Hampshire shows not to miss in 2023

Two people stand on the stage for the performance of Starchitects. One person is knelt on a couple of boxes and holding another box to the sky. Another person to the side is balancing a puppet on their head.

The curtains are getting ready to rise at the top Hampshire shows not to miss in 2023! And guess what? They’re all totally and utterly unmissable with a huge number of options to choose from, from wonderful musicals and plays to festivals, concerts and educational shows. 

Planning birthdays? Memorable trips out with family? Things to do in Hampshire with friends? Why not indulge in pure escapism and all these epic worlds of imagination? Let’s leave the real world behind for a few hours!

Now all the must-see Hampshire shows are in one place, you can browse at your own leisure! So, which shows do you fancy seeing first? 

Hampshire shows on the stage

Stay up to date with what’s on in Hampshire so you don’t miss anything you and the family would really love!

Kids shows

Introducing… Tales from Acorn Wood, at Theatre Royal Winchester from 3rd to 4th April. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s beloved stories are brought to life on stage for the first time in an enchanting lift-the-flap experience. Expect songs and puppetry from the team behind Dear Zoo Live, and an experience kids will thoroughly enjoy. 

4 cast members of Room on a Broom stand onstage around a steaming cauldron holding puppet animals.
Room on a Broom, Theatre Royal Winchester

The smash-hit stage adaptation from Freckle Productions (the team behind Zog and the Flying Doctors and Stick Man) is back! And it promises to be bigger, brighter and more roar-some than ever before! MAST Mayflower Studios presents Zog from 22nd to 26th April 2023. 

For an epic theatre experience for kids, why not head over to Theatre Royal Winchester from 11th to 12th February? Room on the Broom, based on the best-selling book by Julia Donaldson, is now a magical Olivier Award-nominated show. Jump on the broom with the witch and her cat as they pick up dog, bird and frog. 

Fun family shows

Charlie & Stan will be at MAST Mayflower Studios from 21st to 25th February. Inspired by real life events in a smash hit production of a hilarious and moving homage to Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel, you’ll be hooked on the story of the two men who changed the world of comedy forever.

The whole family will enjoy this swashbuckling smash-hit comedy, Treasure Island, at Theatre Royal Winchester from 23rd to 25th February. Think dastardly pirates, tropical islands and a mermaid who’ll never forget. Get ready to set sail on the Jolly Todger for a hilarious voyage across the seas!

Join a band of travelling circus performers for Around the World in Eighty Days at Theatre Royal Winchester from 8th to 13th May 2023. As they recreate the adventures of Phileas Fogg, they’ll be traversing every country and embracing every character as fact and fiction clash in this madcap adventure.

Next up, we have a brand new show, Starchitects (main picture), also at Theatre Royal Winchester that will inspire children to reach for the moon with a story about five children who dream of reaching for the moon. This show by Hat Fair headliners running from 27th to 28th January will have dance-circus performances and stunning digital projections. So, be sure to get your tickets booked.

After a hugely exciting 2022 at New Theatre Royal Portsmouth, they have a brand new programme of events for 2023. It’s a diverse mix including huge names in comedy, incredible music acts, exciting musicals, thrilling dance and fascinating talks. See the full programme here.

Gripping mystery

Get your detective hats on for Sherlock Holmes: The Valley of Fear at MAST Mayflower Studios from 2nd to 4th February. Crammed full of adventure, mystery and of course, one or two rather brilliant deductions, The Valley Of Fear is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s thrilling final Sherlock Holmes novel brought to life in this spectacular new stage adaptation.

Based on the best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins and the DreamWorks film, The Girl on the Train is coming to MAST Mayflower Studios from 19th to 22nd April for audiences over the age of 14. Adapted by Duncan Wagstaff and Rachel Abel, this is an amateur production brought to you by award-winning SUP Theatre Company by arrangement with Concord Theatricals.

Did you know Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is the longest running play in the world? The first opening night was in November 1952 and it’s still running today! As a much-loved part of British history and culture, it’s without a doubt a must-see Hampshire show to see in 2023! Don’t miss The Mousetrap at Mayflower Theatre from 28th February to 4th March!

Gritty crime

Starring Jason Merrells, Richard Walsh and Reanne Farley, MAST Mayflower Studios presents The Verdict from 28th February to 4th March 2023 for audiences over the age of 12. The powerful bestselling courtroom thriller that inspired a multi Academy award-nominated film starring Paul Newman is brought to the stage in a night you’re sure to remember.

And who doesn’t love Peaky Blinders? Peaky Blinders is coming to the Mayflower Theatre from 7th to 11th February for Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby. Can Thomas Shelby really find redemption? Written by the creator of Peaky Blinders, Steven Knight, it follows on from its London premier and sell-out performances in Birmingham. As NME said, it’s “The most immersive and intoxicating way to experience Knight’s now timeless story.” So, have you got your ticket yet? For ages over 15.

MAST Mayflower Studios presents, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, from 6th to 14th October 2023. This is a powerful and joyous new production of the seminal play, marking the first time a classic South African play has been produced at MAST Mayflower Studios, directed by John Pfumojena.

Must-see musicals

Another 2023 Hampshire show is Waldo’s Circus of Magic & Terror at MAST Mayflower Studios from 4th to 6th May for the over 12’s. It’s 1933 in Brandenburg, in this brand new musical. The Nazis run the country, and many are trying to escape, but Waldo and his circus are running the show. Acrobats, clowns and conjurors are staying to entertain others every night. 

Don’t miss Benchmark Musical Theatre’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame at New Theatre Royal Portsmouth from 5th to 8th April. Based on the Victor Hugo novel, the Disney animated feature’s Academy Award-nominated score, and new songs by Menken and Schwartz, is set to be an unforgettable performance!

Fancy a world of pure imagination? Don’t miss Charlie and The Chocolate Factory at the Mayflower Theatre from 16th August to 3rd September 2023. 

Also at the Mayflower Theatre from 27th March to 1st April, there’s The Commitments for a feel-good night of soul! Based on the BAFTA award-winning film classic, the Mayflower Theatre welcomes The Commitments after its record breaking run in London’s West End and subsequent sell-out tour! Recommended for ages over 12.

And not to be missed is the legend that is SpongeBob SquarePants! SpongeBob the Musical is arriving at the Mayflower Theatre from 5th – 8th April. It seems the pineapple under the sea is the place to be in this brand sparklin’ new musical, so savour the fun-filled and hilarity packed hours with the greatest sponge of all time!

The smash-hit West End production of Annie, the world’s favourite family musical, returns to Southampton from 24th to 29th April. Plus, it will be starring the one and only Paul O’Grady as Miss Hannigan! With its Tony® Award-winning book and score, including the unforgettable songs It’s The Hard-Knock LifeEasy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Tomorrow. You can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll love it at the Mayflower Theatre.

Disney’s iconic Winnie the Pooh has come to life in a beautifully crafted musical stage adaptation. Don’t miss it at The Mayflower at from 31st May to 4th June! Featuring the Sherman Brothers’ classic Grammy Award-winning music with further songs by A.A. Milne, this beautiful fresh stage adaptation is told with stunning life-sized puppetry through the eyes of the characters we all know and love, in a new story from the Hundred Acre Wood.

The smash-hit West End musical, SIX, is on its way to the Mayflower Theatre from 25th to 29th July. Reigning on Broadway and in the West End, the international smash hit musical SIX makes its royal return to Southampton following its previous sell-out success! Winner of the 2022 What’s Onstage Award for ‘Best West End Show’ with a Gold-Disk winning album.

Dinosaurs, dragons and mythical beasts

Join intrepid rangers at Theatre Royal Winchester on a quest to recover the data crystal, restore power to the island and save the dinosaurs! The Dinosaur Adventure Live team introduces you to the most incredible species to have lived on Earth. Learn their history, meet beautiful baby dinosaurs, but watch out – you could be on the menu! Catch the show on Saturday 3 or Sunday 4th June at various times. Or Enter a magical world of myths and legends in this fantastical new family show, Dragons and Mythical Beasts. Unveil dark secrets and come face to face with magnificent monsters and terrifying beasts like the Stone Troll, the Tooth Fairy, unicorn, majestic Griffin and dragon! Book for various times on Saturday 22nd to Monday 24th July 2023. 

Music Hampshire shows and concerts

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens have a number of musical treats for you to enjoy this year. Firstly, there’s the Romsey Festival 2023 – Gala Picnic Concert on 8th July 2023 for an open-air classical concert by the renowned Southampton Concert Orchestra.
You’re in for a musical feel-good show with Music in the Gardens – Summer Soul Picnic Concert on Friday 11th August and Saturday 12th August 2023. Following that, there’s the Family Music in the Gardens – Picnic Concert on Saturday 26th August 2023. 

For the over 16’s, the MAST Mayflower Studios present Cake: The Marie Antoinette PLAYlist from 18th March to 25th March 2023. Cake combines rap and RnB with 18th century France to retell a story that sparked a revolution.

Are you a fan of Harry Styles, or know people who are? Catch the Harry Styles tribute on Thursday 6th April at 6.30pm at Theatre Royal Winchester, which will follow the story and hits of this hugely successful Grammy Award-winning artist. Expect hits such as Watermelon Sugar and As it Was, plus One Direction classics including Story of my Life and What Makes You Beautiful

Always fancied seeing The Arctic Monkeys? You’ll want to be at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday 14th June 2023. This is the band’s biggest UK and Irish tour of their career to date, where they’ll be supported by The Hives and The Mysterines. 

Sport shows

Defending Vitality Blast champions will feature in double-header with Southern Vipers at The Ageas Bowl on Friday 26th May to begin home T20 campaign. 

Don’t miss the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship on Saturday 3rd to Sunday 4th June 2023! Followed globally, this is the UK’s most illustrious championship for some fast, action-packed racing.

Get ready for a weekend of transporting back in time to the finest Historic and Classic motor racing in the country for the annual Thruxton Historic from Saturday 17th to 18th June 2023 and the Bennetts British Superbike Championship is on from Friday 11th August to Sunday 13th August 2023. 

An owl with his wings outstretched perches on a tree at the Winter Woodland Lights Hampshire show at The Hawk Conservancy Trust.
Winter Woodland Lights, Hawk Conservancy Trust

When the sun goes down

Looking for magical Hampshire shows to illuminate a grey January? The Hawk Conservancy Trust’s enchanting Winter Woodland Lights near Andover has you covered. This will involve a live owl display with sounds and lights dancing through the branches to help brighten your spirits. This is running from Friday 13th to Sunday 29th January on selected dates, so get your tickets booked now!

Throughout Spring and Autumn, you’ll also be able to see Evening Owls. Stay on top of the Hawk Conservancy Events throughout the year. 

Are you ready to feel the love at the Bombay Sapphire Distillery’s unforgettable Valentine’s Movie Night? From 10th February to 11th February, you’ll be able to have a romantic date night at the movies, with cocktails and snacks included! The Bombay Sapphire Distillery is based at Laverstoke Mill in rural Hampshire, just 15 miles from Winchester. Tickets sell out fast so don’t leave until the last minute!

Shows and festivals

The Isle of Wight Festival (15 – 18 June 2023) is a great event for families. You’ll sing along to headliners Pulp, George Ezra and Robbie Williams; enjoy the dedicated KidZone and fairground where the fun doesn’t stop; and embrace glitter face paint and flower headbands to bring out your inner hippie.

Get in the swing of summer on 28th May for The Brickworks Museum Family Day and Fun Dog Show. So, bring the family and dog along for this annual early summer craft fair!

A huge hit when launched in 2021 and already a favourite with gardeners, BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair will be returning to the Beaulieu event fields from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th April. A great green-fingered day out, with displays, plants for sale, expert gardening advice, BBC Good Food Market and entertainment. 

Don’t miss Winchester’s Hat Fair Festival, Winchester’s family-friendly festival of Street Performance and Outdoor Arts. Dates tbc.

Beaulieu Supercar Weekend on 5th and 6th August will be following in the tyre-tracks of last year’s high octane event, celebrating the high performance side of motoring. Packed with some of the world’s most exciting supercars, this two-day show will see demonstration runs, sound-offs and more crowd-pleasing features.

Educational Hampshire shows

There’s some fantastic educational Hampshire shows in 2023, so you and the family can get learning without compromising fun! Starting with 878 AD, Winchester, experience the historic Winchester brought to life in the year 878 AD, with live performance and real objects. From the thief to the reeve, the soldier to the slave, a wonderful combination of life performance and amazing Anglo-Saxon objects brings the everyday stories of the people of Anglo-Saxon Winchester to life in this new attraction in the heart of the city. Open each day of the week.

A man dressed in medieval costume in the new educational and interactive Hampshire show, 878 AD, playing a horn.
878 AD, Winchester

Bringing science to life

Winchester Science Centre has some exciting Hampshire shows and events to bring the whole family to. Put the following dates in your diary!

In Extreme Weather, an exciting free science show. From 28 January to 9th March, experience live experiments and fascinating facts that will shed light on the unexpected, and often severe, weather we see around the world. This action-packed 20-minute show will take an in-depth look into some of the most crazy weather systems. It’s free with general admission so don’t miss out! 

This year’s Science Lates on 3rd Feb, 7th April, 2nd June, 4th August, 6th October and 1st December are not to be missed at Winchester Science Centre. Explode into the weekend with us with live science and live music. What will you discover after dark? Explore the Science Centre with a drink in hand. Play with the exhibits. Be wowed by awesome science demos. And settle in for an out-of-this-world Planetarium experience. 

Are you ready for a completely unique cinema experience? On 12th Feb, head over to Winchester Science Centre for Starlight Cinema: Back to the Future – Family screening. Grab a seat, sit back and relax as one of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, Back to the Future, plays out under the stars of the Planetarium.

What about a family astro adventure? Then put 14th February or 10th November in your diary for Night Sky Live! Head outside with us and discover the stars and planets of the night sky, live! 

If you’re interested in any of the above, you must be curious about the world of science! Do you have questions that only an expert can help with? Science Explained on 16th March might just have the answer for a science event like no other. Special guest speakers will delve into topics in a light-hearted look at some of science’s most intriguing questions. Do aliens really exist? Is time travel possible? What makes a serial killer? 

Christmas shows 2023 

If you’re looking for things to do in Hampshire at Christmas, check out the following Christmas shows:

Magical outdoor Hampshire shows

The Steam Illuminations show at the Watercress Line is a wonderful light show on and in a steam train. Thousands of fully controllable colour mixing LED light and LED wristbands make this a magical experience. Plus, Christmas music playing along with the lights too! Not to mention, the comical narration from the one and only Voiceover Man, as heard on Britain’s Got Talent and X-Factor! Complete a round trip back to the starting station, departing from either Alredford or Alton, lasting approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. 

For selected dates in December 2023, catch the Evening Owls at The Hawk Conservancy Trust! Experience these mystical birds as they swoop above you in the darkness, over open plains and amongst mysterious woodland. 

Christmas stage shows

Want some Christmas sparkle, magic and fun? Look no further than Aladdin at New Theatre Royal Portsmouth from 8th to 31st December 2023. 

Another not-to-be-missed Christmas Hampshire show? Ashley Banjo and Diversity will be at the Mayflower Theatre in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs pantomime from 9th to 31st December! So, expect an abundance of comedy, sensational song and dance numbers, fabulous costumes and stunning scenery. And get your tickets booked now to avoid disappointment!

MAST Mayflower Studios introduces A Christmas Carol: A Youthful Musical to Raise Your Spirits from 16th to 30th December! is a must-see Hampshire show this year! “Bah! Humbug! What reason have you to be merry?” Here’s a great reason… featuring a cast of 50 young people, this classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and one eventful night comes brilliantly to life in a new fun festive musical that will thrill families next Christmas.

 

So, there you have it… the very best of what’s on in Hampshire this year! And if you’re planning your most epic year yet, you’ll want to check out our blog, Must-see 2023 events and attractions in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight too. 

Which Hampshire shows will you be booking tickets for and putting in the diary? Wishing you a 2023 packed full of fun-filled shows.

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