What is there do across East Anglia this weekend? Christmas Markets, a visit from Spooks’ star Mirana Raison and the Rat Pack Live

Actress Miranda Raison stops by Aldeburgh Cinema.

Actress Miranda Raison stops by Aldeburgh Cinema. - Credit: Archant

Looking for something to do this weekend? Here are some ideas. For more days out suggestions, see our packed Event guide in the paper every Friday or check out @WhatsonWayne on Twitter.

Lots to do at Snape Maltings

Lots to do at Snape Maltings - Credit: Archant

Spooks’ star Miranda Raison drops by Aldeburgh Cinema this Sunday.

The actress - who’s also appeared in Single Married Other, Woody Allen’s Matchpoint, Vexed and more - plays Hermione in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s production of The Winter’s Tale at 3pm. She will be in conversation live on stage at the cinema on the day.

Shakespeare’s timeless tragi-comedy of obsession and redemption has been re-imagined in a new production co-directed by Rob Ashford and Branagh. The cast also includes the latter as Leontes and Judi Dench as Paulina.

There’s plenty going on just down the road at Snape Maltings, where Christmas will be in full swing.

Woodbridge Festive Market

Woodbridge Festive Market - Credit: Archant


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Alice in Wonderland - the annual Christmas Spectacular from the Co-op Juniors Theatre Company - continues to Sunday and Father Christmas himself will be arriving by Thames sailing barge that day too.

Aldeburgh Music and Snape Maltings are also launching a new arts and retail weekend from December 18-20. There will lots for families to do with a host of free events and activities.

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These include a Christmas farmer’s market, decoration-making workshops, a Christmas message tree, carol singers and pop-up performances around the site plus a chance to have a go at conducting a brass band, a festive floral demonstration, storytelling sessions, the 1,000 Suffolk Stars exhibition by Suffolk schoolchildren and a site trail with a chocolatey prize for children who solve the puzzle.

There will also be an event in Snape Maltings Concert Hall each day of the weekend. On December 18 the John Wilson Orchestra play Christmas songs from Hollywood movies. The next day Aldeburgh Voices, fellows of the National Youth Choir and The Suffolk Ensemble, perform an early evening concert of Christmas music by Bach. At 3pm on the Sunday everyone is invited to join in Sing Christmas, a rousing family-friendly weekend finale with a mix of traditional carols and classic Christmas hits.

Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome Spectacular

Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome Spectacular - Credit: Archant

Along the A12 this Saturday, the Woodbridge Festive Market takes over the town’s Market Hill and inside the Shire Hall.

Running from 9.30am-4pm, there will be more than 50 traders setting up their stalls around the town’s traditional Christmas tree - selling eveything from vintage finds, fashion and jewellery to artworks, decorations and crafts.

Tim Clover of Deben Events, organisers of the market, says: “The Woodbridge Festive Market is the place to come for some Christmas shopping with a difference. We’ve got talented local designers and artisans, one-off gift ideas, a very festive setting and a relaxed atmosphere.”

Worth the trek is the 15th annual Hippodrome Christmas Spectacular at Great Yarmouth.

The Locrian Ensemble

The Locrian Ensemble - Credit: Archant

Tom Gaskin, born in Bradwell, returns after an amazing and at times surreal rise from spotlight operator at the circus to international catwalk model and juggling star.

“I have always loved the circus and my family has been involved for many years with touring shows. I remember spending my summer holidays hanging out at the Hippodrome because a friend worked there, the next year I was offered a job on the spotlight and it went from there really.”

Over the next few years he held various roles there, from candy floss vendor to lighting engineer; eventually becoming stage manager.

“As stage manager I had full responsibility of the running of the backstage and of cause the legendary 112-year-old water spectacular, something which gave me a huge amount of pride.”

It was here Gaskin developed an appetite for performing and it wasn’t long before he was involved in the various comedy routines of the shows. This inspired him to join the National Centre for Circus Arts where he trained for three years perfecting his old school, gentleman juggler routine.

While on the streets of London during his studying, he was scouted by a top modelling agency and has worked all over the world for some of the biggest names in the business including Alexander McQueen, Hermes, Gucci, Pringle, Thom Brown.

He joins the cast of the Christmas Spectacular directly from two months modeling in Japan, walking the runway at Tokyo Fashion Week.

“Arriving home and seeing my picture up on the Hippodrome’s poster is so exciting. It’s something I’ve worked so hard for,” says Gaskin, who will headline this special 15th anniversary show alongside host and Hippodrome producer Jack Jay.

“Being a circus performer is in my blood and to finally be able to come back and headline a show at the place where my love for this all began is truly amazing.”

To celebrate the anniversary, the Hippodrome has brought together an array of artistes from the last few years in one show.

There will be a light show, balancing acts, juggling, the wheel of death, fire-eating and a trapeze sequence over the famous water spectacle. Expect dancers, swimmers, acrobats and more too. The spectacular - which also features dancers, swimmers, acrobats and more - begins its long run tomorrow.

If it’s a spot of music you’re after, the Rat Pack Live stop by Felixstowe’s newly reopened Spa Pavilion on Sunday.

Mark Halliday has performed as Dean Martin in London’s West End and international touring productions. He’s also spent two years in America creating the role of Hades in Disney’s new musical Hercules and has lead appearances in touring hits like Girls Night Out and Aspects of Love under his belt.

“He carries off Dino’s stage presence to a tee,” says show producer Michael Taylor. “Spirit glass in one hand, microphone in the other, he captures Martin’s polished irreverence on beautifully-performed songs like Ain’t That a Kick in the Head, Mambo Italiano and That’s Amore.”

Tam Ward has played Frank Sinatra in London’s West End America while Darren Charles has starred as Sammy Davis Jnr in the West End for four years and appeared in world tours of hit stage shows including Five Guys Named Moe.

Feeling especially Christmassy? Then Carols by Candlelight with The Locrian Ensemble is for you.

The group have a host of TV and film credits under their belt and recently topped the classical charts with Debbie Wiseman’s BBC TV score of Wolf Hall.

They will perform festive favourites including carols, string medleys of familiar Christmas tunes and seasonal surprises at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, on December 15.

Joining them is Jill Washington, West End star soprano of Phantom of the Opera, who sings songs from Handel’s Messiah to White Christmas, the 12 Days of Christmas and Walking in the Air.

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