A pick of unexpected festive events in South London

James Haddrell is the artistic and executive director of Greenwich Theatre

As Autumn turns colder and Winter approaches, local arts organisations are all stepping up their preparations for the Christmas period – and here are just a handful of the more surprising events scheduled for the forthcoming season.

The South Pacific may not strike you as a natural setting for a piece of festive theatre, but the Orangery at the Fan Museum in Greenwich is set to be transformed in December with the sounds, smells and colours of the region when the venue hosts an immersive showcase performance of award-winning local author Wayne Adrian Drew’s new play, Looking-Glass River.

Set in December and presented as an adult festive treat, the one-man show tells the story of Robert Louis Stevenson (played here by BBC regular Richard Holliss), restless international traveller and acclaimed author of classics like Treasure Island, Kidnapped and Jekyll And Hyde. Drew’s play sees the writer recalling his youth, his work and the joys and heartbreaks of his life, during his final days on the island of Samoa. The Fan Museum’s intermittent programme of theatre and play-readings is always over-subscribed, so early booking is definitely advised for this one.

Meanwhile, at Mountview’s new home in Peckham, Christmas is set to be celebrated with the premiere performances of a new musical play. Written and directed by John Ward with words and music by David Hewson (both members of Dumbwise, one of my favourite emerging theatre’s companies of the last 10 years), Christmas comes in the form of the fantastical dream-weaver The Sandman. Dumped in the miserable Crooksworth Orphanage, Merry Pennyweather befriends the bringer of dreams and they set out to defeat The Nightmares and return hope and joy to the orphans in time for Christmas. Full of music, dance and laughter this seasonal show is perfect for all the family.

At Mycenae House in Greenwich, the festive season is set to be celebrated with the very youngest arts attenders in a pair of baby-friendly classical concerts. Bach to Baby is the critically acclaimed classical concert series for babies, toddlers and their carers where young children can dance, roam about and revel in the wonder of live music, while parents and carers can enjoy performances by outstanding musicians, whatever the age of their children.

Christmas at Greenwich Theatre is always a huge moment for us, with our acclaimed celebrity-free pantomime regularly selling out. However, this year we are taking the opportunity to do something a little bit different with the show. As our company turns 50 this year, we are celebrating half a century of theatre in Greenwich with an all-new Andrew Pollard script, taking the panto classic Sleeping Beauty and putting a uniquely ‘Greenwich’ stamp on it. When our princess awakes after a long sleep, she is set to find herself here in South East London in 1969, on the eve of the reopening of Greenwich Theatre…

Looking-Glass River: Fan Museum, 6 December

The Sandman – A Christmas Tale: Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, 4-10 December

Bach To Baby: Mycenae House, Greenwich, 5 & 12 December

Sleeping Beauty: Greenwich Theatre, from 22 November

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