Gift The Arts

Jingle all the way this Christmas with festive arts events across Northern Ireland, supported by The National Lottery

22nd November, 2023

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has rounded up just some of the many fantastically festive events happening this holiday season, supported by The National Lottery.

Millennium Forum, Derry-Londonderry

A gigantic beanstalk, Caroline the cow, magic beans, a goose that lays golden eggs and the nastiest of giants – it’s panto time again at the Forum with Jack and the Beanstalk on from 30 November -31 December 2023. Telling the story of peasant boy Jack and his attempts to please his impoverished mother and win the hand of Princess Jill, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK remains one of the best-loved pantomimes of all time. Packed with great song and dance routines, hilarious comedy, dazzling scenes and magical special effects. Signed performances on Wednesday 6 Dec at 7pm, and an audio described performance on Sunday 17 Dec at 2pm. Visit

Jack and the Beanstalk at the Millennium Forum
Jack and the Beanstalk at the Millennium Forum

Waterside Theatre, Derry-Londonderry

The Grove Theatre Group presents Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs panto from 8-20 December 2023.  Cost: Adult £10.50, Concession £8.50, Schools/Groups £8, Family of four £34 (ticket + booking fee). For performance dates and times visit
For school, group and concession bookings please contact the box office on 028 7131 4000.

The Playhouse, Derry-Londonderry

Lilliput Theatre Company, Lilliput’s Anniversary Variety Show, 6 December, 6pm.

This is a show not to miss, for one night only, Lilliput welcomes you to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The show is a hybrid performance with local guest appearances, live and screen performances, live music and panto-style scenes all with a little bit of Christmas to finish!

Lilliput at The Playhouse
Lilliput at The Playhouse

Foyle Foodbank Christmas Appeal

This Christmas The Playhouse is delighted to be a drop off point for Foyle Foodbank's Christmas Appeal. Pictured below (L-R) are The Playhouse staff members, Jodie McGlinchey, Paul McLaughlin, Fiona Harkin and Christy Curran.

Foyle Foodbank Christmas Appeal
Foyle Foodbank Christmas Appeal at The Playhouse.

Echo Echo Studio, Derry-Londonderry

Winters Dream, 12-18 December, Echo Echo Studios, Derry-Londonderry and 15 December, Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre

Escape into a fantastical realm with Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, where dreams unfold and the spirit of winter gives way to the enchantment of the spring. Visit

Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Hansel & Gretel, 24 November 2023 – 6 January 2024. (Signed performance on 14 December)

You can get lost in a story, but sometimes, you may just find yourself there too. Join Hansel, his sister Gretel and a mischievous little mouse called Monty, as they tumble through their story book and into an enchanted forest of technicolour. Together with a host of woodland creatures they will take you on a magical journey to defeat the witch in her sweetie house.

Tara-Lynne O’Neill’s brand-new telling of this classic tale is a spectacular Christmas adventure full of heart for all the family. It's a brand-new original musical with amazing dancing, and unmissable songs by Katie Richardson.

Add a little magic to the festive season with a visit to the Lyric. Whether it's your very first Christmas show, or a Lyric family tradition, this wonderful live theatre experience will make magic memories.

Hansel and Gretel at the Lyric Theatre
Hansel and Gretel at the Lyric Theatre

Grimes & McKee: Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas, 1 December 2023 – 6 January 2024.

Join Grimes & McKee with an incredible ensemble cast at Darkwood Manor. Embrace the holiday spirit with a hint of the supernatural and prepare to be festively terrified. Picture this: Christmas Eve, an eerie ancestral estate, and a TV psychic, Nancy Nugent, ready to livestream the mysteries lurking within. But what if the ghosts she hunts are too ghastly even for her? Intriguing secrets, elusive guests and a sprinkle of holiday spookiness will keep you glued to your seat throughout. It's all part of the festive shivers in Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas. Join the Lyric for a merry and mischievous spooky evening that'll leave you entertained and thrilled.

For further details on these and to view all Lyric Theatre events visit

Brassneck Theatre Company, Belfast

Brassneck Theatre Company presents, Cinderella, 5-21 December at The Devenish Complex.

A BIG family panto written by Neil Keery and directed by Tony Devlin, this is a funny twist on the original tale and stars Philippa O’Hara as Cinderella. The performance on Tuesday 19 Dec will be signed in BSL by Kristina Laverty. For schools and larger bookings contact

Grand Opera House, Belfast

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 2 December 2023 – 14 January 2024.

Northern Ireland’s largest pantomime is back for another magical year at the Grand Opera House, Belfast with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This year’s show will be spectacularly brought to life from page to stage by a talented cast and creative team and features the Grand Opera House pantomime hallmark of an abundance of comedy, sensational songs and dance numbers, fabulous costumes, stunning scenery, and special effects. Belfast’s much-loved pantomime dame, May McFettridge, as May of the Mirror celebrates her record-breaking 33rd Grand Opera House panto season this year.

Snow White at the Grand Opera House

Elf In Belfast, An Adult Christmas Comedy, 6-30 December 2023.

Growing up, Mucker always felt different to everyone else in Belfast. Whilst his mates wore Adidas and listened to Techno, Mucker liked to line-dance to ‘Hit the Diff’. It was clear, the dad he never knew, was a full-on culchie. After his mum reveals his long-lost dad was a Castle Court security guard, Mucker sets out to be reunited and secures himself a festive job as an ‘Elf’ in the shopping centre’s Christmas Grotto. There he finds himself falling hopelessly in love with Jodie, a fellow Elf and aspiring dancer.

Will Mucker ever find his real Dad? Or does he even care now that he’s found happiness with Jodie? Find out in this hilarious adult comedy from Diona Doherty and Sean Hegarty, writers of Bridesmaids of Northern Ireland, and last year’s Christmas Studio show, Home Malone.


Grand Opera House Elf in Belfast.
Elf in Belfast at the Grand Opera House.

The MAC, Belfast

A Christmas Sing-Along with Northern Ireland Opera, 3 December 2023.

Come and enjoy an hour of songs, carols and music with the NI Opera Chorus! You’ll experience the power of an opera chorus performing some festive favourites and join in with them to sing carols and seasonal songs. Start your Christmas season off by belting out some rousing well-loved tunes: whether you sing in the shower or are a fully-fledged singer, this will be a fun, festive hour to get you in the Christmas spirit.

NI Opera Christmas Sing-Along
Join NI Opera the The MAC for A Christmas Sing-Along.

The Night Before Christmas, 29 November 2023 – 7 January 2024.

The MAC’s Christmas show for 2023 is a brand new MAC tale, The Night Before Christmas. 'Twas the night before Christmas and the air was thick with excitement...Not least amongst the fairy tale characters who, no longer content with living in the pages of your favourite books, jump up, out and into the real world in our brand new family Christmas show The Night Before Christmas. Meet a storyteller who loses her words, plus lots of characters from your favourite fairytales, in this festive fable about the power of stories. Written by Stephen Beggs and Simon Magill. Produced by the MAC.

The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas at The MAC will delight all the family!

Are Yule Being Served, 7-31 December 2023 (Age 18+).

Christmas... It’s the most wonderful time of the year – unless you work in hospitality! Just ask the staff at the Wind Yer Neck Inn. Booked up with feuding families, festive functions, and frisky punters. Chaos is on the menu this year. With split-shifts and splitting headaches, will the staff make it through the busy season without being tipped over the edge?

Let The MAC serve you up a brand new Christmas comedy written by and starring Caroline Curran (of Maggie Muff fame), and a stellar cast of Rhodri Lewis and Patrick Buchanan. Perfect for your festive night out, don’t be wait(tressing) around - book your tickets now!

For all this and more visit to view a full programme of events and exhibitions.

Are Yule Being Served at the MAC
Don't miss The MAC's Christmas shows!

Portico of Ards, Portaferry

Portico of Ards presents a range of performances with highlights including:

  • Christmas Karaoke with Lady Portia, 8 December
  • Little Miss Muffet's Christmas Adventure, 10 December
  • Cappella Caeciliana: The Magic of Christmas, 16 December
Cappella Caeciliana at Portico
Cappella Caeciliana will be performing at Portico.

To view the full programme visit

Strule Arts Centre, Omagh

Christmas Brass and Choral Spectacular, 15th December.

Omagh Academy Brass Band, Omagh Music Society, Gerarda McCann, and Strabane Brass Band are all on call for this traditional night of Christmas Classics. Visit

Ards Arts Centre, Newtownards

Why not visit The Collection, an exhibition of curated works from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection. The exhibition runs from 7 Decembe 2023 – 27 January 2024 and features new acquisitions and local Ards artists. Visit

Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection Exhbition at Ards Arts Centre
Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection Exhbition at Ards Arts Centre

Marketplace Theatre, Armagh

Aladdin, 2-24 December 2023, written by Patrick J. O’Reilly.

Join a fabulous cast of madcap characters for a trilling carpet ride with plenty of twists and turns, suitable for the whole family. Full details available at

(please note this event is not funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland).

The Braid, Ballymena

Cre8 Theatre presents Robin Hood and the Peaceful People Posse at The Braid, Ballymena. 16th - 23rd December 2023.

Join Robin Hood and the Peaceful People Posse as they strive to sink the Sheriff and beat the bandits to save Ballymena. Visit

Sestina Music, Belfast

Carols at the Museum 2023, 5-6 December 2023, Ulster Museum Belfast.

The Ulster Museum, Belfast is located in Belfast’s historical botanic gardens and home to many treasures spanning the ages. Sestina Music is delighted to be returning to this atmospheric space for the 7th year running. Why not make a day of it, stroll through the exotic Botanic Gardens; explore the museum’s incredible exhibits and relax and refuel at their cafe with delicious mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies. Finally, join Sestina Music for an evening of enchanting splendour with soprano Charlie O'Hare, altos, Sarah Thursfield Mark Chambers, tenors, Chris Bowen and Patrick McGinley plus bass. William Gaunt. Join Sestina Music for an enchanting evening of seasonal splendour, heartfelt readings and carols spanning the ages. Tickets are selling fast so be sure to book in advance at

Sestina - Carols at the Museum
Join Sestina for Carols at the Museum

Allegri, Derry-Londonderry

Allegri presents, Allegri Ladies, Allegri Junior and Youth Choirs, Orchestra Northwest - The Nutcracker & Other Christmas Classics at the Guildhall, Derry-Londonderry on Sunday 10 December (3pm and 6pm).  

Belfast Music Society (BMS)

BMS Chill, 0-13 years and 14 Years plus, at the Crescent Arts Centre on 9 December (Christmas edition), 27 January and 24 February.

Belfast Music Society presents an afternoon of accessible high quality classical music for people with additional needs and their families. Join RiChmusicNI as they create both a stimulating and soothing environment for children and adults alike. People are very welcome to come and familiarise themselves with the space 30 minutes before the concert starts. Tickets are £5 per person with an access companion/PA. Please let BMS know of any accessibility or additional needs so they can make this experience as enjoyable as possible. Email:

Ulster Orchestra, Derry-Londonderry and Belfast

In Nature's Realm, 1 December, Ulster Hall, Belfast.

The spirit of folk music is woven throughout this programme, with music depicting life and nature.

Dohnányi Symphonic Minutes
Bartók Piano Concerto No. 3
Schumann Symphony No. 3 Rhenish

The Snowman Family Concert, 2 December, Waterfront Hall, Belfast.

Journey through the classic tale of The Snowman with the Ulster Orchestra at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast on 02 December 2023. Don’t miss this wonderful family experience that has created special memories for many. Young and old will enjoy this timeless tale of a boy and his magical Snowman, shown on a big screen ad accompanied by the Orchestra and young guest soloists.

Ulster Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah, Christ Church, Derry-Londonderry, 8 December and 9 December, Waterfront Hall, Belfast.

No Christmas would be complete without a performance of Handel’s Messiah. Still one of the best oratorios ever written, its impact and appeal never fails to delight audiences. If you have never heard it before, now is the time, especially when it’s performed by the Ulster Orchestra, guest soloists and the Codetta Choir.

Ulster Orchestra present Handel's Messiah.
Don't miss Handel's Messiah.

Ulster Orchestra, The Magic of Christmas, 20 December, Millennium Forum Derry-Londonderry and 21 December, Waterfront Hall, Belfast.

This popular, magical concert returns to welcome you into Christmas week. Conductor Alfonso Casado Trigo will lead the Ulster Orchestra in an entertaining night for the whole family that is guaranteed to help you forget the present-wrapping and turkey-stuffing and fill you with Christmas joy! It is an enchanting programme of Christmas and movie classics including O Holy Night, White Christmas, All I want for Christmas and more.


Tumble Circus, Belfast

Roll up to the Tumble Circus who present their Winter Circus at Writer’s Square in Belfast from 15 December 2023 – 4 January 2024. Join Tumble Circus for circus, comedy and fun. Winter Circus is high skill, all human and all thrill featuring death defying aerialists, acrobats and jugglers. Join Belfast’s alternative festival extravaganza for all the family, performed in a heated big top. Visit

Tumble Circus
Join Tumble Circus at the Big Top for the Winter Circus!

Belfast Exposed

Belfast Exposed's Big Christmas Photo Sale, provides the opportunity for anyone with a passion for photography to have their own work exhibited while also being available for sale, with proceeds going towards Mitchell House School in east Belfast. Pieces will be on display from 21 November to 23 December. Visit

Queen Street Studios, Belfast

Also check out the Queen Street Studios Christmas Show & Sale from 30 November to 20 December and buy art direct from local artists in their studios.

Belfast Print Workshop

Pop along to Belfast Print Workshop to buy framed prints by BPW members working across a range of techniques, supported by The National Lottery,

Seacourt Print Workshop, Bangor

Seacourt Print Workshop present their annual Members Christmas Exhibition at the Old Ulster Bank building, 75 Main Street, Bangor. The exhibition is open until 12 January 2024. Visit

Craft NI Gallery

Craft NI Gallery presents The Christmas exhibition, 'Ag925 - Au750 / Journeys in Silver and Gold' and the Big Bauble Showcase.

Come along and immerse yourself in the makers' creative journeys in silver and gold; or enjoy this year's clever bauble designs and bring the delights of the handmade into your celebrations. Big Bauble Showcase is a yearly staple at Craft NI Gallery, featuring a wide range of unique handmade baubles, in limited ranges or one-offs. The event is a highlight for visitors who come back each year to add to their collection.

Exhibiting makers: Abbie Dixon, Aisling Higgins, Alison Lowry, Andrea Hayes, Anna Donovan, Anne Earls Boylan, Ariel Lavian, Caitlin Murphy, Cara Murphy, Celine Traynor, Claire Mooney, David Cousley, Fiona Kerr, Gail Kelly, Irene McBride, Jackie McMaster, Joel Smyth, Kathleen Walsh, Maggie Napier, Patricia Kelly, Ruth Osborne, Sarah Cathers, Shannon McShane

Guest makers: Peter Meanley, Clodagh Molloy, Julie Usel, Cameron & Breen
Venue: Craft NI Gallery
Dates: continues until December 30


Pop into Craft NI Gallery.
Pop into Craft NI Gallery this holiday season.

Royal Ulster Academy Exhibition at the Ulster Museum, Belfast

The 142nd Royal Ulster Academy Exhibition is now on at the Ulster Museum with all artworks available to buy. The RUA Annual Exhibition provides a unique platform for acclaimed artists and emerging talent to showcase their artwork in the fabulous galleries of the Ulster Museum. The exhibition contains examples of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video and more. The must-see exhibition is free to view and continues until 1 January 2024 so it’s perfect to visit over the holidays! Visit

Out to Lunch Festival, Belfast

The Out to Lunch Festival welcomes us into the new year with a range of comedy, music, talks and film events from 6-28 January. To view the programme visit

Out to Lunch 2023
As part of the 2023 Out to Lunch Festival, Snow Water presents, The Sailortown Sessions feat. King Cedar, Ferna & Ciaran Lavery at St Joseph’s Church, Sailortown on Sunday 7 January.