10 unmissable events happening in Edinburgh and Glasgow this December

10 unmissable events happening in Edinburgh and Glasgow this December

Six / credit: Idil Sukan

Including Six, SQIFF and Scottish Ballet's Cinderella

The hands-down grandstanding hit of the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe takes over the Armadillo this Christmas with the story of Henry VIII's reign of terror told straight through the eyes of his six brides. Clad in funky Tudor garb, Catherines Howard, Parr and of Aragon, Annes Boleyn and Cleves, and Jane Seymour, all give us their perspective of a previously one-sided story through the medium of a Spotify-friendly soundtrack. Six is herstory in the making.
SEC, Glasgow, Thu 20–Sun 30 Dec.

Sleep in the Park
Taking place this year in Dundee and Aberdeen as well as in the central belt, Social Bite's admirable attempt to defeat homelessness, Sleep in the Park, has another selection of big-hitters on board, such as Lulu, Irvine Welsh, KT Tunstall, and Eddi Reader, while Frightened Rabbit make their first appearances on a stage since the death of frontman Scott Hutchison.
Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre, Glasgow; Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Sat 8 Dec.

The Mother
Inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Mother features the special dance talents of Natalia Osipova and Jonathan Goddard while mercurial choreographer Arthur Pita directs operations in this festive spectacular.
Pleasance at EICC, Edinburgh, Fri 21 & Sat 22 Dec.

Whether the world will be a better place in 2019 than it was in 2018 is up for debate, but Edinburgh will be triggering a new year celebration in style with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Gerry Cinnamon, Capercaillie, and DJ Andy Joyce all appearing at Edinburgh's Hogmanay.
Various venues, Edinburgh, Mon 31 Dec.

Another top Scottish Queer International Film Festival is on its way, featuring opening night shorts, the true story of a female-owned, all-black underground strip club in 90s LA, and lesbian representation on screen with Dykes, Camera, Action!.
Various venues, Glasgow, Wed 5–Sun 9 Dec.

Scottish Ballet's Cinderella
As Scottish Ballet heads towards its 50th year celebrations, great movement and well-conceived comedy merge in Christopher Hampson's adaptation of the classic fairy tale Cinderella.
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Sat 8–Sun 30 Dec; Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 4–Sat 12 Jan.

Stewart Francis
With Into the Punset, the UK-based Canadian and one-man joke factory is officially signing off on his live comedy career with a show that he insists is a fitting final curtain to a decade of top-notch gagging.
Motherwell Concert Hall and Theatre, Sat 1 Dec, then touring.

Tortoise in a Nutshell crack open another gem for younger audiences with Flutter, a show all about the joys of winter as two sisters discover their garden has been transformed by snow.
Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh, Sun 25–Thu 29 Nov; Platform, Glasgow, Sat 1–Wed 5 Dec.

Margaret Salmon
The Jarman Award-nominated artist brings us Hole, a 16mm film shot through a camera that is pretty much attached to her and which reflects the mundane but universally recognisable.
DCA, Dundee, Sat 8 Dec–Sun 24 Feb.

The Giant Lanterns of China (chosen by musician Phil Cunningham)
I meant to go to this last year but missed it, though I sent my goddaughter and her mum and they had a magnificent time. I've been a huge fan and a member of the zoo since I was a little boy. They have something in the region of about 450 giant lanterns based on myth and legend and I think this year there's even going to be a Loch Ness Monster. It's the kind of thing you can make an afternoon of by seeing the animals first and then going to this when the lights die down so you get the full benefit of it. I like anything large-scale and when things are done big and done well. It's a great venue for it. I think it will be especially fun to just watch the faces on the weans.
Phil Cunningham's Christmas Songbook, Albert Halls, Stirling, Sat 15 Dec; Perth Concert Hall, Sun 16 Dec; Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Wed 19 Dec; Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 21 & Sat 22 Dec; The Giant Lanterns of China, Edinburgh Zoo, Fri 16 Nov–Sun 17 Feb.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Phil Cunningham's Christmas Songbook

One of the masters of Scottish contemporary folk is joined by a selection of special guests for a showcase of modern and traditional Christmas music.

Music Hall, Aberdeen

Sat 17 Dec

£30 / 01224 641122

Perth Concert Hall

Tue 20 Dec

£25 / 01738 621031


  • 5 stars

Musical comedy show featuring Henry VIII's six wives finally telling their side of the story through music and accompanied by a six piece band.

Bristol Hippodrome

Tue 20 Sep

£13–£55.40 / 0844 847 2325

Wed 21 Sep

£13–£55.40 / 0844 847 2325

Thu 22 Sep

£13–£55.40 / 0844 847 2325

…and 2 more dates until 24 Sep

Festival Theatre Edinburgh

Tue 15 Mar

0131 529 6000

Wed 16 Mar

0131 529 6000

Thu 17 Mar

0131 529 6000

…and 8 more dates until 26 Mar

Liverpool Empire Theatre

Tue 12 Apr

£13–£52.90 / 0333 009 6690

Wed 13 Apr

£13–£52.90 / 0333 009 6690

Thu 14 Apr

£13–£52.90 / 0333 009 6690

…and 2 more dates until 16 Apr

Also at:

Scottish Ballet: Cinderella

Scottish Ballet present Christopher Hampson’s re-working of the classic fairytale, featuring Prokofiev’s sumptuous score, performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay

Edinburgh's world-famous New Year's celebrations, comprising three days of events, five stages of bands and DJs and over 60,000 revellers on Princes Street for the big night. As well as the stunning fireworks display above Edinburgh Castle and the perennially sell-out Concert in the Gardens – this year featuring Eddie…

Stewart Francis: Into the Punset

Surreal and deadpan one-liners from the Canadian stand-up and TV regular, as seen on Mock The Week and Live At The Apollo.

Scottish Queer International Film Festival

Scotland’s annual celebration of queer cinema heads online in 2020. The film programme is available on Vimeo on Demand throughout the festival, plus virtual events include online watch parties, workshops, Q&A sessions, discussions, parties and a closing night quiz.

Giant Lanterns: Lost Worlds

Bespoke displays created by Chinese craftspeople from Sichuan. This year's exhibit has a theme of 'Lost Worlds'.

Sleep in the Park

After the success of last year's landmark event, Social Bite's charity sleep-out is back and this time has extended to all of Scotland's major cities. Acts confirmed to play across the four cities are Amy MacDonald and KT Tunstall, as well as many more. It will take place in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens, Aberdeen's…

Margaret Salmon: Hole

New work from the Glasgow-based American artist and filmmaker.


Immersive multi-sensory performance about the magical world of winter for kids aged 2–6 that combines puppetry, music and visuals.

The Mother

Narrative dance and theatre production based on Hans Christian Andersen's tale.