What would Christmas be without a good old pantomime?

As identifiable with the festive period as turkey and mistletoe, we at the Gazette think that Christmas isn't complete without a trip to see a panto.

But this year, coronavirus has shut theatres down for months and threatened their future, putting their festive displays at risk too.

In Basingstoke, the Anvil and Haymarket have cancelled all shows until next year, and in Andover, the Lights is only just reopening with a pilot programme.

Meanwhile, Winchester's Theatre Royal is under real threat, with its performance of Aladdin cancelled.

But thankfully for us, that's not the story across the region - with residents still able to enjoy the festivities.

So here are three pantomimes still going ahead in the area...

A Christmas Carol - Newbury Watermill

It's Christmas Eve, and whilst London is alive with festive cheer and seasonal goodwill, the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge grows meaner by the minute.

Basingstoke Gazette:

A heartless money lender, who cares more about counting his coins than for his fellow man, Scrooge despises Christmas and everything to do with it.

But will a timely visit from the haunting ghosts of Christmas past, present and future change his wicked ways before it’s too late?

A Christmas Carol is part of The Watermill Theatre's autumn 2020 reopening season featuring shows with smaller cast sizes, reduced capacity inside the auditorium and socially distanced seating to enable you to get back to watching the very best live theatre.

Audience members are required to wear face coverings (unless medically exempt or children under 11) when moving around the Watermill site, including in the bar and restaurant and at all times in the auditorium. Face coverings do not need to be worn when eating or drinking.

Performances of A Christmas Carol run at Newbury's Watermill Theatre from November 26, 2020 to January 3, 2021. You can book tickets here.

Aladdin - Newbury Corn Exchange

Take the trip of a lifetime and journey to far off lands with Aladdin and his friends, as they discover treasures beyond their wildest dreams.

Basingstoke Gazette: Aladdin

But will they foil Abanazar’s evil plan? And will Widow Twankey ever get through her mountain of laundry?

Aladdin is written and directed by Plested and Brown, and is full of songs from across the decades and traditional Corn Exchange pantomime fun - plus a few surprises.

In order to make pantomime possible, the Corn Exchange will be rebuilding the auditorium seating so we can increase capacity whilst still adhering to social distancing measures.

The new seating layout will have more space between rows, the new seats will have individual arm rests, and each household group will be kept separate using dividing Perspex screens.

Performances run from November 27, 2020 to January 3, 2021. You can book tickets here.

Dick Whittington - Portsmouth King's Theatre

Join hero Dick Whittington on his thrilling quest to find adventure, fame and fortune in the glittering streets of London.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Will he be able to defeat villainous rodent Queen Rat, save the city and win the hand of his love, Alice?

Get ready to follow your dreams as this classic tale is re-imagined for our annual fun-filled pantomime.

Expect a much-loved mix of songs, bonkers humour, stunning sets and don’t forget the hilarious 12 Days of Christmas (with those all-important toilet Rolls) all wrapped up in a magical festive treat for all ages.

Starring one half of X Factor Finalists Same Difference, Sean Smith as Dick Whittington, the theatre's very own Jack Edwards as Dame Dolly and a host of West End talent including local favourites Julia Worsley and James Percy.

The theatre are limiting the audience numbers to 400 per show to comply with social distancing, but add that if the government relax the rules they will extend the capacity.

You can choose your seats which are organised in bubbles of various sizes (2-6) to comply with current government guidelines.

If your party is of 6 or less you can still all sit together as a family/social bubble. All tickets in a bubble must be purchased together.

Performances of Dick Whittington run from November 28 to December 31. You can book your tickets here.