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NEW YEAR

EDINBURGH’S HOGMANAY

WELCOME to The Guide Hogmanay Special, your at a glance guide to the Capital’s New Year celebrations.

It’s almost a full two decades since Edinburgh’s Hogmanay was unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Over its 19 years, the event has evolved to become the world’s favourite New Year celebration and the welcome prepared for 2012 is sure to cement that reputation further.

The fun kicks off tomorrow when 6500 people are expected to carry a torch in the now obligatory Torchlight Procession, which this year will be led by 17 Lerwick Up Helly Aa vikings and five pipe bands – that’s more than 100 pipers and drummers. An additional 20,000 spectators are expected to enjoy the procession and the Son et Lumière Display which follows on Calton Hill.

The celebrations continue on New Year’s Eve when 80,000 revellers are set to sing The World’s Largest Auld Lang Syne at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party. Participants will come from as far as Australia, Qatar, Peru, Bahrain, Malta, New Zealand, Botswana, Taiwan, and Trinidad and Tobago.

A total of 24 acts will perform on the Street Party’s seven stages, while this year’s Concert in the Gardens and outdoor Keilidh will see 3000 people birl their way through the bells. Those who can’t get into the Gardens can watch the action unfold on any one of eight giant screens in and around Princes Street. Of course, the highlight of the night will be the count down to midnight and the start of a new year.

With pictures being broadcast to more than a billion people in 150 countries, the event is a massive job for organisers who have had to source 250 temporary toilets, 11,686 metres of fencing, 20 miles of cable and 50 temporary generators.

As the bells chime midnight, 5.5 tonnes of fireworks will be launched into the night sky to ensure that everyone has a happy new year.

PANTOS

CINDERELLA / ALADDIN

KIDS still on holidays? Need somewhere to take them? Well there’s still a chance to catch a panto.

At the King’s, Paul Elliott’s tenth panto for the Old Lady of Leven Street finds Andy Gray, also celebrating a decade of pantos at the theatre, donning the bell-boy costume of Buttons in Cinderella. Joining him on stage is resident King’s dame Allan Stewart and Grant Stott and Ross Marshall as the Ugly Sisters.

Catch performances today, tomorrow, Monday and Wednesday at 2pm and 7pm, and on Hogmanay at 1pm and 5pm.

Meanwhile, over at the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh, there’s still a chance to see my very own Aladdin. In ancient Peking, in the little-known Scottish enclave of Musselburgh, only one boy can help the evil Abanazar find the magic lamp that will make him the most powerful warlock in the world. That boy is Aladdin. However, Aladdin couldn’t care less about such things; he only has eyes for the beautiful Thistle Blossom, the bonniest lass in the land.

Will Aladdin realise the danger that Abanazar poses? And will he be able to save the family steamie? With Colin Carr as Widow Twankey and Scott Hoatson as Wishee Washee. Performances today, tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday at 2pm and 7.30pm and Hogmanay at 1pm and 5pm.

Cinderella, King’s Theatre, until January 22, £15-£24.50, 0131-529 6000

Aladdin, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, until January 7, £13.75-£16, 0131-665 2240

WIN

WE WILL ROCK YOU

OVER at the Playhouse, Noel Sullivan, Ashley J Russell, Rhydian and Edinburgh’s Jenny Douglas enter the home straight of their six-week run.

The Guide has teamed up with the Edinburgh Playhouse to give you the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the 7.30pm show on January 4.

To enter, e-mail your name, age and address to theguide@edinburghnews.com with the word ROCK in the subject line. Entries to be received by midnight on Sunday. Editor’s decision is final. Usual Johnston Press rules apply.

We Will Rock You, Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, until January 7, £17-£43.50, 0844-871 3014