We went to see Where’s Santa’s Hat? at the Theatre Royal Christmas Cabin, in Bury St Edmunds, and found a show full of festive warmth
Where is Santa‘s hat? That is the burning question in Bury St Edmunds this Christmas season as the Theatre Royal’s Christmas cabin opens its doors for a second year.
Following 2022’s success, the arc Shopping Centre is once again hosting the rustic wooden cabin, where Father Christmas and his trusty elf Alva are hosting a new festive adventure for the youngsters of West Suffolk, aimed at children aged two-seven.
Where’s Santa’s Hat? opened this weekend and I went along with my daughter, Clara, on Saturday afternoon. Aged seven, Clara is at the upper end of the recommended age bracket but she was desperate to see the new show – she enjoyed it so much last year that we went twice.
The Christmas cabin can be found in the heart of the centre, near Wagamama, Costa and Pandora. Its exterior is clad with fairy lights and eye-catching visuals, while all visitors are greeted by volunteers and staff.
When it was time for our 3pm performance Alva the elf greeted us at the door and welcomed us into the cosy wooden cabin.
Inside are benches with cushions and blankets (for the grown-ups) and stools (for the younger visitors).
A fireplace complete with roaring fire sits in the corner, while the cabin’s walls are lined with books and clocks set to various world times.
Once we were all comfortable Alva flopped into Santa’s armchair and described an amazing adventure she had experienced with her woodland friends at the cabin, playing hide and seek in preparation for the Boxing Day hide and seek world championship. This revelation sparked great excitement with Clara, who fancies herself as a bit of hide and seek champion.
However, during Alva’s hide and seek adventure a host of Santa’s precious – and magical – possessions had become mislaid. Alva needed our help to find them before Santa arrived in the cabin.
Despite Alva managing a quick tidy-up, soon a jovial Santa had joined us in the cabin and wanted to know where his favourite things were. Most importantly: His hat.
Without his magic hat, Santa said he would not be able to deliver presents to the children of West Suffolk and the world on Christmas Eve.
So, with plenty of joyous audience participation – and with ‘a one, a two, atchoo, atchoo’ – we all pitched in with Santa and Alva to find everything which had been mislaid.
Now, we cannot give too much away because we don’t want to ruin the surprises hidden within the cabin, but the glorious tale written by Hatty Ashton (who played Alva last year) includes lots of nutcrackers, sugarplum fairies and Christmas jokes aplenty, as well as a generous portion of warmth and heart.
Suffice to say, we eventually found the missing piece magical attire – as well as some very smelly socks.
Every child was given a little gift as a token of their involvement in saving Christmas before returning to the bustling town centre, all set for the festive season.
All ages can enjoy the 20-minute adventure, which truly was a delight. And with ticket prices a reasonable £6 each (Friday tickets £4), Where’s Santa’s Hat is a budget-friendly (and highly recommended) festive treat for children.
Book tickets at www.theatreroyal.org
The morning after our trip I asked Clara what she thought of the show.
“Really good,” she said (high praise from my seven-year-old). “When can we go again?”
It looks like we will be returning to the Christmas Cabin before December 25 – I had best book some Friday tickets now before they are all snapped up.