The festive season is finally set to arrive in Teesside this weekend as one town prepares to light up the night with a twinkly Christmas lights switch on.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Middlesbrough as the official festive light switch-on will take place in Centre Square on Sunday, November 19.

The stars of the Cinderella panto at Middlesbrough Theatre, which includes Middlesbrough’s own Amelia Lily, will join BBC Radio Tees presenter Gary Philipson to switch on the lights at 5.30pm.

The Northern Echo: Christmas events in Middlesbrough.Christmas events in Middlesbrough. (Image: DAVE CHARNLEY)

During the Switch On, Middlesbrough will be giving a ‘One Big Boro Thank You’ to those special people within the local community who have made a real difference and nominations can be submitted here:

The night before the big switch on (November 18), families have been encouraged to wrap up warm and come along to a free screening of the Christmas movie Elf in Centre Square.

Councillor Philippa Storey, Middlesbrough’s Deputy Mayor and Executive member for Culture & Education, said: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we’re encouraging everyone to join in with the festivities in the town centre.

“We’ve got a fantastic line-up of events and there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

“The Christmas Lights Switch On is always popular with families and we’ve got the new edition of A Festive Night at the Movies to truly get people into the Christmas spirit!” 

Here’s the full itinerary of activities lined up on Sunday:

  • Noon – 6pm: Throughout the event, grab a festive photo opportunity within the giant snow globe in Centre Square and local artist, Adele Catchpole will be leading free family-friendly lantern making workshops.
  • Noon: Live performances from professional vocal acts and community groups including North East Opera, One Voice Choir, Easterside Primary School and Middlesbrough Town Hall’s performing arts group.
  • 3pm and 5.45pm: Live performances from The Urban Kaos Groove Mission who’ll be bringing their pop up dance party to Centre Square featuring Christmas floor fillers.
  • 4.15pm: Apollo Arts will lead community groups and choirs in The Big Sing.
  • 4.35pm: Flashmob performance.
  • 4.50pm: The MFC Foundation and Rory the Lion will lead a 5 minute keep fit session.
  • 5.00pm: Panto star, Amelia Lily will perform live.


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  • 5.15pm: BBC Tees’ Gary Philipson will host ‘Games with Gary’ 5.25pm: Ahead of the switch on, Gary chats to pantomime starts, Philip Green (Buttons) and Amelia Lilly (Fairy Godmother) about the upcoming show at Middlesbrough Theatre.
  • 5.30pm: Christmas light officially switched on.
  • 5.45pm: The Funk Collective will be performing live with their take on some Christmas classic tracks.
  • 6:30pm: Event finishes.