While we all love a trip to a Christmas show or a panto or a visit to Santa, for some it can be overwhelming. So we have rounded up a list of some sensory Christmas shows, Santas and pantos for this holiday season that the whole family can enjoy together.
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Sensory Christmas Pantos & Shows
Hansel and Gretel, Clare
Pantaloons are back at glór Ennis for their 16th panto production “Hansel and Gretel“.
Hansel and Gretel live with their father and stepmother in the village of Munchin Koffdropp. The story involves a host of colourful characters and comes to nail biting climax in a gingerbread house!
Dates: Saturday 22nd December to Monday 31st December 2018. There will be a relaxed performance on December 22nd at 2.30pm for those with learning disabilities, dementia and other sensory needs. There will also be an Irish Sign Language Performance. Please contact glór for details on (065) 6843103 or email [email protected]
How to Catch at Star at The Ark, Dublin
Sleeping Beauty Renmore Panto, Galway
Celebrating 40 years, The Renmore Panto will be a spectacular adventure of music, dance, song and fun and will feature a host of Galway performers at The Town Hall Theatre, Galway.
Following the wedding of two of Ireland’s most successful Eurovision stars, who hope to have a genetically perfect Eurovision star of the future, Beauty is selected to represent Ireland in the next Eurovision Song Contest, but the Wicked Queen has other ideas! Can friends and family save her in time!
Dates: Saturday December 29th 2018 to Sunday January 14th 2019. There will be a sensory friendly performance on January 6th 2019 at 12pm.
Snow White The Panto, Limerick
University Concert Hall (UCH) Limerick presents the greatest fairytale of them all Snow White as you have never seen her before! With magic, a lonely princess, romance and a handsome prince, a princess pop band, chart toppers and hilarious antics this promises all the magic of the traditional tale with a contemporary twist to be the panto ever seen.
The cast includes Katherine Lynch, Richie Hayes, Dayl Cronin, Myles Breen, Hayley-Jo Murphy, Richard Lynch, David Crowley and many more. Prepare to boo, sing and laugh in equal measure.
Dates: Monday 17th December 2018 to Sunday 6th January 2019. There will be a sensory friendly performance on Friday, January 4th at 2pm
Robin Hood Panto, Dublin
The Helix Panto for 2018 is a Theatreworx production of Robin Hood and it promises to be the best panto ever seen!
100% of the proceeds from the show will go to Temple Street Childrens University Hospital.
Dates: November 23rd 2018 to January 20th 2019. There will be a special Sensory Friendly Performance on Tuesday, December 18th at 7pm.
Cinderella Panto, Waterford
The Waterford Panto Society presents Cinderella at The Theatre Royal Waterford this December 2018.
With a live band, spectacular scenery and stunning costumes, this is one panto you won’t want to miss.
Dates: December 1st to 30th 2018. There will be a special Sensory Performance on December 6th. Booking for this show can only be made in person at the Theatre Royal box office from September 25th 2018.
Les Misérables, Dublin
Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed Broadway production of Boublil and Schonbers’s musical Les Misérables will be at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre this December.
Dates: December 5th 2018 to January 12th. Special Captioned Performance on January 10th at 7.30pm.
The Wizard of Oz Coolmine Panto Group, Dublin
Join Dorothy and her dog Toto as they are transported from Kansas to the land of Oz where they meet a host of colourful characters, including the Wicked Witch of the West. With Auntie Gertie in hot pursuit you are sure to be entertained!
Dates: January 4th to 19th 2019. Special relaxed performance on Wednesday January 9th 2019. At this performance there will be no loud or sudden noises, the music will be softer, lights will be brighter, you will be able to move around the theatre and there is a chill out zone.
Yulefest Kilkenny have worked with Creative Ireland to offer some sensory sensitive quite times at their attractions this December. They include:
- The lights and music on the Vintage Carousel will be turned down from 10.30am to 11.30am daily.
- The Medieval Mile Museum will be a haven of calm fun on Saturday, November 15th.
- Kilkenny On Ice is fully accessible for wheelchair users at all times.
- Kilkenny Castle will have a quiet room available on Sunday November 16th for children who wish to have their picture taken with the Storm Troopers.
- Nore Valley Park Santa Experience at McDonagh Junction will have sensory Santa visits on December 18th from 2pm to 5pm.
Sensory Christmas Santa Experiences
The Santa Experience at the Ilac Shopping Centre & Kilnamanagh Shopping Centre, Dublin, Jetland Shopping Centre Limerick & Patrick Street Dunnes Stores Cork
The award winning Santa Experience is back at Dunnes Stores from November 23rd to December 23rd 2018. Located in the Ilac Shopping Centre, Dublin 1, Patrick Street, Cork, The Jetland Shopping Centre, Limerick and new for 2018 in The Kilmannagh Shopping Centre, Tallaght, Dublin 24. All locations will have a dedicated Quiet Santa Evening for those with sensory needs taking place on December 3rd from 3pm to 6pm. Book now to secure your place.
The Santa Experience is a tour through: The Elves Post Office, Santa’s Stable, The Sleigh Station and the North Pole where children will learn how Santa and the elves prepare for Christmas and will interact with elves, reindeer, polar bears and may even get to ride in Santa’s Sleigh on their way to meet the big man himself in his authentic log cabin!
Children will be amazed by what Santa knows about them, thanks to the Santa Needs to Know forms, filled in at the time of booking.
Tickets cost €10 per child & €5 per adult and can be booked online in advance to ensure you get your preferred time. Each ticket includes meeting and interacting with Elves and Santa, travelling through 5 fun filled festive rooms, and a beautiful gift to treasure.
For those with ASD who wish to visit on another day, please email [email protected] and we will advise the best times and dates to book your visit.
A professional photographer will be on hand to capture all magical moments and you can order 8 x 10 framed prints immediately afterwards if you wish. The first print is priced at €12 and subsequent prints will be priced at €6 per print.
ASD Friendly Santa at Airfield, Dublin
Airfield Estate will be offering an ASD friendly Santa Visit on Saturday 8th December at 9:30am, 10:00 and 10:30am and a hearing impaired session at 11:00am with the visit in a sensory friendly and inclusive environment.
The ASD friendly adjustments are designed to make the visit to Santa more inclusive and accessible for people with sensory sensitivities, and others who can benefit from this environment. Staff are trained in ASD awareness and are happy to help make your visit more enjoyable.
Adjustments will include:
- A relaxed environment where people understand the needs of children and families with autism
- Lights left on
- Sound turned down
- Staff trained in autism awareness
- Disabled access
- Chill out zone
- Group visit to Santa in large room so there is freedom to move around and sit where you like
- Smaller group size
- Bring your own food and drink
- ASD friendly map of site emailed out in advance.
We understand ASD is different for everyone and our staff understand some visitors may need different adjustments. You are welcome to contact us before the ASD friendly visit to discuss how they can best accommodate your needs. We will try to accommodate your needs while still taking other visitors into consideration too.
Dates: Santa will be at Airfield from November 24th to December 23rd 2018. The ASD friendly Santa Experience takes place on December 8th.
Sensory Santa Day at Westport House, Mayo
In Mayo, Westport House’s Winter Wonderland is a magical family experience brimming with Christmas cheer that will leave the kids starry-eyed and the whole family believing in fairy-tales!
Kids will adore a special visit to Santa in his grotto, story-time by the fireside with Mrs Claus, sing-a-longs with the Elves and festive face-painting to really get them in the Christmas spirit.
Visit the elves hard at work in their Workshop where kids can make their own yuletide log and decorate their own Ginger Bread Man, and stop by the Christmas Wish Tree for the real spirit of Christmas.
Dates: Santa will be in his Winter Wonderland at Westport House from November 24th to December 23rd 2018. And on December 6th 2018 Westport House have a Sensory Santa Experience from 3pm to 8pm, where the lights and music will be toned down and families with children who have sensory disorders, autism or other special needs can enjoy a relaxed, magical experience.
Sensory Santa Experience with Nore Valley Farm Park, Kilkenny
Nore Valley Park Santa Experience at McDonagh Junction will have sensory Santa visits on December 18th from 2pm to 5pm.
Children can enjoy the full Santa experience including a visit to the North Pole post office, baking and decorating gingerbread figures with Mrs Claus, a visit to the stables and live crib where you can pet the animals and of course a visit to see Santa and receive a special gift.
The lights and music will be toned down and the experience can be tailored to suit your child’s needs. Just call in advance on 056 7727229 or email [email protected] to book.
Sensory Santa Workshop, Clare
Santa will be in his workshop at Aillwee Cave in the Burren, Co Clare again this Christmas. His elves will guide you through the cave singing Christmas Carols and each child will have a personalised visit with Santa and meet Mrs Claus too. You will also get to meet Snowy the Owl in the birds of prey centre and Santa’s train will be hard at work all day giving rides to everyone.
Dates: November 24th to December 22nd 2018. On December 6th the pace will slow down in Santa’s Workshop and children with sensory challenges and autism can enjoy a relaxed day with friends and family.
See Santa at Delta Sensory Gardens in Carlow
Delta hosts its very popular Christmas Fair and Outdoor Lights Display from December 7th to 21st 2018. As well as a colourful display of outdoor lights will be on display in the sensory garden plus Christmas competitions and much more each day, you can visit Santa’s grotto, Elves workshops and festive face painting will be available from 12pm to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays (online booking essential). Sensory Santa Experiences take place please check with Delta Sensory Gardens for exact dates.
Visit Santa at Winterval Festival 2018, Waterford
Winterval Festival Waterford will be an amazing Christmas experience with markets, workshops, amusements, lights and entertainment for all. This year they have introduced a brand new Enchanted Christmas Santa experience which takes place at the Old Postal Sorting Office on Custom House Quay on dates from November 17th to December 24th 2018. On December 13th they will host an autism friendly evening for those who wish to meet Santa but find the experience overwhelming. The experience will be relaxed and calm with the volume reduced.
Enchanted Winter Garden at Antrim Castle Gardens Inclusive Enchantment Evening
The Enchanted Winter Garden is a wonderful experience for all the family this Christmas. And on Tuesday, December 18th they will host an evening of inclusive enchantment from 4pm to 9pm for children and adults with specific needs including sensitivity to light, noise and crowds.
All the attractions and rides will be slowed down, strobe and strong lighting will be turned off and music levels will be turned down.
Admission is £2 for adults & carers and £1 for children and there is free car parking at the Central Car Park at Castle Mall. Tickets can be purchased in advance either online or in person at Clotworthy House, The Old Courthouse & Theatre at The Mill, Antrim.
Do you know any other Sensory Christmas Shows, Santas or Pantos taking place? Please share them in the comments box below.