Visit Reading for magical festive events and an unrivalled shopping experience this Christmas until 6 January
Christmas Lights Switch On
17 and 18 November | Town Centre and Broad Street Mall
On the afternoon of Saturday 17 November, the 8 metre-high Christmas tree in Broad Street and the 400,000 lights in the town centre will gradually come alight during the afternoon. On Sunday 18 November, Dancing on Ice winner Jake Quickenden, will be turning on the lights at Broad Street Mall from 2pm. Free
24 November, 6pm | Broad Street
A truly breathtaking event featuring a giant whale which will parade down Broad Street. Brought to you by Beautiful Creatures, creators of the Winter Giant, their creation is a glowing gentle giant with a haunting call for all of us. With stunning lights, dramatic drumming and shimmering jelly fish, Big Blue asks us to see the world around us. Free
ArtLine Street Market
25 November, 10.30am–3.30pm | Broad Street
A special Christmas Edition of ArtLine is coming to town. ArtLine is a visual arts street market showcasing Reading’s local artists. Join them to view beautiful works include paintings, photography, drawings, limited edition prints and hanging textiles. All the works will be for sale, so you can find the perfect gift while supporting independent artists. Free
8 December to 6 January | The Hexagon
Jump on a magic carpet and be transported to the mystic world of Aladdin and his lamp. Children’s favourite Justin Fletcher returns to Reading as Aladdin and is teaming up with Paul Morse as Widow Twankey. Prepare for enchanting fun as Aladdin tries to outwit the evil Abanzar.
Reading’s Living Advent Calendar
1 December to 24 December | Various venues
A whole host of magical events will take place every day from 1st December as Reading premieres its first Living Advent Calendar. From singalongs to craft workshops, wicked and naughty shows to traditional family entertainment, there will be something for everyone. So countdown to 25 December with a festive feast and sparkling array of fun and every day will feel like Christmas!
A Christmas Carol
10 December to 30 December | South Street Arts Centre
At the annual office Christmas Party, boss Evelyn remains in a perennially bad mood. Her employees are unbearably cheerful, and no quantity of Yule log can shake her from her penny-pinching miserdom. To top it off, over-enthusiastic intern Crystal has adapted ‘A Christmas Carol’ into a play for the party entertainment, but forgotten to cast someone as Scrooge ... can acting out the tale of festive redemption finally bring out the Christmas spirit in the world’s grumpiest boss? Brought to you by the award-winning local theatre company Reading Between the Lines.
Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Show
16 December, 7pm | Yates
An immersive Christmas cracker, Cinderella is an outrageous site-specific show inspired by panto. All the characters you know, love and hate will spill your pints and pour their hearts out on the karaoke. Crammed with live music, mayhem and a touch of midnight magic, think Tarantino meets Shameless, meets ELF...all in a real, local boozer. Free but booking essential
My Shadow and Me
22 December, Midday | Pentahotel
A fun and engaging show for children and family audiences made out of shadows and reflected light. My Shadow and Me is like a cartoon created live out of nothing but darkness and light. One person (and his shadow) meet and go on an incredible, imaginative, shadowy journey where creatures emerge, engage and transform beautifully. Free but booking essential
Cinema in Silhouette
22 December, 2pm | Pentahotel
The ancient artform of Hand Shadows is brought right up to the minute with skilful tributes to 20th Century film-making, a rogues’ gallery of famous personalities, rabbits doing what rabbits do and many more endearing and down-right astonishing creatures created with the twist of a hand. Stand- up comedy meets shadow puppetry. Free but booking essential
The Snow Show
22 December, 4.30pm | Broad Street
The Snow Show spectacular will see performances from Berzerk Productions, The Royal Berkshire Conference Centre’s Sleigh Bells Blings Traditional Christmas Choir, The Snow Queen cast, plus other special guests. Father Christmas will arrive by sleigh to pick up Reading’s Naughty Elves and take them back to the North Pole. This fun packed, magical Snow Show (with guaranteed Snow) will be a festive feast of fun for families across the town. Free
Reading’s Naughty Elves
1 December to 24 December | Various venues
We all know Santa’s elves can be ever so naughty – and this Christmas Reading has the most mischievous! We know for sure because cameras have caught them up to no good all across the town from Reading Football Club to the Thames Lido, Malmaison Hotel to the Thames Tower. Sniggering, snorting and scoffing, these three elves have been causing havoc – and from 1 December you and your children can watch excerpts from this footage every day until Christmas here!