Best Christmas shows for kids in Edinburgh and Glasgow that aren't panto
Including Stick Man, Wee Cinderella and White
In December theatre stages are full of busty men, jazzed-up fairytales and 'that woman from Emmerdale'. Yes, Panto season is in full swing but it's not the only theatrical option for wee people, with several companies resisting the call of 'he's behind you' for a different style of festive show.
Stick Man — St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, until 29 Dec, times vary, £14.50
Scamp theatre return to Edinburgh's Christmas with their adaptation of Julia Donaldson's picture book Stick Man. A mix of puppetry, live music, songs and everyday objects bring the tale to life as the stick man tries to get back to the family tree. There's plenty of misadventure along the way and even an appearance from someone who likes to travel by sleigh.
Little Red — Tramway, Glasgow, until Wed 23 Dec, times vary, £12.50 (£8.50)
Barrowland Ballet delve deeper into the tale of Little Red Riding hood to explore the issues of defining young girls by their appearance. Little Red is about growing up, forming your own opinions and being bold enough to see what's out there. All three performers play the wolf and all three play the heroine, in this expressive dance piece for ages seven and over.
Snow Pals — Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until 31 Dec, times vary, £6–£8
The Tron's Christmas show for ages 3–6, Snow Pals, was inspired by the rules children set up when they play together. It examines the delicate bond of young friendships and the importance of sharing – a message that might come in handy on Christmas Day after the living room is bestrewn with wrapping paper. The show is wintry rather than Christmassy, with the two friends living in a snowy world of sleigh rides and snowball fights.
White — Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 12–Thu 24 Dec, times vary, £10
After almost a thousand performances, Catherine Wheels' White continues to enchant audiences aged 2–4. Set in a completely white world, bursts of colour begin to appear on the stage and change everything for the two performers. Tinies can enjoy an intensely visual show that's made relatable through its inclusion of everyday tasks such as teeth cleaning and eating breakfast.
Wee Cinderella — Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue 22 Dec, 3pm, £12.75
Scottish Ballet presents an hour-long performance of Cinderella, specially adapted as an introduction to ballet for young families. The company’s dancers are accompanied live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, in this show recommended for ages 3+. We gave (big) Cinderella the full five stars, so expect to be suitably impressed.
Santa's Sleepover Show — The Brunton, Musselburgh, Tue 22–Thu 24 Dec, £9.60–£13
Who could get tired of singing 'Jingle Bells'? Certainly not kids. Funbox, formerly of the Singing Kettle, present a Christmas show with a sleepover theme. Anya, Kevin, Gary and Bonzo are too excited about Christmas to sleep, sound familiar? Dress for bed, bring a Santa hat and sing along to 'Aiken Drum', '10 in the Bed' and festive favourites at Santa's Sleepover Show.