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1950s Cinema

Jack and the Beanstalk, Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London

Paul Sirret has a long creative association with the Theatre Royal Stratford East where his works include the Olivier-nominated Ska musical The Big Life. This, though, is his first ever pantomime, a tricky mixed form that can defeat even the most seasoned scribe, and he rises to the challenge with a show that's a lovely, warm and very funny blend of traditional elements and quirky original twists.

Travel by numbers: Your countdown to Christmas

1901 The year that Queen Victoria died – signalling the end of her eponymous era. This Christmas, however, the festive spirit of the Victorian period lives on at Saltwell Park in Gateshead, which has been transformed by the after-dark arts experience, Enchanted Parks. Visitors can see illuminated installations such as "Glimpses of Victoriana", costumed characters and trees that respond when given a hug. Evenings 5-9 December. Tickets £6. Newcastlegateshead.com

More headlines

George Hurrell: Hollywood's icon maker

George Hurrell gave the Golden Age of Hollywood its glossy sheen and soft-focus seductiveness. He was the foremost publicity stills photographer of the day - a man responsible for creating icons.

Pulitzer judges admit defeat in search for literary star

And the winner is... nobody. The publishing industry's annual search for its latest Great American Novel ended with a resounding thud after it emerged there will be no Pulitzer Prize for fiction for the first time in 35 years.