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Do you believe in stories? Do you believe in magic and evil spirits and snow queens? Well, if the answer is no, then beware, because you may just have a tiny shard of an ogre’s smashed mirror making its way to your heart.

It’s Christmas at Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol but at this wonderful centre for some of the most creative theatre around, you won’t find ugly sisters, magical carriages and soap opera stars earning their festive bonuses. Instead, The Snow Queen is in town, a wonderfully creative and fun piece of folk theatre that sees its hero, Gerda (Natisha Williams), embarking on a heroic quest to save her best friend Kaj from a freezing fate in the North Pole.

Photo: Mark Dawson

Along the way, she meets a cast of weird, funny and scary characters, from Aunty Rose and her strange smelling tea, to a gang of educated crows and starving group of robbers dying for a pot of Gerda stew. There’s even a carrot crunching reindeer and his flying tandem, complete with Christmas lights, to help Gerda along the way.

This is a Christmas story with fun, songs, great performances and a tiny touch of scary stuff that will have audiences of all ages enthralled. Played in the round at Tobacco Factory Theatres and with a minimum of props, the play starts, as it should, with a prologue enacted by a sleigh full of talented performers who combine their skills as actors, storytellers and musicians to great affect.

Within no time the audience is part of the action, singing and clapping along, helping the heroes and nervous of the baddies, plus, for one carefully selected soul, the chance comes for a peak into a magical mirror that will unveil their darkest character flaws… Dare it be you?

Photo: Mark Dawson

Throughout the musical numbers are catchy and brilliantly performed, the humour clean and clever – with a few modern references to rising fuel bills, the cost of living crisis and even the rail strikes – and all the performances beautifully enacted.

The result is that while the story might be aimed at younger children (the age recommendation is 5+), there’s so much for the parents and carers to enjoy too, as well as a good few grown-ups in the audience who just know where to go to enjoy great theatre.

Tobacco Factory Theatres has altogether earned its reputation as a great for venue for fun and creative productions, and The Snow Queen only adds to its role of honour. What a treat and one to be highly recommended.

The Snow Queen at Tobacco Factory Theatres runs until 15 January 2023. For more details and to book tickets, go to