10 unmissable events happening in Edinburgh and Glasgow this December

  • The List
  • 29 November 2019
10 unmissable events happening in Edinburgh and Glasgow this December

Scottish Ballet: The Snow Queen / credit: Nicola Selby and Eve McConnachie

Highlights include Counterflows, The Lion King and Scottish Ballet: The Snow Queen

Scottish Ballet: The Snow Queen

With typically stylish aplomb, Christopher Hampson choreographs a fresh take on the Hans Christian Andersen folk-tale, dubbing it as 'Hansel and Gretel in the snow'. The eponymous character might still be a mean piece of work, but in this production we are given an empathic glimpse into what might have made her that way. And, of course, it looks amazing, thanks to Lez Brotherston's set and costume design.
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 7–Sun 29 Dec; Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 3–Sat 18 Jan.


Glasgow will still host this important underground festival next April, but Edinburgh gets a taste of the Counterflows action with three separate gigs led by Beatrice Dillon, Usurper, and Joe McPhee with Decoy.
Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, Sat 2 Nov, Fri 20 Dec, Fri 31 Jan.

Hal Fischer

Documenting the gay culture of 1970s San Francisco, photographer Hal Fischer was embedded in that scene, which gave his lens a truthful, sharing power as he embarked on a semiotic study.
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Fri 15 Nov–Sat 30 May.

The Lion King

The Disney spectacular created by Julie Taymor shows little sign of letting its grip go on the global consciousness, and Simba and co are back for another musical extravaganza.
Edinburgh Playhouse, Thu 5 Dec–Sun 29 Mar.


Another year is about to dawn and that means celebrating like there's no tomorrow. In Edinburgh, that means seeing a galaxy of stars such as Marc Almond, Mark Ronson and Dick & Dom.
Various venues, nationwide, Tue 31 Dec.

I Can Go Anywhere

Directed by Eve Nicol and written by Douglas Maxwell, this bold drama focuses on the relationship between an ageing academic and a troubled asylum seeker with an intriguing backdrop of mod culture.
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 7–21 Dec.

Marriage Story

Noah Baumbach majestically directs Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in an emotional piledriver which pulls no punches on the messy and traumatic business of divorce.
Selected release from Fri 15 Nov, Netflix from Fri 6 Dec.

The MacKinnon Collection

Scottish life and identity from the 1840s all the way through to the 1940s is represented in an evocative collection of photography.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Sat 16 Nov–Sun 16 Feb.


The tenth instalment of the conjuring event formerly known as the Edinburgh International Magic Festival promises many tricks up sleeves including an opening gala with Colin Cloud, Chloe Crawford and Kevin Quantum.
Various venues, Edinburgh, Fri 27 Dec–Sun 5 Jan.

Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas

(Chosen by actor and playwright Johnny McKnight)
OK, how can this not be a hot ticket? It's got literally everything going for it to be the ideal Christmas treat. An award-winning score by Danny Elfman played by our very own RSNO? Check. A live reading from comedy great Catherine O'Hara (I've my fingers crossed she's got a selection of her wigs from Schitt's Creek to wear throughout the show)? Check. A Monday night performance: the one day off I have from panto? CHECK! And with only two shows in the whole of the UK (London being the other date) it makes it a rare treat in Glasgow. Aye, it might be strange singing 'This Is Halloween' after Halloween but that's just yet another reason to make this show absolutely unmissable.
Cinderfella, Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 27 Nov–5 Jan; Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Mon 2 Dec.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

The Lion King

  • Directed by: Julie Taymor
  • Written by: Roger Allers, Elton John (music), Tim Rice (lyrics), Mark Mancina (music & lyrics), Lebo M (music & lyrics), Hans Zimmer (music & lyrics), Julie Taymor (lyrics), Irene Mecchi

Julie Taymor's puppet-powered stage version of Disney's spectacular tale of a dead king and an errant son is a feast of exuberant theatre for the whole family, with show-stopping visual effects, gripping drama and plenty of laughs. It reinvents the film for a whole new audience.

Lyceum Theatre, London WC2E

Tue 26 Oct

Prices to be confirmed / 0844 871 3000

Wed 27 Oct

Prices to be confirmed / 0844 871 3000

Thu 28 Oct

Prices to be confirmed / 0844 871 3000

…and 133 more dates until 3 Apr 2022

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Thu 8 Sep 2022

£20 / 023 8071 1811

Fri 9 Sep 2022

£20 / 023 8071 1811

Sat 10 Sep 2022

£20 / 023 8071 1811

…and 30 more dates until 15 Oct 2022

Palace Theatre, Manchester

Thu 27 Oct 2022

Times vary / £20–£30 / 0844 847 2275

Fri 28 Oct 2022

Times vary / £20–£30 / 0844 847 2275

Sat 29 Oct 2022

Times vary / £20–£30 / 0844 847 2275

…and 56 more dates until 24 Dec 2022

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas – Live in Concert

A screening of Tim Burton and Henry Selick's classic animated film with live accompaniment featuring Danny Elfman as Jack Skellington, Catherine O'Hara as Sally, and Ken Page as Oogie Boogie.

Edinburgh International Magic Festival

MagicFest presents a virtual programme of close-up conundrums, mind-boggling illusions, comic cabaret and other feats of the impossible. The festival features workshops as well as shows.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay

Edinburgh's world-famous Hogmanay celebration ushers the new year in with a bang. A Torchlight Procession winds through the historic Old Town and into Holyrood Park on 30 Dec, a massive street party with live music that culminates with Midnight Fireworks from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle and 'Auld Lang Syne' on 31…

Scottish Ballet: The Snow Queen

The Scottish Ballet perform this glittering winter tale inspired by Hans Christian Andersen, set to the music of Rimsky-Korsakov and choreographed by Christopher Hampson.


A fun twist on the classic pantomime.

Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics and other works

The complete works of the American artist who documented the gay culture of San Francisco in the 1970s.

I Can Go Anywhere

A big-hearted call-to-arms about solidarity in a hostile world, which follows the relationship between a disillusioned academic and an asylum seeker. Written by Douglas Maxwell and directed by Eve Nicol.

Scotland’s Photograph Album: The MacKinnon Collection

Photographs collected by Murray MacKinnon, representing Scottish life and identity from the 1840s through the 1940s, a century marked by transformation and innovation.

Counterflows Festive Soiree

For the festive soiree, Counterflows invites some of its close musical family for a night of festive-themed fun, throwing up and revelling in all the joy, beauty, horror and ridiculousness of the holiday season. Usurper will present "The 3 Year Old Hamster", a new piece written especially for this event. Usurper are the…

Marriage Story

  • 5 stars
  • 2019
  • US
  • 2h 16min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Noah Baumbach
  • Cast: Merritt Wever, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern
  • UK release: 6 December 2019

Nicole (Johansson) and Charlie (Driver) are a married couple separating, squabbling over their son Henry (Robertson). Baumbach’s approach is variously cool, clean, hilarious, devastating, discreet and confrontational; Johansson remains sympathetic even as she hides behind her lawyer, while Driver brings affable charm.