Five of the best things to do in and around Luton and Dunstable in the next seven days

Sara Dowling
Sara Dowling

From panto fun to jazzed-up festive favourites, there's plenty to enjoy...

1 PANTOMIME
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, until December 31
Television star Charlie Brooks takes to the stage in Dunstable for the Grove Theatre pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Charlie rose to prominence playing the role of Janine Butcher in EastEnders. Her portrayal earned her National Television Award nominations as both Most Popular Newcomer and Most Popular Actress, alongside numerous other nominations and wins.
Charlie’s other extensive television credits include Robin Hood, Love Soup, Angel of Death and Bleak House (all for BBC), Suspects (Channel 5) and Wired (ITV). On stage, Charlie received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire (Curve, Leicester) and as Sandra in Beautiful Thing (Arts Theatre, London and national tour), among many others. As herself, Charlie has appeared on numerous television shows, including I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here, which she won in 2012.
Details: grovetheatre.co.uk


2 FAMILY THEATRE
Jack and the Beanstalk, Luton Library Theatre, December 13 to 24
A Bedfordshire theatre company is promising to bid farewell to the dusty days of traditional pantomime with its latest show. Full House Theatre’s new take on Jack and the Beanstalk offers a fresh perspective for today’s families – exploring what it means to be a man and a hero in the modern age. Jack Spratt’s Dairy is struggling, so Jack and chums put their heads together to find a solution. They think of everything – selling the cow, making milkshakes instead of milk, and even finding themselves some magic beans. And when Jack climbs up to Cloudland, he reflects on the world below and his place within it. Fathers, sons, friends and heroes, the show aims to show everyone can be brave and bold like Jack and find their own place in the world. Jack and the Beanstalk promises a gripping story, colourful characters, mesmerising giant puppetry and original music. A spokeswoman for Full House Theatre said: “You may laugh, you may cry, but it’s guaranteed that all will be entertained by this hilarious and heart-warming new show.” Full House Theatre is a Bedfordshire based theatre company and arts charity, with an aim “for every child to hold treasured memories of theatre”.
Details: lutonculture.com


3 FAMILY
Christmas activities, Dunstable Downs, throughout December
Family fun galore is promised at Dunstable Downs in the coming weeks. With plenty of opportunity to make your own decorations, meet Father Christmas or get away from it all with a bracing walk in the crisp winter air, there is something for everyone up on the Downs.
There’s a chance to have breakfast with Father Christmas every weekend in December from 9.30am to 10.30am or 10.30am to 11.30am, as well as on Thursday, December 20, and Friday, December 21. Visitors can make their own unique Christmas decorations from natural materials gathered in the Downs every weekend in December plus Thursday, December 20, and Friday, December 21, from 10.30am to 3pm. A 12 Days of Christmas-themed trail will lead through Chute Wood to discover some wonderful nature and wildlife. Pick up a trail from the visitor centre and follow the clues. It is open every weekend in December as well as December 20 and 21. Guests can make their own floral Christmas decorations on December 20, while visitors are invited to celebrate the magic of the winter solstice with singing, dancing and a cup of good cheer on December 21.
Details: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunstable-downs-and-whipsnade-estate


4 FAMILY
An Audience with Father Christmas, Wrest Park, Silsoe, December 15 and 16
Join in the festive fun with the man himself at Wrest Park this Christmas. Meet Father Christmas as he tells tales of Christmas past amidst the yuletide decorations.
Details: english-heritage.org.uk/wrestpark


5 MUSIC
Sara Dowling at Christmas, Bear Club, Luton, December 15
The acclaimed vocalist will touch upon the spirit of Christmas in her sweet old-fashioned way, bringing back the wonderful songs from the movies with a jazz twist. Expect to feel festive and just a little sentimental.
Details: the-bear.club