centre.

“Thanks to the very generous support of Lady Dodd, as well as LHCH Charity, current and future generations of staff and students now have access to the very best knowledge, learning and training facilities.”

Jane Tomkinson, Chief Executive at LHCH, said: “Sir Ken was much-loved by the people of Liverpool, and brought happiness, laughter and smiles wherever he went, even as a patient in hospital – including here at LHCH.

“We also know how much Lady Dodd and Sir Ken have valued the work of the NHS and hospital staff. It is therefore fitting to be able to name this new education and training facility, which will be a place of learning and great support to so many staff and students, in memory of him.”

THE contribution of Beatles manager Brian Epstein to both the music industry and the city’s culture is to be celebrated in Liverpool, as the statue proposed for the city moves a step closer, reaching its crowdfunding target and being submitted for planning application. 

Epstein, who would have been 85, became manager of The Beatles in 1961, after seeing them play in the Cavern Club. The venue was just a short walk from the NEMS Record Store, which Epstein managed, and which played a vital role in the city’s music history, along with that of The Beatles. 

It is proposed that the statue should stand at that site, on the corner with Whitechapel, charting a place that would change the fortunes of both the Fab Four and the music guru. His five-year deal with the band saw them become more professional and guided them not simply to the top of the music charts but into cultural history. 

Born in Liverpool in 1934 to Jewish parents, Epstein also played a key role in the city’s wider music scene, nurturing talent including artists Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, The Moody Blues and The Chants. His work as a promoter was vital to the development of Merseybeat and Liverpool’s cultural reputation in the mid-60s. His commitment to the city, its music and culture has created a powerful legacy still felt today. His death in 1967 was seen as the beginning of the end for The Beatles, who would officially split up in 1970.

Although his sexuality was not publicly known until after his death, it was well known amongst his friends and business associates. As a gay man living at time when homosexuality was illegal, Epstein faced many personal challenges. This is the first statue of an LGBTQ+ figure in Liverpool city centre. Epstein was only 32 when he died and did not live to see the changes that could have impacted on his freedom to publicly express his sexuality (laws were changed a month after his death). An unsung LGBTQ+ icon, Epstein’s statue raises the importance of visibility and representation. 

The Epstein statue has been created by sculptor Andy Edwards, also responsible for The Fab Four statue of John, Paul, George and Ringo at Liverpool’s Pier Head. He also sculpted Bob Marley on Jamaica Street, and co-sculpted the statue of Cilla Black in Mathew Street. The Epstein Statue will measure 1.94m and be cast from bronze by Castle Foundry of Liverpool. 

The statue campaign has been led for the last five years by the Brian Epstein Legacy Project. It has been made possible after a successful public Crowdfunding campaign and funding from Bill Heckle at The Cavern as well as from the Liverpool BID Company. 

Tom Calderbank, who is leading the Brian Epstein Legacy Project, commented:  “The Epstein family have supported us from the start, and I’m made up we’re able to repay that faith by confirming that Brian will finally be justly honoured in his hometown with a wonderful statue by renowned sculptor Andy Edwards. This will be another world-class addition to Liverpool’s Beatle statue trail and overall cultural offer.

“More than 50 years after his death, Brian’s impact on the world is still being felt in so many ways. We’re honoured and humbled to have played a small part in recognising that.”

Bill Addy CEO of Liverpool BID Company said: “Liverpool is a city of performers and creative talent, but its cultural sector is also driven by people like Brian Epstein who see talent and champion it, who support our artists, who promote them and advocate for them. You would never have The Beatles if it wasn’t for Brian Epstein and this statue is not simply to immortalise him, but also those countless thousands who make being an artist possible in this country.”

Sculptor Andy Edwards says he is “elated” the fundraising target has been met to make the casting and siting of the statue here in Liverpool a reality:  “The design is intended to be in the same style as our Beatles statues and relates to them not only in the walking pose, but it maps the short journey Brian would take to The Cavern from his NEMS office, or maybe to meet his boys on the waterfront.

“He could also of course be off to see Gerry, Billy, Tommy, Michael or Cilla. He is such a connective part of musical and cultural history, and he will always be remembered as a very proud part of our identity as the most creatively original, beautifully diverse and warmly caring place you can visit.”

Frank Wedekind’s late 19th century drama Spring Awakening shocked both audiences and censors in its day for its frank and honest exploration of teenage sexuality and repressive culture. Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s Tony and Olivier Award winning musical adaptation pulls no punches in playing it out for maximum impact, with its alternative rock inspired score and lyrics that bring a contemporary punch to expressing the emotions involved.

Warrington-based First Act Drama Tuition have chosen this as their first ever fully staged musical performance, and have brought it to the stage of Liverpool’s Hope Street Theatre this week.

It is a very brave choice of work. It’s a piece that requires a large cast, most of whom need to be able to believably play teenage schoolchildren, but the subject matter is such that any company actually using performers of the correct age group surely give themselves a lot to think about in working through the material in more ways than just its performance. From the basics of understanding sex and sexuality, through teenage pregnancy, abortion and suicide to domestic and institutional child abuse, every scene is pregnant with raw emotion.

It is testament to the skill of both the tuition staff at First Act and to the twelve young actors involved that the entire show is delivered with absolute conviction and holds the audience exactly where they should be emotionally throughout.

This is a huge and very impressive ensemble effort but there are several key thematic lines that both require and receive some very strong performances from the actors. India Poulaud is Wendla, the girl who implores her mother to tell her the facts of life and who, after receiving no help at all in the matter, goes on to get herself into the deepest possible water. Her opening song ‘Mama Who Bore Me’ is reprised with her classmates, expressing their longing for better understanding of their own bodies. Olivia Hebden as Martha also stands out among the cast for her portrayal of a daughter who is abused by her father.

Jack Wright has a heavy responsibility in playing Melchior, the boy who many of his peers look up to for advice, and whose radical ideas don’t sit well with his elders. In fact everyone does look up to Wright, being by far and away the tallest performer onstage, and he matches his physical stature with a towering performance. He gives real weight to his delivery without ever eclipsing the underlying fragility of the character.

Isaac Hartill plays the troubled Moritz, who thinks the frequent ‘sticky’ dreams he is having are a sign of madness. Despite Melchior’s efforts to help him, Moritz cannot escape the shame of failing a crucial exam, and Hartill valiantly succeeds in plumbing the depths of emotion as he spirals towards self-destruction.

Wright and Poulaud go on to share a lot of very intense stage time together in Melchior and Wendla’s budding romance, which results in the inevitable and ultimately fatal disgrace for Wendla.

Meanwhile, Hanschen has his own sexual awakening as he finds he has fallen for his classmate Ernst. Toby Holmes deals with the introduction of this thread with a perfect balance of sensitivity and humour in his solo scenes as Hanschen. Jake Burke matches this delicacy of performance as Ernst, who is at first terrified but ultimately admits that the he also loves Hanschen. There is no small irony in this being about the only relationship that seems to be taking a positive path, doomed as it must have been to secrecy in the period.

The remaining cast all put in equally strong vocal and dramatic performances in the more minor roles, but a special mention must go to Harvey Farrell as Georg – the kid who carries a torch for one of his teachers. Farrell plays second keyboard at frequent intervals throughout the play and also adds some impressive vocals. He is joined musically by Poulaud, who plays guitar, the two of them providing the additional score elements in support of Musical Director Ashley Walsh, who plays keyboard and cello.

There is a rawness about the entire ensemble’s performances that gives real edge to the often angry, angst-ridden music and lyrics, balanced with a sensitivity that belies the youth of the individual players. The choreography is edgy too, and makes smart use of the intimate performance space.

First Act says that the inclusion of musical theatre in their curriculum is, among other things, aimed at developing their students as ‘triple threat’ performers and, if this first musical staged by them under the pin-sharp direction of Kit Philips is any indicator, they are succeeding big-time. Talent spotters for casting agencies need to keep a close eye on this company.

Star rating: 4½ stars

Review by Nigel Smith

Goldilocks with three bears. Pic: David Munn

Halloween? It’s behind you! It’s time to start planning Christmas activities and when it comes to the festive season, Panto is a must – OH YES IT IS! (sorry)…

No matter what your age, we’ve got you sorted. Here’s a roundup of some key shows and events for some jolly holly fun…

Royal Court Theatre – Scouse Sleeping Beauty

Let’s start with something for the gown ups….

Just like the Royal Court’s last few festive shows, this is not for kids so treat yourselves to a babysitter and book in for a great night out.

Once upon a time there lay a land that was so beautiful that it was almost good enough to be a World Heritage Site. Over the last eighteen months times had been hard as folk were not allowed to leave their homes unless they had lots of money. But one day the King brought joy to all the people as he announced the arrival of his baby daughter Ora. All of the villagers rejoiced… Well, nearly all.

The wicked fairy Maleffluent had evil plans in place for the princess so she slapped a curse on Ora that can only be broken by true love’s kiss. After a bit of time travel, an 18-year kip for Maleffluent and some serious wooing will Ora escape the evil fairy’s clutches? How many times will the script make jokes about the council that might get the theatre shut down?

The full cast is now confirmed as: Emma Grace Arends, Emma Bispham, Jamie Clarke, Michael Fletcher, Lindzi Germain, Hayley Sheen, Andrew Schofield, Keddy Sutton and Liam Tobin. The show is directed by Stephen Fletcher.

Tickets –

Epstein Theatre  – Beauty and the Beast

Now back to traditional family-friendly pantomimes, and this couldn’t be more perfect. The first show in the recently re-acquired Epstein Theatre, Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time with lots of fun twists.

Television actor and West End performer Ben Richards will lead the cast as Gaston. He is best known for his roles in Hollyoaks, Footballers Wives, Holby City and The Bill. 

He will be joined on stage by Lauren McCrory as Belle; Kelly Sweeney as Fairy Rose; Lewis Devine as French Frank; Jamie Greer as Potty Polly; James Lacey as Madame Botox; and Benjamin Keith as the Beast. 

The show will be directed by Jane Joseph and produced by Regal Entertainments Ltd, who’s pantomimes annually receive rave reviews and sold out auditoriums.

Tickets –

Telephone bookings: 0844 888 9991. Group and school bookings are available by calling 0844 888 9991.

The Atkinson Southport – Cinderella

The Atkinson has pulled out all the stops recruiting scouse royalty Claire Sweeney as their Christmas fairy godmother.

The pantomime will be produced by LHK Productions, who have for over 15 years’ experience creating shows and musical productions worldwide. Producer Lee Kelly said: “We are really looking forward to returning to the fabulous Atkinson Theatre, following the overwhelming success of our Christmas pantomime last year. You can expect a fun and heart-warming show with a modern twist, full of dancing, singing and some enchanting surprises – the perfect Christmas family show.”

Tickets –

The Everyman Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto – Robin Hood

After two years away, Liverpool’s famous Rock ‘n’ Roll panto is back. The production of Robin Hood will finally make its way to the Everyman stage this Christmas, as regular writers Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton put their own marvellously mischievous spin on the classic tale of heroism, social justice… and tights.

Tickets –

Otterspool Adventure – Jack and The beanstalk

After the success of last year, the team at Otterspool Adventure will once again be creating the ultimate winter wonderland this year, full of enchanting events, crafts & activities.

Managing Director Cheryl Cosgrove said “We were overwhelmed with the response to last year’s event and have lots of festive fun planned for 2021.” The show will see a guest appearance from Liverpool radio presenter Claire Simmo playing the ‘Veggie Fairy’.

In addition to the pantomime, tickets for the 2021 Christmas Experience include a visit to Santa’s grotto and toy workshop (to pick a gift of their choice), Storytime with Mrs Claus whilst decorating gingerbread, a Make-a-Bear workshop, an ice-skating rink and full use of the adventure playground.

Tickets –

The Hope Street Theatre – Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty promises to be the biggest pantomime the venue has hosted, and producer Christopher Jones is excited with how well the show is selling already. “For our first pantomime in the city, we are over the moon with how well the show is selling – with some shows already sold out and others close we are sure that Sleeping Beauty is going to be a huge success.
“The intimate space of The Hope Street Theatre alongside our talented cast will make sure every person who attends is part of the magic. We are even putting on special relaxed and BSL signed performances to ensure we can bring the joy of pantomime to as many people as possible.”

Tickets – or via telephone on 0344 561 0622

The M&S Bank Arena – Cinderella 

Shone Productions Ltd presents Liverpool’s Biggest Ever Pantomime. Cinderella in The Auditorium at M&S Bank Arena From 18 until 28 December 2021.

The show will star Radio City’s Leanne Campbell as The Fairy Godmother, Comedy Star Bippo as Buttons, X Factor’s David Heath as Prince Charming, Waterloo Road’s Shannon Flynn as Cinderella, CITVs Chris Edgerley as Dandini and David Drewitt & Danny Jay as the Ugly Sister’s.

Cinderella has always dreamed of leaving her dull life as a servant to meet a handsome Prince. After the announcement that Prince Charming is going to hold a royal ball, it seems she may get her wish after all, but with the Ugly Sisters around, who knows what will happen. Maybe with the help of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and a generous helping of fairy dust, and a glass slipper, perhaps Cinderella’s wish could come true and she will live happily ever after?

This magical pantomime features Great Songs, Dazzling Dance Routines, Stunning Scenery, Beautiful Costumes and Amazing Special Effects – It will be an unforgettable experience for children and adults alike.

So, make sure you get your ticket for the biggest ball this year!

Tickets available from 

St Helens Theatre Royal – Goldilocks and The Three Bears

Leading panto producers Regal Entertainments have announced that Hollyoaks actor David Tag (Sylvester ‘Sylver’ McQueen) will be leading the cast at the ever-popular St Helens Theatre Royal.

The festive show promises to be just right with its mix of unbelievable circus tricks, madcap comedy capers, Regal’s high production values, and a smash-hit selection of chart hits to sing and dance along to.

Cast members have been training for six months ahead of the show to master a number of circus skills and stunts which will feature in the show, including aerial skills and hoops.

Tickets –

In person: Monday to Saturday / 10am to 5pm – Telephone bookings: Call 01744756000

Liverpool Ice Festival – Liverpool Waterfront

Between 19th November to 3rd January 2022 Liverpool Ice Festival will transport the region into a frozen winter wonderland. Located at Pier Head, the festival will include a covered ice rink, to ensure the elements don’t hamper any Christmas spirits, as well as a fully stocked Alpine Bar and a 30 metre ice slide.

There will also be an array of rides for all the family, as well as a Bavarian Food Court.

Tickets –

Silcock’s Witner Wonderland – Manchester

Okay so it’s not a panto – but it’s a good alternative for those looking for something a but different.

The UK’s largest indoor Christmas theme returns indoors at EventCity next to the Intu Trafford Centre this festive season.
Kingpin Events will transform the indoor 22,000sq m exhibition space into a magical winter wonderland, featuring more than 50 family rides and attractions all under one roof including dodgems, roller coasters, waltzers and too many children’s rides to mention. There is also an array of theatrical shows on the main stage including TV stars Daisy and Ollie, Ice Princess Show, Christmas Meltdown plus the spectacular Christmas Circus, all with daily performances. Not to mention being greeted by Elves and Fairies and the amazing surprises that are still to be announced!

If this wasn’t enough there are also games stalls and festive foods from German sausages to waffles and crepes, as well as an authentic German Bar for alcoholic drinks and refreshments.

Bookings via telephone can be made by calling 0344 815 7131 for both individual and group bookings.

The Liverpool Empire – Dreamgirls

If panto and festive shows just aren’t what you fancy, The Liverpool Empire are here for you with Dreamgirls

Direct from the West End with an extraordinary story and the unforgettable, spine-tingling vocals that send audiences wild, this spectacular musical production features the classic songs And I Am Telling You I’m Not GoingListen, I Am Changing and One Night Only.

Meet The Dreams – Effie, Lorrell and Deena – three talented young singers in the turbulent 1960s, a revolutionary time in American music history. Join the three friends as they embark upon a musical rollercoaster ride through a world of fame, fortune and the ruthless realities of show business, testing their friendships to the very limit.

Tickets – 

FROM Friday 12 November to Thursday 23 December the Liverpool Christmas market will return, with around 40 stalls, festive rides and twinkly lights will transform St John’s Gardens, William Brown Street and the area around the North Entrance of St George’s Hall (near the Stebble Fountain) – in a slight change of location this year.

Open every day, the market will be packed with a range of food and drink, including the famous Yorkshire pudding wraps, German sausages, dipped pretzels, siu mai, crêpes and hot chocolate.

Those after a festive tipple can choose between from a variety of festive themed bars including the iconic Windmill, Tepee tent and Barrel Bar, as well as the Alpine Lodge and its karaoke cable cars. For 2021 there is also the new addition of the Bavarian bar where visitors can try a selection of German beers or hot cider.         

Shoppers looking for the perfect gift will find personalised decorations, glass baubles, photo prints and jewellery.

Kids (big and small) can enjoy Santa’s Village with its variety of festive rides including a big wheel and a giant Bavarian snow slide.

Plans are also being put in place for live entertainment to take place at the markets across the festive period, and Culture Liverpool is on the hunt for any local music talent who would like to be part of the programme. Performers must be over 18 and be able to provide their own small PA system. Anyone interested should contact the team via email –

The market will be open Sunday to Wednesday 11am to 9pm and Thursday to Saturday 11am to 10pm. Following the announcement around roadworks taking a break around the Christmas period, the Christmas markets will be accessible from lower and upper William Brown Street and via St Johns Lane.

The markets are organised and operated by Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team, in partnership with Clark Events.


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