Bringing Festive Derby to you at home

Published: 11 December 2020

Mother and child at Christmas market

Festive Derby

Two live performances that were planned for the River Gardens for Festive Derby are moving online following the announcement regarding Tier 3 restrictions in Derby and Derbyshire.

Audiences will now be able to enjoy The Lost Boys’ adaptation of A Christmas Carol, and Sinfonia Viva’s Christmas brass quintet performing with Derby Cathedral Choir, from the comfort of their own homes. The shows were due to go ahead in a heated marquee from Thursday 17th December, but cannot go ahead in front of a live audience due to the continued uncertainty about future COVID restrictions in Derby.

Both acts will be filmed and recorded in the coming days by the same Derby LIVE technical team who successfully brought Derby Folk Festival at Home to audiences earlier this year, and interwove footage of last year’s Darley Park Concert with new filming for the At Home version, broadcast on BBC Radio Derby and screened online in the summer.

If you have already bought a ticket for A Christmas Carol or Sinfonia Viva, Derby LIVE will be in touch with you. You will be able to switch your ticket from the live performance to the digital version, at the new price of £17.50, and receive a partial refund. Full refunds will also be available.

Tickets for the online shows are on sale now. Performances will be available to watch from Wednesday 23rd December to Saturday 2nd January, and once you’ve bought your ticket, you can watch as many times as you like by logging onto If you’d like to buy a ticket as a gift, the best way is to buy and send a Gift Voucher. To book tickets go to

Sadly the joint decision has been made with the Salvation Army to cancel the performance by The Salvation Army Brass Sextet which was due to take place in the River Gardens marquee on Sunday 20th December. We explored alternative spaces around the city centre such as the Festive Market but were unable to go ahead as we could not guarantee being able to limit the number of shoppers gathering to watch.

Councillor Robin Wood, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said:

While I’m disappointed that audiences will not have the live performance experience, I’m pleased that we have the technical expertise to be able to offer viewers something to enjoy in the warmth and comfort of their own homes over the whole Christmas holiday period and into the New Year.

Being able to ensure the safety of visitors has always been our priority, and while we planned Festive Derby to be as COVID-secure as possible we appreciated the risk involved in planning live performances, which is why we’ve been able to respond quickly now. I hope viewers will be able to support The Lost Boys and Sinfonia Viva, who have brought so much to Derby audiences over the years.

While live performances of Elf Encounter by Babbling Vagabonds have been able to go ahead in the Market Place because the 15-min show has an audience of one household and/or bubble at a time, a digital version, Elf Encounter at Home, has also been filmed to be made available to anyone who cannot get their preferred date, or who does not want to come into the city centre. You can also buy a discounted ticket for the online version as an extra to the live show and take an elf home with you!

Tickets for the live Elf Encounter are £12 for up to 3 people, and £24 for up to 6 people (all ages), with Elf Encounter at Home available for just £6 when you book it at the same time. The standard price for Elf Encounter at Home is £12, to watch as many times you like until Saturday 2nd January.

The live shows for Elf Encounter run until Wednesday 23rd December, and while the weekends have sold out, there is still some availability during the week. BSL signed performances, where the signer will appear live via a video link, are available Sunday 20th December, although at the time of going to press there are just two shows left. Audio description is available for all performances, and all shows can be made relaxed according to your family’s needs.

Captioning will also be available on all our digital shows, A Christmas Carol at Home, Sinfonia Viva Christmas Brass Quintet at Home, and Elf Encounter at Home. For more information about all shows, and to book, go to

Derby Theatre, one of Derby City Council’s partners in Festive Derby, are also screening online performances of their Christmas show, The Little Mermaid. For more information and to book see

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