It’s time to start looking ahead to our festive activities, especially as a lot of the events were completely sold out last year. With something brand new coming to Cardiff Castle, this is sure to be incredibly popular so we reckon the sooner we get it booked and on the Christmas Calendar, the better.

The CARDIFF CASTLE CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL will see a specially-made Spiegeltent put up in the grounds of Cardiff Castle where it will show a Christmas ballet, family musical and comedy cabaret and burlesque.

The Spiegeltent at Cardiff Castle (Photo: Cardiff Christmas Festival)

Produced by Cardiff-based live events company Live Under the Stars, who brought us the big Jubilee Concert this year, and Jamboree Entertainment, the festival will include three incredible shows offering something for everyone. It all gets underway on Friday November 25th and runs through to Sunday 8th January next year.

There’s Rubicon Dance Company’s NUTCRACKER – the Christmas ballet with a Welsh twist; SANTA’S WISH – a brand new magical musical adventure for the whole family; and CASTELLANA – a jaw-dropping blend of world class cabaret, circus, burlesque, and comedy.

The shows will be performed in the ornate and intimate 570-seat Fortuna Spiegeltent within the historical grounds of Cardiff Castle and promises to transport audiences to a nostalgic and magical world.

The Cardiff Castle Christmas Festival is a wonderful addition to Cardiff’s existing Christmas programme, which includes Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland, Christmas at Bute Park and Cardiff’s Christmas Market. It is created and produced by RICHARD PERRY and JOHN MANDERS, joint directors of Live under The Stars, whose most recent credits include the recent Cardiff Castle Jubilee Celebration Concert, and the Live Under the Stars Concert series. 


Richard told us……

“We’re thrilled to be bringing this magical entertainment experience to enhance the already fantastic Christmas provision in our capital city and we can’t wait to welcome audiences to the Castle this festive season. We’re proud to be showcasing local, national, and international talent and celebrating this wonderful time of the year in the heart of the city with locally inspired storylines, creative teams and performers”.

John added……..

“We’ve brought together a fantastic team to present three amazing festive shows for the whole family to enjoy. We’re looking forward to these immersive performances and seeing how the shows fit into this unique venue. With premieres of a family musical, world class performers defying logic and an all-time Christmas classic ballet, we’re sure the event is going to be extremely popular. With an early bird booking window until the end of August the advice is to book early to ensure you don’t miss out!”  

John Manders & Richard Perry

Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Events, Cllr Jennifer Burke-Davies, said…….

“The chance to experience a show under the roof of a magical Spiegeltent at the Cardiff Castle Christmas Festival will be a fantastic addition to the festive season. The award-winning Christmas at Bute Park light trail will also be back, as well as the ever-popular Winter Wonderland and the traditional Christmas Markets, ensuring that Christmas in Cardiff really will be the most wonderful time of the year.”


A European Spiegeltent (or magic mirrors) is the ultimate cabaret and music salon. It is a hand-hewn pavilion used as a travelling dance hall, Bohemian entertainment salon and wine tasting marquee since the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They used to be the number one attraction at Belgian funfairs.

The tent is built from wood, cut mirrors, canvas, leaded glass, and detailed in velvet brocade. Each one is unique with its own name, personality, and style. Only a handful of these special and legendary tents remain in the world and The Fortuna, owned by Dutch company Van Rosmalen, is one of the most beautiful, playing host to some of the world’s greatest performers and musicians.

The Spiegeltent at Cardiff Castle (Photo: Cardiff Christmas Festival)


Rubicon Dance Company presents The Nutcracker: The Christmas Ballet with a Welsh Twist

Rubicon Dance Company presents its highly acclaimed full-length contemporary ballet of The Nutcracker – Wales’ first reimagining of its kind, featuring a rich cast of recognisably Welsh characters, including Uncle Idris, Bop Sheila & Bopa Linda and The Mari Lwyd.

The production also features the company’s signature showpiece Snowflakes as seen at Cardiff’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and featuring choreographer Jamiel Laurence’s unique take on dancing, tumbling, avalanching and flying snowballs.

Audiences are invited along for a magical ride through the William’s Family Christmas. As we are taken into the dream world of our lead protagonist, Carys, her Uncle Idris will conjure up a battle, a snowstorm and his very own variety show, The Uncle Idris Show!

THE NUTCRACKER opens on Friday November 25th for five performances only. You can see a short trailer for the production HERE.


The brand new, jaw-dropping spectacle of Castellana is a blend of cabaret, burlesque and comedy with a hint of naughtiness with anthemic music and a storyline set in a magical mystical Welsh world filled with intrigue and suspense. World class performers will amaze, beguile, baffle and amuse as they deliver the ultimate Christmas Night Out in the intimate setting of the Fortuna Spiegeltent.

Prepare to be welcomed and delighted by the cheeky magicians, shapeshifters, high-flyers, fiery angels and dazzling demons of Castellana. As the magic and music intoxicates your senses, discover the stories and strange transformations of the people who came before you. Anything is possible for those who dare to leave their everyday lives behind and enter this timeless, risqué otherworld of miracles and wonder.

CASTELLANA has its World Premiere on Thursday December 1st and runs until Sunday January 8th 2023. The show is suitable for those aged 16+

Santa’s Wish: A Magical New Musical

“On a cold winters night that crept into dawn, some fresh snow fell softly… a Snowflake was born…”

Snowflake the magical elf is in a really tricky spot. Santa’s sleigh has crashed and he is lost. Will you be able to help find Santa?

Can Snowflake the Elf conjure up a plan to get Santa home in time and save Christmas? Do the Magical Wish Jars hold the answer? Do you truly Believe?

This heart-warming family musical adventure, enriched with original songs, immersive storytelling and a sprinkling of circus magic is guaranteed to leave the whole family bursting with festive joy and happiness.

SANTA’S WISH has its The World Premiere on December 2, and the show will run for a strictly limited season until December 24. The show is suitable for ages 3+

Tickets and information for Nutcracker, Castellana and Santa’s Wish is available via the Cardiff Castle Christmas Festival website HERE

Early bird tickets are available until the end of August and start at just £7 for children for Santas Wish, £23 for Castellana and £21 for Nutcracker. Booking Fees Apply.

Incidentally, the team at Live Under The Stars have more events running across South Wales, including a CHRISTMAS AT THE MUSICALS special at the ICC Wales in Newport. you can get the details for that HERE.