The Secret Garden, Leeds
West Yorkshire Playhouse has a pretty good record when it comes to musicals, with shows such as Spend, Spend, Spend and Bad Girls both premiering at the Leeds theatre. Frances Hodgson Burnett's wonderful story about the orphaned Mary Lennox, sent from India to live on the windswept Yorkshire moors in the lonely house of an uncle she has never met, could well lend itself to a musical treatment. Tim Sutton and Garry Lyons's version draws on a folk and choral singing tradition to tell a story of mystery.
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Sat to 23 Jan
The Stefan Golaszewski Plays, London
Stefan Golaszewski has distinguished hiself on BBC4 and Radio 4 as part of the comedy group Cowards, as well as in one-man shows at the Edinburgh Festival for the past two years, in 2008 earning a Fringe First award and Best Actor nomination for Stefan Golaszewski Speaks About A Girl He Once Loved. Concerning a one-day love affair experienced by an 18-year-old lad in Walthamstow in 1999, it was later staged off-Broadway and is currently being turned into a film. Last year he performed Stefan Golaszewski Is A Widower, in which a 76-year-old man looks back from 2054 on his relationship with his wife and his emotional struggle. The two pieces are now performed together as The Stefan Golaszewski Plays at the Bush Theatre, revealing one man's attempts to love at two very different stages of life.
Bush Theatre, W12, Wed to 9 Jan
Beauty And The Beast, Oxford
A car factory car park may seem an odd place for a Christmas show, but that's where Creation Theatre Company has pitched its 100-year-old Spiegeltent for the last few festive seasons. Once inside the gorgeous mirror tent, you feel as if you have been transported to fairyland. And there's every chance that this brand new version by writer Daniel Bye and director Sarah Punshon of an old, ever-popular fairytale, which reminds us that appearances can be deceptive, will be as magical as the surroundings.
Mirror Tent at Mini Plant, to 16 Jan
Great to see that the Traverse is embracing the idea that new writing comes in many different forms, and that includes work for family audiences and children, too; particularly as those audiences are so often undervalued. Some of the talented Davey Anderson's work, particularly his early plays, would hardly qualify as being child-friendly, but his writing always has a raw, driving energy that should be used to good effect in this swashbuckling tale of derring-do featuring the mysterious, masked adventurer whose chivalry and swordsmanship are beyond reproach. Douglas Irvine directs a Christmas offering that strays a long way from the more predictable festive titles. Produced with Visible Fictions, who focus on creating work for young audiences, it should appeal to their sense of adventure and natural sense of justice.
Traverse, Fri to 24 Dec
Hansel And Gretel, Bristol
Things are bubbling along nicely at Bristol Old Vic, where the improvisation festival Bristol Jam was a huge success and Tom Morris has just announced his first intriguing season of work. It's also nice to see links with the past being retained with the return of Cornish favourites, Kneehigh, the forward-looking company that has had a long and fruitful association with BOV. Their recent fairytale-inspired shows, including last year's Bristol success, Rapunzel, have been directed by Emma Rice, but this has company co-founder Mike Shepherd at the helm. Kneehigh regulars, writer Carl Grose and composer Stu Barker, are also on hand for an evening that should be lots of good, scary fun.
Old Vic, Fri to 23 Jan
The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, Newcastle-under-Lyme
CS Lewis's story of the children who find a pathway into another world through the inside an old wardrobe has been loved by generations of children and their parents, but it has seldom made a successful shift from page to stage. Even that fine poet and writer, Adrian Mitchell, didn't quite capture the excitement of the original in his adaptation first premiered by the RSC back in 1998. The New Vic's in-the-round configuration offers both particular challenges as well as possibilities, which have been taken up by artistic director Theresa Heskins, who is creating a brand-new dramatisation especially for the space. Twenty-five local children also feature in this production alongside a professional cast of actors who will play well-loved characters including the faun, Mr Tumnus, Mr and Mrs Beaver and the mighty lion, Aslan.
New Vic Theatre, to 23 Jan
Those who saw last year's Mark Rothko exhibition at Tate Modern might like to learn the story behind the paintings told in Red, by screenwriter John Logan (The Aviator, Gladiator). Set in 1959, it finds the abstract impressionist working on a series of giant canvases for the new Four Seasons restaurant in New York's Seagram building. Rothko, who eventually killed himself in 1970, was deeply troubled by his fame and success, and such was his disgust at the commercialism and elitism of the commission when he saw it, he withdrew the paintings. Michael Grandage directs Alfred Molina as the artist and Eddie Redmayne as his watchful assistant.
Donmar Warehouse, WC2, Thu 3 to Feb 6
Peter Pan, Newcastle upon Tyne
Peter Pan is flying everywhere this Christmas, with versions at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh and at the O2 in London. The National Theatre of Scotland has also announced that John Tiffany will be staging a new version of JM Barrie's famous tale next year. Northern Stage always does a really good Christmas show, often with a slightly new twist on an old favourite, and writer Stephen Sharkey and director Erica Whyman, responsible for last year's Hansel And Gretel, are on hand to do the honours again, while designs are by Neil Murray.
Northern Stage, Mon to 9 Jan
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Guardian: This week's theatre previews
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