THOUSANDS of people, young and old, will be enjoying all the fun of the panto over the Christmas season.

As well as Red Riding Hood at Bolton's Albert Halls' and the Octagon's take on Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, traditional favourites from Cinderella and Dick Whittington to Sleeping Beauty and Jack and the Beanstalk are being staged throughout the North-west.

Comedian Ted Robbins heads the cast at the Albert Halls, while Robert Pickavance makes for a fantastic Scrooge in the Octagon's enchanting production of A Christmas Carol.

Both productions run well into the new year.

In Manchester, the stars are coming out to play, with Coronation Street favourites Johnny Briggs (Mike Baldwin) and Tina O'Brien (Sarah Louise Platt), as well as Bernie from The Nolans in Cinderella at the Opera House.

Key 103's Sony Award-winning "King of Breakfast" Mike Toolan will be playing Prince Charming, while Roger Kitter (Allo' Allo'!) and Steve Luck will be playing the ugly sisters.

Comedian and EastEnders star Shane Richie will star in Scrooge the Musical at Manchester's Palace Theatre.

The spectacular musical extravaganza Scrooge is a heartwarming family story based on Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, with stunning sets and costumes, and a fantastic musical score.

Dick Whittington will wander into the Lyric Theatre at The Lowry at Salford Quays in search of streets paved with gold.

Dick will be played by the one and only Chesney Hawkes, while Darren Day turns into the character of King Rat and will be the Bad Boy everyone will love to boo and hiss at.

At the Royal Exchange, meanwhile, there is a double header, which allows you to take your pick from adaptations of Hansel and Gretel and Red Riding Hood.

What's on where


Red Riding Hood
Albert Halls, Bolton
Until January 6
Comedian Ted Robbins joins an all star line-up for this year's festive treat.
Tickets 01204 334400, from £7.50

A Christmas Carol
The Octagon Theatre
Until January 19
Tickets 01204 520661, £8.50 to £18.50


A Tasty Tale
The Royal Exchange, Manchester
December 18, 2007 to January 5, 2008
An adaptation of Hansel and Gretel
Tickets available from or 0161 8339833, from £4

Hood in the Wood
The Royal Exchange, Manchester
December 18, to January 5
An adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood
Tickets from the or 0161 8339833, from £4

Opera House Oxford Road, Manchester
Until January 6
Starring Coronation Street favourites Johnny Briggs and Tina O'Brien
Tickets available from or 0844 847 2277, £8.50 to £22.50.

Palace Theatre, Oxford Road, Manchester
Until January 12
Musical extravaganza starring Shane Richie
Tickets or 0844 847 2277, £7.25 to £16.25

Dick Whittington
The Lowry Lyric Theatre, Salford Quays
Until Sunday January 6
Darren Day turns from love rat to King Rat, while Chesney Hawkes, Stephanie Dooley and Frazer Hines provide all-star support
Tickets,0870 111 2000 or 0870 7875780, £14-£24


Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
King George's Hall, Blackburn
Until December 31
Starring Phil Walker and featuring audience interaction, professional actors, singers and dancers, and special effects.
Tickets 01254 582582, children £9.50, adults £12.50.

Thwaites Empire Theatre, Aqueduct Road
Until January 2
Starring Sally Naden from BBC Radio Lancashire as the Fairy Godmother, alongside dancing girls and boys, three blind mice and Cinderella's magical coach
Tickets 01254 680137, £7 and £10


Sleeping Beauty
The Grand Theatre
Until January 5
Starring former Hi-De-Hi favourite Ruth Madoc alongside North-west comedian Steve Royle. Features Irish costumes and fabulous sets.
Tickets available from 01253 290190, various prices from £10.50.


Jack and the Beanstalk
The Charter Theatre, Lancaster Road
Until January 6
Starring former EastEnders actor Jack Ryder, Coronation Street's Casey-Lee Jolleys and Granada Reports' Paul Crone.
Tickets available from 0845 3440807, adults £15, children £11.


The Sleeping Beauty
Wigan Little Theatre, Crompton Street
January 11 to 26
Tickets available from 01942 242561, adults £8.