Christmas On Stage in Metro Vancouver

Arts Club Theatre | The Day Before Christmas

If you know you’re going to need a break from the hectic pace of Christmas this year, now’s the time to check out your options and book tickets for festive season stage shows in and around the city.

But what are the hottest live performances to catch this Christmas? From puppets to improv and from ballet to harp concerts, there’s something to suit every tinsel-covered preference – so long as you know where to go.

What the Dickens?

There are three local versions of A Christmas Carol this season. Dickens would recognize the traditional rendition at Richmond’s Gateway Theatre but two other adaptations are also intriguing: the Cultch’s adult-humour Little Dickens puppet show and Bah Humbug!, with B.C. music legend Jim Byrnes reprising his Ebenezer role at SFU’s downtown Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre.

Christmas Queen 4: Secret Santa

Belly Laughs & Family Fun

Granville Island’s Vancouver TheatreSports League is also back this year, staging a shimmering, laugh-a-minute improv-driven show entitled Christmas Queen 4: Secret Santa. Suitable for audiences aged seven and over, it’s an ideal family-friendly option. They’ll likely be even more kids over at the nearby Carousel Theatre, where the magical The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is on stage this season. And across town at the old-school Metro Theatre, you can take the family to a traditional, English-style pantomime with this year’s Cinderella.

Beauty and the Beast

Arts Club Offerings

But one of the season’s hottest family-friendly shows will be the heartwarming Disney musical Beauty and the Beast at the Arts Club Theatre Company’s historic Stanley Theatre. It’s not the only Arts Club seasonal offering to consider, though.
Hugely popular original musical Onegin – set in snowy 19th-century Russia – is back after its multi-award-winning 2016 run. And The Day Before Christmas promises a funny and touching portrayal of a family festive celebration gone awry. It’s at the delightfully intimate BMO Theatre Centre in Olympic Village.

Bah Humbug!

Classical Christmases

Alongside at least two local versions of The Nutcracker – including one from the Goh Ballet and another by Alberta Ballet under the auspices of Ballet BC – there are several great Vancouver-area musical concerts guaranteed to warm you like a thick fleece blanket on a cold winter night.

Don’t miss the seasonal shows from velvet-voiced Chor Leoni – the city’s internationally acclaimed male choir – and save time for Early Music Vancouver’s soaring Handel’s Messiah, a great Yuletide tradition.

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is also back with its celebrated Traditional Christmas concerts, marking their 25th anniversary. But it’s not the only VSO hot ticket: book now for their Orpheum Theatre Christmas show with Jann Arden.

Equally hot is a local concert series guaranteed to thaw any Scrooge’s heart. An annual favourite, Winter Harp includes flutes, violins and medieval instruments played alongside huge, soul-stirring harps. And the performers? They’re dressed in colourful period costume. Christmas has never looked or sounded better. 

Lonely Planet travel writer John Lee is the creator of, the only online guide to festive happenings in and around the city. Profiling more than 75 Christmas events, shows and attractions, it was co-created with Max the cat — who writes the site’s gift reviews and often appears on its @MyVanChristmas Twitter feed.

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