It’s the one you’ve all been waiting for! The panto dreams are made of is now on stage at Armagh’s Market Place Theatre, and audiences just can’t get enough of this sparkling Christmas adventure.

Sleeping Beauty Production Shoot
Market Place Theatre Armagh Co.Armagh
4 December 2017

This year’s spectacular combines wonderful music, song and dance, colourful costumes, memorable characters, and loads of audience participation, in a lively and fun-filled show for all the family.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, a beautiful princess is born. The entire kingdom is delighted, apart from the evil fairy, who places a curse on the Princess, so that she will prick her finger on a poisoned spinning wheel on her 16th birthday! Who could possibly break such a terrible spell? And who will be brave enough to challenge the evil fairy? And what mad shenanigans will occur in the meantime? Come to The Market Place Theatre this Christmas to find out…

Featuring all your favourite panto characters, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is guaranteed to be a fun-packed traditional family pantomime for all ages! Fun, frolics and laughter abound in this spectacular take on the thrilling and timeless classic. Audiences will recognise some familiar names in the cast line-up with Debra Hill playing the role of Sleeping Beauty-Full, Michael Lavery as the Prince, Karen Rush as everyone’s favourite baddie Maleficent, and of course, the fabulous Stephen Beggs back in the ‘funderful’ role of Nanny Magee.

Performances will run right up until Christmas Eve, at a variety of times to suit all ages! Ticket prices range from £10 to £15. Tickets are selling fast, with the best availability remaining on the last week.

To book your tickets for the most exciting pantomime of the season, phone the Box Office now on [028] 3752 1821. The house is sure to be packed to the rafters for this annual festive hit, so don’t be caught napping – book now, before it’s too late! We’d hate for you to snooze out! There are BSL signed, captioned and relaxed performances during the run. Please contact the Box Office for full details.

Tickets for all performances can be booked through the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at And to keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter ( where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.


Jacqueline shares her pick of what’s on this weekend across NI


Are you looking for something to do with the kids this Christmas? Get yourself along to County Down’s Winter Wonderland at Clandeboye Estate, Bangor from the 16th to 23rd December. There will be markets and attractions including an ice rink, indoor cinema, arts and crafts, bouncy castle, face painting, Santa’s grotto, Mother Christmas, elves, snow machines and more. And here’s the good news – all the attractions are included in one amazing ticket price, so you can entertain the children all day without breaking the bank.  Santa has agreed to take time out from his busy schedule to see all the children at Winter Wonderland!


Join the exceptional Cara Dillon for what will undoubtedly be a magical and memorable festive experience this  Thursday 14th December at the Marketplace Theatre.  Having recorded her highly anticipated Christmas album, ‘Upon A Winter’s Night’, Cara and her band will be performing classic carols, Celtic hymns and other Christmas songs to celebrate and share in the Christmas spirit. A tradition in the making.


At Christmas, Castle Coole transforms into a magical Christmas wonderland until Sunday 17th December. Visit Castle Coole to check on how the elves are preparing for Christmas this year, and visit Santa and Mrs Claus by the range in the kitchen.  Visit Santa and Mrs Claus in their festive home as they prepare for the busy Christmas season. Each child receives a present and grown-ups can enjoy warming mulled wine and mince pies.


The Ulster Orchestra is bringing its hugely popular Christmas sing-along show across Northern Ireland! Soprano Marcella Walsh joins the party to bring you well-known festive classics and carols in this Christmas cracker of a night. Join them at the Alley Theatre Strabane this Saturday 16th December at 8.00pm.


It’s December, so it must be time for the Roe Valley’s annual Christmas film screening of It’s a Wonderful Life! Join them this Saturday 16th December for what is now a Roe Valley festive ritual – escape the hustle and bustle for a few hours, sit back and enjoy one of the most beloved films of all time with complimentary mulled (non-alcoholic) wine and seasonal refreshments.  Tickets only £5.


Caroline Curran and Julie Maxwell return with a madcap Christmas comedy, set in the A&E of the local hospital. Make an appointment at Theatre at The Mill this Christmas and meet a heavenly host of hilarious characters, as they celebrate this very special holiday period! Runs until the 31st December.


Stormont School of Singing is back with their annual Christmas concert in aid of NI Chest Heart & Stroke.  Join them this Friday evening at the Belvoir Players Studio for a magical evening of festival favourites & music for the season! Featuring students alongside professional performers. Ticket price includes mince pies & non-alcoholic mulled wine.

For more details on these events and to add your events free go to Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

The Nightshift Before Christmas!

‘The Nightshift before Christmas’ written by and starring Caroline Curran and Julie Maxwell, is a must see this Christmas.


Join nurses Cindy & Ella as they work the nightshift in a busy A&E ward in the ‘Royal Abbey’ hospital on Christmas Eve. All five cast members who also include Abbey Gibbon, James Doran and Patrick Buchanan, play multiple roles in this festive delight.

Meet Belfast characters such as ‘Smasher O’Neill’, Santa Dave and the heavily pregnant Gloria. This show highlights the work of the NHS staff that we can all take for granted and the people they encounter on a daily basis – ‘Heaven isn’t the only place you will find angels’

Christmas can be such a special time but it is just another day for those in the medical profession who continue to save lives and look after the sick, day after day.

This show will have you laughing out loud and maybe shedding a tear or two but it will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

This Christmas comedy will run until Sunday 31 Dec. Tickets from Box Office T: 028 9034 0202 or


Calling all teachers!  Fancy winning tickets to bring your class to see the biggest show of the season? 

The Millennium Forum is inviting all schools to enter its ‘Create A Beanstalk’ competition. All you have to do is create a beanstalk on an A4 page (drawing/digital art/painting) and email it as a jpeg or low res PDF to

The art work will then be judged by the Millennium Forum and the show sponsor, the Richmond Centre. There will be a shortlisting of three entries which will then be put out to public vote on the Richmond Centre’s Facebook page so the artwork with the most likes at the end, wins!

The winning entry gets a prize of pantomime tickets for their whole school class as well as a meet and greet with the cast members for the show on Tue 19th December at 1.15pm! The runners up in the competition will win family tickets to the pantomime on the same date.

The deadline for the Create a Beanstalk competition is Monday 11th December at 5.00pm.  Good luck!

The Millennium Forum is well known for its outstanding Christmas pantomimes and this year’s production promises to be the best yet.  A gigantic beanstalk, Daisy the cow, magic beans, a goose that lays golden eggs and the nastiest of giants – it promises to be one giant festive extravaganza that all the family will love!

Jack and the Beanstalk runs at the Millennium Forum until Sunday 31st December.  Tickets are now available from the Box Office.  Telephone 71 264455 or visit for bookings.


Competition Terms & Conditions

  • When submitting entries please include a name, age, school, address and contact details.
  • Only one entry will be accepted per person.
  • Winners must agree to be photographed for PR purposes.
  • If winner cannot be contacted another will be chosen.
  • Work might not be returned.
  • Tickets are non-transferable and are for the stated performances only.

Jacqueline from shares her pick of what’s on this weekend across NI


Take some time to leave the hustle and bustle of the high street behind and explore the candlelit Ballycultra village to experience Christmas from 100 years ago at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum this Friday 8th December.  Visit beautiful festive homes, sample seasonal treats by a cosy peat fire, and listen to the rousing, seasonal anthems performed by brass bands and carol singers. Opening hours 6pm – 9pm.


Take a magical train journey around the Argory Estate in Moy to see Santa in his grotto and meet his team of helpers from the North Pole. Includes complimentary festive refreshments.  Booking Essential. 7th-10th and 13th -17th December from 4.00pm to – 8.00pm. Adult £7,  Child £15, Member Adult £7, Member Child £15.


Join SHARE for a very special, festive cruise of Upper Lough Erne on-board the Inishcruiser on Saturday 9th December.  Christmas High Tea cruise will indulge you in tasty festive treats including mulled wine, shortbread and mince pies, alongside other traditional high tea treats. These can be enjoyed as you cruise beautiful Upper Lough Erne towards Crom Estate. The cruise lasts approx. 1.5 – 2 hours. Booking essential.


Join the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh this Christmas for  a festive celebration for the whole family with their Santa Sunday Lunch.  The children will be thoroughly entertained with the kids Christmas party and disco from 2.00pm – 4.00 pm. Contact the Christmas co-ordinator to book Tel +44 28 8224 2520.


Step back in time to Westeros this Christmas & enjoy a Game of Thrones themed medieval banquet this Friday 8th December at the Waterfoot Hotel. The banquet will have Game of Thrones themed props & music, mulled cider reception.  You will then enjoy a 3 course meal plus live entertainment by The Hit Men & Silver Fox DJ.


Enchanted Winter Garden returns to Antrim Castle Gardens bigger and better than ever before from Saturday 9th to Tuesday 19th December. This year’s event has even more of the stunning Gardens transformed, from entry at the Barbican Gate enchantment awaits as a magical journey through the Gardens unfolds. This year’s new features include the star attraction, ‘Antrim Eye’ – a 40m Ferris wheel where star gazing over Antrim Town and beyond will be one of the highlights of your visit to this fantastic event.


Christmas Supper (a two course traditional Christmas dinner followed by Tea and Coffee) with a live performance from the fabulous Belfast Community Gospel Choir this Thursday 7th December at the Stormont Hotel from 7.00pm. Visit to book.

For more details on these events and to add your events free go to Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

10 things to do in Northern Ireland has stacks of fun things to do across NI, from family days out to gigs and cultural events. Here are 10 exciting things taking place this week (11-17 December)


  1. The Winter Fair, Lisburn, 14 December. Eikon Exhibition Centre is the meeting place for the dairy industry in Northern Ireland. Where top class cattle compete for the title of supreme champion and trade stands display innovation and industry advances. To book your tickets, visit
  2. Shh! We Have A Plan, Belfast, 13-16 December. The award-winning Children’s Theatre Company, Cahoots NI, are casting a spell over young theatre goers at the Crescent Arts Centre this Christmas as they bring the enchanting tale ‘Shh! We Have a Plan’ to life. Based on the Chris Haughton book, this nonverbal, delightful and poignant tale follows the journey of some madcap characters. To book tickets visit
  3. South Eastern Music Service Winter Concert, Belfast, 11 December. Treat yourself to a selection of contemporary, pop and classical music, including some festive pieces to help spread the Christmas cheer.  The impressive and varied line-up features the Bangor Concert Band, Bangor String Orchestra, Castlereagh Concert Band, Castlereagh String Orchestra, Down Concert Band, Down String Orchestra, Lisburn Concert Band and Lisburn String Orchestra. To book tickets visit
  1. Days of Christmas Past with Santa Visit, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, 9-17 December. The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum has an extra special festive experience for the family to immerse themselves in the magic of a traditional Christmas. Gather around the warmth of the turf fire and enjoy readings from The Night before Christmas, singalong with the Christmas Mummers, taste seasonal treats and meet Santa and Mrs Claus in his workshop. Take home a treasured memory of your day spent in Christmas past by purchasing a special photograph with Santa & Mrs Claus. To book visit
  2. A Christmas Carol, Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy, 14 December. Olivier Award-winning actor, Guy Masterson is famed for bringing multiple characters to vivid life in his enthralling one-man shows. Masterson recreates Scrooge, Marley, the Fezziwigs, Tiny Tim and many more in an enchanting performance that will dazzle and linger long in the memory. To book your ticket visit
  3. Christmas Dioramas, Co. Down, 16 December. Get your children into the spirit of the festive season, making their own little winter wonderland. Banbridge’s Old Town Hall hosts a children’s workshop creating a 3D Christmas scene with fairy lights to add the extra sparkle. Hazel Boland leads the workshop for 7-11 year olds, using recycled materials. To book call 028 4062 0232.
  4. The Whistlin’ Donkeys In Concert, Co. Fermanagh, 15 December. The Whistlin’ Donkeys are an Irish Folk band from County Tyrone, they have a unique spin on Irish Folk music, blending elements of traditional Irish with Celtic rock influences. See them perform a vibrant set at the Ardhowen Theatre in Enniskillen, tickets £16.50.
  5. A Mid-Winter Tale, Co. Armagh, 15 December. Enjoy some traditional fayre at this most unusual Christmas event at the Navan Centre, Armagh. A Celtic themed celebration of the arrival of Mid-Winter and the Winter Solstice – the shortest and darkest day of the year. Darkness has descended and the people are gathered to see the Holly King fight the Oak King. If the Oak King defeats the Holly King darkness will end and light will return for the year.
  6. A Swingabella Christmas, Lisburn, 16 December. The close harmony vocal trio, Swingabella, brings back the sassy sound of the Swing Era of the 30s and 40s. Come and hear the jaunty ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree’ and the ever-popular ‘In The Mood’, coquettishly sung by three broads in victory rolls and T-bar shoes. To book your tickets visit
  7. Bubbles in a Boat, Derry~Londonderry, 2-24 December. Go on a Christmas cruise with Bubbles the elf and help him find the missing items from Santa’s sleigh. Afterwards make a Christmas clay tile with Mrs Claus and enjoy hot chocolate and a Christmas cookie. To book call 028 7136 3133.


For more information on these events or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit

Get into the festive spirit at It’s Chriiiiistmas!!

On Saturday 16 December, a very special festive concert will take place at The Queen’s Hall, Newtownards.

For fans of the popular Friday Night Live music series and from the team that brought you the sell-out success Rumours Re-told, “It’s Chriiiiistmas!!” will be a fun and nostalgic music homage to the festive season.

From Bing Crosby and Dean Martin to Mariah Carey, The Pogues, Wizzard and Wham!, expect all your favourite Christmas Crackers recreated by artists including VerseChorusVerse, Susie Coyle, Ellen Weir and Becky Baxter.

With fairy lights, tinsel, a dance floor and fabulous Christmas songs, join us for what promises to be a Christmas No.1 for real music lovers.

Tickets cost £10 and are on sale at Book early to avoid disappointment!

Make a pledge to Recycle. Reduce. Refuse. Remember

Children from all over the Ards and North Down borough are taking an Environmental Family Pledge whereby they are encouraged to deliver on a promise made through an innovative initiative that Ards and North Down Borough Council are rolling out this November/December.


The initiative, called C.L.E.A.R, associates community, learning, environmental, awareness and responsibility, to the environment through a series of 5 workshops set in the Risk Avoidance Danger Awareness Resource (RADAR) centre.

Ards and North Down Borough Council have partnered with RADAR and a voluntary beach cleaning group, North Down beach cleaners, to develop this be-spoke programme which has been financed from the Recycling Community Investment Fund, raised by all the re-cycling efforts by the residents in Ards and North Down, accumulating an extensive £1.2 million saving in landfill tax. This has allowed the council to not only minimise any rates increase but also to re-invest this money into new environmental initiatives such as C.L.E.A.R.

These 5 workshops are aimed at all year 8 pupils in the borough and started on Monday 27 November, taking place over a three-week period – 1,800 local pupils will take part. Set in the impressive location of RADAR, a multi-purpose village built within a warehouse, the children will learn about biodiversity, recycling, environmental crime, dog awareness and good citizenship. By educating the next generation of citizens the programme tackles environmental issues in an interactive, innovative and enjoyable way.

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Robert Adair, stated that “the CLEAR initiative is all about our young people having a unique opportunity to learn key messages about environmental responsibility in a really fun and effective way”.

The team heading the workshops are getting fantastic feedback with encouraging reviews from pupils and teachers.

David Lindsay, Director of Environment in the Council said, “For every child that makes the pledge along with their families the Council will award a bursary to their school, that can then be used to further pupils’ environmental education.  As long as the residents of the borough maintain and improve their commitment to maximising recycling of their household waste, we will continue to reap the financial benefits – and can use the money saved to keep funding important initiatives such as the CLEAR environmental education programme as well as many other projects from our Recycling Community Investment Fund.”

Will you make the pledge? Be environmentally responsible.




The Market Place Theatre in Armagh will be providing some much-needed respite from the Christmas hustle and bustle this December with relaxing and magical festive performances.

Come and join the exceptional Cara Dillon on Thursday 14 December, for what will undoubtedly be a magical and memorable festive experience. Having recorded her highly anticipated Christmas album, ‘Upon A Winter’s Night’, Cara and her band will be performing classic carols, Celtic hymns and other Christmas songs to celebrate and share in the Christmas spirit. A tradition in the making. If you don’t already know the voice of Cara Dillon, you’re in for a treat. If you are already amongst her legions of admirers around the world, you know you have something special in store. Tickets are priced £22.

Why not treat a loved one to a night of great music at our popular Christmas Jazz Club. Taking centre stage on Saturday 16 December will be the hugely popular Martello Jazz Band who feature a sound reminiscent of the Dixieland bands of 1920’s New Orleans, stamped with their own brand of drive and flair. A great pre-Christmas night out with friends. Admission is priced £15 which includes a glass of prosecco and light refreshments.

Visit the website at for full details and bookings, or contact the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821. And to keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, you can follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter ( where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.

Christmas Switch on Maghera

Maghera’s Christmas festivities kick off this weekend on Saturday 2nd December


Kids Christmas workshops and activities will take place in The Lurach Centre from 2pm – 4.30pm, before Santa arrives by reindeer and sleigh at the Walled Garden.

To visit Santa in his Walled Garden Grotto between 4.30pm and 6pm, please pre-book your child’s spot by calling the Bridewell on 028 7963 1510.

You’ll also have the chance to enter a free prize draw, with prizes donated courtesy of The Maghera Traders Association, including:

  • Xbox One and 2 games
  • Fire TV stick
  • Amazon Echo Dot
  • Google Home
  • Kindle Fire HD
  • Sony headphones
  • Sunday lunch for two at Walsh’s Hotel
  • Movie House vouchers
  • The Auction Room vouchers
  • A weekend break for two to London!

Santa will then get back on his sleigh to lead everyone up to the town centre at 6pm where he will switch on the Christmas lights!