Watching The Snowman On Tour at Durham Cathedral (REVIEW)

Durham Cathedral was the penultimate stop for The Snowman on Tour show in 2017 and we were invited along to review the show.

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral, voted Britain's favourite Cathedral and Britains favourite heritage site last year, has been a place of worship, welcome and hospitality for almost a millennium. Built-in 1093 to house the Shrine of St Cuthbert, Durham Cathedral is renowned for its magnificent Romanesque architecture and spectacular location at the heart of the Durham World Heritage Site. It is also the resting place of the Venerable Bede. It is also one of the filming locations for the first Harry Potter film. It also provided a beautiful location as the 14th venue of The Snowman on Tour 2017.

The Snowman on Tour

The Snowman on Tour is a live, professional orchestra playing the original score along with the film which is shown on a large screen. It brings together some of the top musicians in the country, many of whom are members of The Hallé and the BBC Philharmonic, to play rousing Christmas overtures bringing the beautifully animated Snowman film to life. 

During the 2017 festive period, Carrot Productions took their highly acclaimed Snowman magic to many Cathedrals – including Durham, York Minster, Liverpool, Lichfield, Worcester, Chester and Coventry Cathedrals - as well as the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom and Hull City Hall. In total there were 46 performances in 15 venues for families to enjoy - all sell outs.

Christmas with Tweens

I made a conscious effort to make the most of Christmas opportunities this year, because as my boys are now 8 & 10, I'm not sure how many Santa and Christmas experiences they will be happy to go to in the future. However, I love the snowman, and I love watching it with my boys so was very pleased to be invited to review The Snowman on Tour when it came to Durham in 2017.

The Snowman on Tour in Durham

Durham looked absolutely beautiful as we walked along the river wear and up to the was of the cathedral and castle. There were plenty of snowmen being built on palace green too, as we had arrived in the snow. Yes, I hadn't been expecting to be building snowmen in the day we were going to watching it.

On arrival at the venue, there were plenty of people and signs there to point us in the right direction. We headed for a quick toilet stop which is next to the shop, cafe and Lego cathedral and then back to our seats.

Tickets are allocated in a section rather than in a particular seat. We were sat towards the back of the front nave but had no trouble finding seats so that we could all sit together, and our view of the big screen was fine.

First of all, there is a Christmas Overture, then the Snowman Express with an animation introducing then different instruments in an orchestra. 

We were then treated to a performance of The Nutcracker Suite by Russian Composer, Tchaikovsky, again with animation on the big screen. 

I realised I knew all of the pieces, including The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, March of the Toy Soldiers and The Waltz of the Flowers, many from adverts, but hadn't realised they all were part of The Nutcracker. Now I really want to see the whole ballet. After this a Snowman appeared, walking through the audience to the delight of many of the younger members, then it was time for The Snowman on screen.

The Snowman film was screened on the big screen as the orchestra played along live. It really was lovely to watch and listen.The Raymond Briggs classic animation was released 35 years ago, but it still has all of the charm, enchantment and magic for me that it had when I was little. At Durham, some of the UK's top musicians performed Howard Blake's beautiful soundtrack - including the evocative 'Walking in the Air' which was sung by a local child soloist - in perfect synchronicity with the film shown on a giant screen. 

It is a beautiful setting. It would have been good to have the orchestra elevated so that the audience could see them playing, the sound for the music was excellent but the words spoken to introduce the snowman express were not that audible, but other than that it was a great event.

It was a lovely afternoon out during Christmas and new year and one I'm very pleased to have been able to do before the boys get too old. There were three sold-out performances at Durham, and the popularity was the same at all the other venues too. 

Tickets for The Snowman on Tour in 2018 will be announced in the Spring - you can subscribe to keep up to date with all Snowman news.

I really hope it returns to Durham Cathedral in 2018 as it was a great experience.

Have you watched The Snowman this Christmas?

Deb x

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  1. Ahh I love The Snowman! What a venue and what a day for it! Sounds fab. x

  2. I'm so gutted that I missed this I'll have to keep a look out in Spring for this year! Katie x