A WORLD premiere opens the new season at The Mayflower theatre this week as Robin Cousins’ Ice – The Skating Stage Experience takes to the stage.

Olympic champion and head judge on ITV’s Dancing On Ice, Robin Cousins has handpicked the greatest ice skaters from around the globe to bring his incredible new production to life from Thursday to Sunday.

Much-loved children’s classic The Snowman then celebrates the 21st anniversary of the live stage version of Raymond Briggs’s spellbinding story.

Sparkling with charm and wit, it tells the magical story of a young boy’s adventures when his snowman comes miraculously to life on Christmas Eve.

In Southampton from January 21 to 25, the show features dancing penguins, magical reindeer, a beautiful snow princess and her abominable beau Jack Frost.

Legendary entertainer Barry Humphries, whose alter egos including Dame Edna Everage have brought him international acclaim, is in town as part of his farewell tour of the UK.

Eat Pray Laugh will play from January 28 to February 2.

International best-selling crime thriller novelist Peter James – who has sold more than 15 million books of his Roy Grace series and been published in 36 languages – is to have his work adapted for the stage for the very first time. The Perfect Murder, which spent 15 weeks at No.1 in the book charts, has been adapted by award winning writer Shaun McKenna and will run from February 4 to 8, starring Les Dennis and Claire Goose.

Happy Days – A New Musical follows from February 11 to 15. West End leading man and Emmerdale star Ben Freeman takes the iconic role of The Fonz in the UK premiere and national tour alongside former Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker as Mrs Cunningham and Heidi Range of Sugababes fame.

The National Theatre’s acclaimed production of War Horse arrives for a four week run from February 19 to March 15. With only limited tickets available, the show is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the British in the First World War. A remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, War Horse features ground-breaking puppetry work, which brings breathing and galloping horses to life on stage.

Welsh National Opera bring Fallen Women to the heart of the Spring Season. The three operas in the season are La Traviata (Verdi) on March 18 and 22, Manon Lescaut (Puccini) on March 19 and 21 and Boulevard Solitude (Henze) on March 20. They follow the stories of three women whose different paths in life lead them astray.

Matthew Bourne’s multi award-winning hit Swan Lake runs from March 25 to 29.

Collecting over 30 international theatre awards including three Tony Awards, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake has been acclaimed as a landmark achievement on the international stage. It has become the longest running ballet in the West End and Broadway and enjoyed five successful tours in the UK and thrilled audiences all over the world.

Experience the drama, pas-sion and excitement as a cast of phenomenally talented actors and musicians tell Buddy Holly’s story, from his meteoric rise to fame, to his final legendary performance at The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. The multi award winning West End show Buddy – the Buddy Holly Story is coming to the Mayflower from April 31 to May 5.

Derren Brown brings his new show Infamous from April 7 to 12. The show promises to demonstrate once again why Derren is one of the world’s most renowned live performers; a dark manipulator of magic and mind control.

It is time to prepare yourselves for Horrible Histories live on stage with Barmy Britain direct from the West End, and running from May 16 to 19. Escape the clutches of Burke and Hare, dare to dance the Tyburn jig, move to the groove with party Queen Victoria and prepare to do battle in the frightful First World War!

The legendary West Side Story, which is set on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and explores the rivalry between two teenage gangs, runs from April 22 to May 3.

West Side Story changed the course of musical theatre when it opened on Broadway in 1957 and it still remains one of the most successful stage shows of all time.

The blockbusting year continues with the return of Dirty Dancing for a four-week run from June 10 to 28. Then the biggest show in the world – Disney’s The Lion King – takes residence for a nine-week run from July 11.