The Best New Theatre Shows To See Over Christmas & In 2023
The Best New Theatre Shows To See Over Christmas & In 2023

The Best New Theatre Shows To See Over Christmas & In 2023

Looking for something fresh to book over the festive break? Or made it your mission to see more theatre next year? From new plays by award-winning writers to old favourites reimagined, here are 10 shows worth booking a ticket for.
By Heather Steele

Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol

Southbank Centre

This Christmas, experience the classic Dickens tale with a Tennessee twist in new musical Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol. Featuring an original score written by Parton, the play is set during the 1930s in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Ebenezer Scrooge is the owner of a mining company town, where his greed blinds him to the joys and gifts of the season. As a Christmas Eve snowstorm approaches, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who compel him to see life anew and discover that love is the greatest and most precious gift we have. Dickens’ classic storytelling and Parton’s one-of-a-kind songwriting are certain to make this a joyful Christmas event.

Until 8th January



Young Vic

It's 1960. Young activist Nelson Mandela (Broadway Hamilton’s Michael Luwoye) rallies the people of South Africa to protest against the racial segregation of apartheid. In 1962, he is arrested and sentenced to life in prison, where he will spend the next 27 years, taken from his wife and children, as the fight for freedom sweeps his country. Infused with the rhythms of South Africa, this new musical tells the extraordinary story of a man who changed the course of modern history, the sacrifices he made as a husband and father, and the global movement that inspired him and his comrades to keep fighting. The production is presented in proud partnership with Nandi Mandela, Luvuyo Madasa and the Mandela family.

Until 4th February


Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons

Harold Pinter Theatre

This tender rom-com is about what we say, how we say it, and what happens when we can’t say anything anymore. Starring Jenna Coleman (The Serpent, All My Sons) and Aidan Turner (Poldark, The Lieutenant of Inishmore), this bold play from Sam Steiner (Fingernails, You Stupid Darkness!) is directed by Josie Rourke (Mary Queen of Scots, As You Like It).

18th January-18th March



Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre

Based on a true story, Disney's Newsies is set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century. It’s the rousing tale of a ragged band of teenage newspaper sellers, who dream of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. After newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer hikes up prices for the newsies, Jack Kelly rallies his fellow newsboys in an attempt to protest the change, falling in love with young reporter Katherine along the way. The young newsies from across the city come together and rise up against the exploitation of wealthy publishing tycoons and fight for justice using the only power they have – solidarity.

Until 16th April



The Garrick

Golden Globe winner Emma Corrin leads an ensemble company in Neil Bartlett’s new adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s masterpiece. ​​In the court of Queen Elizabeth I, young nobleman Orlando begins his search for identity as he embarks on one of the greatest adventures in all of literature. Travelling through time and place he is catapulted into the court of King James, falls in love with a Russian princess, witnesses London freeze over and wakes up under the blazing sun of Constantinople transformed into a young woman. She continues her journey up to the present day in search of happiness, self-knowledge and the courage to answer one fundamental question: who am I?

Until 25th February


The Great British Bake-Off Musical

Noël Coward Theatre

The nation’s favourite TV cookery show has become a musical. Five years in development and created in association with the producers of the phenomenally successful TV series, the play is set to arrive in the West End in spring 2023 following a sold-out run in Chichester. Expect all the TV show’s elements of humour, heart and joy – alongside 16 new songs.

25th February-13th May


A Little Life

Harold Pinter Theatre

Famed stage director Ivo van Hove's world premiere of Hanya Yanagihara's bestselling novel A Little Life is due in the West End in March 2023. Van Hove will direct James Norton (Jude), Luke Thompson (Willem), Omari Douglas (JB) and Zach Wyatt (Malcolm), the novel’s unforgettable central unit, in a long-awaited production that we’re sure will – like the book – be unforgettable. A Little Life follows four college friends in New York City: aspiring actor Willem, successful architect Malcolm, struggling artist JB, and prodigious lawyer Jude. As ambition, addiction and pride threaten to pull the group apart, they always find themselves bound by their love for Jude and the mysteries of his past. But when those secrets come to light, they finally learn that to know Jude is to understand the limitless potential of love in the face of life.

25th March-18th June


A Streetcar Named Desire

Almeida Theatre

In Tennessee Williams’s most famous play, Blanche DuBois must take a streetcar to her estranged sister Stella’s house in New Orleans – where she faces scorn from her brother-in-law Stanley while being drawn to his friend. As Stanley stalks closer to the truth, Blanche's fragile world begins to fracture. Reality and illusion collide, and a violent conflict changes their lives forever. Following her excellently reviewed production of Summer & Smoke, Almeida associate director Rebecca Frecknall takes on another Williams classic. Lydia Wilson (The Duchess of Malfi) returns to the Almeida to play Blanche, with Bafta-winning Paul Mescal (Normal People) as Stanley and Anjana Vasan (We Are Lady Parts) as Stella.

Until 4th February


The Unfriend

Criterion Theatre

Following a sold-out run at Chichester Festival Theatre, The Unfriend is preparing for a West End run at the Criterion. This is a riotous dark comedy from writer Steven Moffat and director Mark Gatiss, the award-winning team behind BBC’s Sherlock, and stars an uproarious cast including Reece Shearsmith (Inside No. 9), Amanda Abbington (Sherlock) and Frances Barber (Silk). While on holiday, Peter and Debbie befriend Elsa, a lusty, Trump-loving widow from Denver. She’s less than woke but kind of wonderful. They agree to stay in touch – because no one ever really does, do they? When Elsa invites herself to stay a few months later, they decide to look her up online. Too late, they learn the truth about Elsa Jean Krakowski. What began as a casual holiday friendship is now a threat to the lives of their children, and Peter and Debbie must face the ultimate challenge in the modern world – how do you protect all that you love without seeming a bit impolite?

15th January-16th April


The Lehman Trilogy

National Theatre

The Tony award-winning play makes a triumphant return to London, following acclaimed seasons in LA and Broadway. Michael Balogun (Death of England: Delroy; Macbeth), Hadley Fraser (The Antipodes, Coriolanus) and Nigel Lindsay (The Pillowman; A Small Family Business) play the Lehman brothers, their sons and grandsons in an extraordinary feat of storytelling told in three parts on a single evening. Written by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power and directed by Oscar, Tony and Golden Globe winner Sam Mendes, the three-and-a-half-hour epic begins on a cold September morning in 1844, as a young man from Bavaria stands on a New York dockside dreaming of a new life in the new world. He is joined by his two brothers, and an American epic begins. Over 160 years later, the firm they establish – Lehman Brothers – spectacularly collapses into bankruptcy, triggering the largest financial crisis in history.

24th January-20th May


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