Bloomin’ snow! Bloomin’ reindeer! Bloomin’ Christmas! Raymond Briggs Father Christmas heads to Southampton

Raymond Briggs Father Christmas

Blooming ‘Eck! Marking the 50th anniversary of publication, Raymond Briggs Father Christmas is heading to the stage again this December, at a new venue – the Berry Theatre in Southampton.

Running 9th – 31st December, the show is based on the hugely popular picture book by the writer of Fungus the Bogeyman and The Snowman, first published in 1973, and co-produced by the Lyric Hammersmith, with Olivier Award-nominated, Bristol-based Pins & Needles.

Bloomin’ snow! Bloomin’ reindeer! Bloomin’ Christmas! Follow Father Christmas on the most important day of his year: Christmas Eve. As he gathers the reindeer and prepares his sleigh, Father Christmas begins the long journey into the snowy night to deliver presents to sleeping children all over the world. But things don’t run smoothly and he soon encounters soot covered chimneys to squeeze through and treacherous weather conditions, all while plenty of mischief is had by his cheeky pets, Cat and Dog.

Father Christmas was originally commissioned by Lyric Hammersmith in 2012, Raymond Briggs marvellous story adapted for the stage by Pins & Needles. The show has played there every Christmas since, and toured to venues across the UK and Hong Kong, now moving to Southampton in 2023.

A scene from a previous Pins &  Needles production of Raymond Briggs Father Christmas
A scene from a previous Pins & Needles production of Raymond Briggs Father Christmas

“Having come to Bristol to watch [one of Pins & Needles shows] The Elves and the Shoemakers, one of the Producers from Lyric Hammersmith invited us to pitch for their Early Years Christmas show,” recall Pins & Needles co-Artistic Directors Zoe Squire and Emma Earle of the origins of their adaptation of Father Christmas.

“We considered numerous childhood favourites, but our heart was set on the idea of creating a stage adaptation of Father Christmas … We couldn’t believe it had never been done! The Lyric team were as excited as we were, and so an extensive R&D process began.

“We worked with puppet designer Su Dacre, actor Jeff Rawle, composer Lucy Rivers and dramaturg Adam Peck to develop the show“It culminated in a presentation involving reading sections of script, staging the first few scenes of the show, presenting a white card model box, realising key puppetry sequences, and listening to demo tracks. It was enough to secure Raymond Briggs’ approval, and we got the green light to make the show.”

So… celebrate the 50th anniversary of Raymond Briggs’ joyful (and at times a bit grumpy!) Father Christmas. Head to the theatre’s website now to order your tickets for a Christmas classic. This much loved family story of Father Christmas getting ready for a night’s hard work on bloomin’ Christmas Eve will bring festive cheer to all ages, 0 to 90!

Father Christmas Fiftieth Anniversary Paperback Edition (October 2023, Penguin Books)

Penguin Books will release a fiftieth anniversary paperback edition of Father Christmas on 12th October. The book was awarded The Library Association’s Kate Greenaway Medal, another deserved honour for Raymond Briggs, who died in August 2022, aged 88.

Born in Wimbledon in 1934, Briggs studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and went on to produce a treasure trove of work. He created characters that are now icons for generations of children, including Fungus the Bogeyman, Father Christmas and, of course, the beloved Snowman. His original Mother Goose was published in 1966 and won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal. His work has won numerous awards and been adapted for film on several occasions, including Ethel and Ernest.

• Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Pins and Needles present
Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas 9th – 31st December 2023, The Berry Theatre, Wildern Lane, Hedge End, Southampton, Hampshire SO30 4EJ | Book your tickets here

Pins & Needles are online at

Buy Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link to current edition)

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