Rare cabaret marquee makes its dazzling debut in Cardiff Castle

For the first time, the city is hosting three Christmas shows in its historic castle grounds performed in a handmade tent called a Spiegeltent

Rare cabaret marquee from Belgium has opulent drapes and mirrors
The Spiegeltent will take two and half days to construct, with challenges of the historic castle gates being small enough for only lorries and trucks, and two days to deconstruct
Credit: Live Under the Stars facebook 

A new Christmas festival brings three seasonal shows celebrating Welsh creativity under the historic roof of a glamorous cabaret tent, which has travelled from Belgium for the first time.

From the 25 November, the Cardiff Castle Christmas festival, organised by Live Under the Stars entertainment productions, is set in a European Spiegeltent, which it describes as the ultimate cabaret and music salon. 

It is a hand-hewn pavilion used as a travelling dance hall and wine tasting marquee since the early 20th century. “They used to be the number one attraction at Belgian funfairs,” says the organiser.

The Fortuna, the tent coming to this buzzing Christmas festival, is the biggest from Dutch company, Van Rosmalen’s, collection seating an audience of 570. “From every angle you are able to see the thousands of mirrors and coloured glass,” the website says.

People are going to love the tent as much as they are going to love the shows

Richard Perry, co-owner of entertainment company Live Under the Stars described the tent as “really quite special,” saying, “people are going to love the tent as much as they are going to love the shows.”

The 26 diameter Fortuna is made from opulent red and gold velvet brocade, and supported by gold wooden beams, decorated with atmospheric lighting illuminating the circular central stage.

With this festival being the newest addition to other Christmas attractions in Cardiff, Richard said it will compliment what is already in place, as the venue is “intimate and unique.”

The festival begins with The Nutcracker, performed by Rubicon Dance Company as a traditional ballet with a Welsh twist, following a Welsh family living in the valleys. 

Castellanna is another new show, which is an adult, burlesque, cabaret-style show blended with circus acts, comedy and naughtiness.

Santa’s Wish is a new family musical enriched with original songs and circus magic, fitting for its stage.

The special dates:
  • The Nutcracker, 25 – 27 November 2022
  • Castellana, 1 December 2022 – 8 January 2023
  • Santa’s Wish, 2 – 24 December 2022

Richard re-iterated that this festival is “celebrating Welsh creativity,” which he hopes to take beyond Wales, “using this event as a launchpad for the brand-new shows.”