The history of pantomime FEATURE



The Pantomime season is upon us - Oh, no it's not! Oh, yes it is! - and BritEvents looks at the history of pantomime, the traditions behind it and some of the best shows around Britain this winter.


The history of pantomime


By Lucy Middleton
BritEvents.com

Quintessentially British, the origins of pantomime date right back to the middle ages, drawing inspiration from the traditions of the Italian "Commedia dell'Arte" comedy shows and Greek morality plays.

Over the centuries, pantomime (panto) has been adapted in order to stay successful throughout the years, though there are recurrent themes that remain unchanged.

Traditions in Pantomime

Pantomime is predominantly based on fairy tale or folk legend, with the most popular stories being Cinderella, Aladdin, Dick Whittington and Jack & the Beanstalk. As tradition dictates, it is crucial for the panto to have a strong storyline, with good battling against evil and ultimately defeating the 'baddies'.

Dating back to the medieval morality plays, the entrance to hell was stage left and the entrance to heaven was stage right, and to this day panto villains enter the stage first from stage left, followed by their adversary from stage right.

A pantomime dame is another show tradition, a continuation of en travesti portrayal of female roles played by male actors in drag. They are larger-than-life characters with big make up and hair, and are often part of the slapstick element of panto.

Other conventions include risqué double entendre and audience participation such as calls of "He's behind you!" and being encouraged to boo the the villain which are now synonymous with panto performances and all part of the charm.

Pantos to look out for in Britain 2011

Dick Whittington, King George's Hall, Blackburn

The folk tale of Dick Whittington is an interesting and amusing tale of a boy's journey from rags to riches thanks to his ratting cat. The tale is a popular story for pantomimes and promises to be fantastic fun for all the family. You can buy King George's Hall Dick Whittington pantomime tickets online safely and securely through BritEvents for a night to remember.


Alice in Wonderland, Citadel Arts Centre, Merseyside

The Alice in Wonderland pantomime at Citadel Arts Centre in Merseyside transports the audience to a weird and wondrous land in which our young protagonist Alice has to navigate through to find her way home. Featuring your favourite characters including the Cheshire Cat, The Mad Hatter and The Queen of Hearts, this panto will be a great Christmas event for all the family.


Sleeping Beauty, Carnegie Theatre, Workington, Cumbria

The Sleeping Beauty pantomime at Carnegie Theatre in Cumbria tells an enchanting tale of a beautiful princess who falls into a deep sleep after having an evil spell cast upon her by a wicked fairy. Will her prince love be able to wake her with true love's kiss? This production is guaranteed to leave its audience spellbound.


Jack and the Beanstalk, The Broadway Theatre, Catford, London

A pantomime kingdom of creative choreography, fun and frivolity await audiences at the Jack and the Beanstalk Broadway pantomime, where the folklore legend Jack embarks on an epic journey after he is given magic beans by an old man. When these magic beans are accidentally planted, who knows what creatures lie at the top of the beanstalk?


Sinbad the Sailor, Pontefract Town Hall, Pontefract, Yorkshire

Hoist the sails and shiver me timbers with Sinbad the Sailor pantomime performed at Pontefract Town Hall in Yorkshire, where Sinbad the sailor sets off on his 8th voyage on the seven seas. A pantomime packed full of adventure, laughter and nautical tunes yarr, me hearties!


22
NOV
Oedipuss In Boots
The Wardrobe Theatre

As lightning cracks at the summit of Mount Olympus, the royal kitten Oedipuss is cursed with the prophecy of killing his father and marrying his mother. Outcast, this brave puss must go on an incredible adventure of self discovery, encountering crooks and…

Location: Bristol

08
DEC
Cinderella
Venue Cymru

You shall go to the ball this festive season in this year's spectacular Venue Cymru pantomime, Cinderella, brought to you by Qdos Entertainment, the team behind North Wales' biggest festive production. Packed with all of the traditional pantomime ingredients Llandudno audiences expect,…

Location: Llandudno

12
OCT
Snow White & the Seven Ugly B*****ds 18+
Babbacombe Theatre

A PANTOMIME FOR ADULTS ONLYJoin us for some rude, crude, fun and frolics, as Dickey enrols in Prince School in a bid to get his girl Add some horrible dwarfs, an ugly old evil queen, and a couple of scantily dressed…

Location: Torquay

14
DEC
Aladdin
Cliffs Pavilion

Ticket sales are breaking all recordsHop aboard your magic carpet and fly to old Peking to enjoy this mustsee show packed full of magical genies, laughoutload comedy, spectacular flying effects and a lampfull of audience participation.Tickets are selling incredibly quickly this year…

Location: Southend on Sea

28
SEP
Aladdinsane - The Sound & Vision Of Bowie
Touchline Live Music

In the words of theatre goers across the UK, Pauls vocals and theatrical movements reflect Bowies with disturbing accuracy. Whether portraying the 70s era Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke or Bowies 80s90s songs in this totally live show, many who have…

Location: Hockley

07
DEC
Aladdin After Dark
The Princess Royal Theatre

Not for the faint heartedJermin Productions return to The Princess Royal Theatre but this time they are bringing their brand new very funny ADULT ONLY PANTOMIME Suitable for ages 18…

Location: Port Talbot

30
NOV
Aladdin Pantomime 2018
The Princess Royal Theatre

Jump aboard our highflying carpet this Christmas and join Jermin Productions on their most magical adventure yet Offering the exotic delights of their 2018 production ALADDIN, Jermin Productions will once again be returning to the Princess Royal Theatre in Port TalbotPerformances as…

Location: Port Talbot

22
DEC
Pantomime Time! Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs
Subscription Rooms

Thats Entertainment Productions return again this Christmas with the loveliest Panto of all as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs arrives at the Subscription Rooms for the preChristmas season. With a brilliant star cast, including ITVs hilarious Britains Got Talent finalist Drew…

Location: Stroud

21
DEC
Pantomime Time! Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Subscription Rooms

£15 concs Family of 4: £50.50 Thats Entertainment Productions return again this Christmas with the loveliest Panto of all as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs arrives at the Subscription Rooms for the preChristmas season. With a brilliant star cast, including ITVs…

Location: Stroud

22
DEC
It's Pantomime Time! Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs
Subscription Rooms

Thats Entertainment Productions return again this Christmas with the loveliest Panto of all as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs arrives at the Subscription Rooms for the preChristmas season. With a brilliant star cast, including ITVs hilarious Britains Got Talent finalist Drew…

Location: Stroud

12
DEC
Peter Pan
Titchfield Festival Theatre

The fantasy world of Peter Pan and his adventures with Wendy in Neverland has enchanted families for more than a century, since its first performance in 1904. The play contains so many rich and colourful characters which we will remember from our…

Location: Fareham

13
DEC
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
The Anvil

When the Wicked Queens magic mirror declares that Snow White is the fairest in all the land, the evil Queen wants her out of the way. Snow White escapes to the forest where she meets seven little friends. But the…

Location: Basingstoke

07
DEC
Jack and the Beanstalk
The Playhouse Theatre

Dame Tilly Trott is the proprietor of Tilly Trotts Circus but times are hard. Giant Blunderbore and his horrible wife insisted on sending their henchman Fleshcreep to the village of Much Piddling in the Marsh to collect the taxes and…

Location: Preston

04
NOV
Beauty and the Beast Ballet at Blackpool Grand The
Grand Theatre

Inspired by the original tale, this production tells the story of Belle, a beautiful and intelligent young woman who feels out of place in her provincial French village. When her father is imprisoned in a mysterious castle, Belles attempt to rescue him…

Location: Blackpool

07
DEC
Beauty and the Beast Pantomime at Blackpool Grand
Grand Theatre

The Grand is delighted to announce this years cast includes Danny Walters EastEnders, Benidorm, World War and Call The Midwife who will star as The Prince Beast, Hayley Kay as the beautiful Fairy Bon Bon and Nick Wilton as Polly La Plonk…

Location: Blackpool

11
JAN
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - Pantomime
Concordia Theatre

A fantastic mix of exciting song and dance, stunning costumes and scenery together with fast moving comedy. Join us all for a tale as old as time.Script by John Hill and Alan P FraynPlease note Panto performed Wednesday through Sunday. …

Location: Hinckley

05
DEC
Cinderella - Bourne's 2018 Pantomime
Bourne Corn Exchange

Following last years fabulous success of Beauty and the Beast at the Bourne Corn Exchange, South Kesteven Acting and Musical Players now present CINDERELLA.This fun and magical production of the classic ragstoriches tale will be transformed into an enchanting family pantomime with…

Location: Bourne

09
DEC
Beauty and the Beast - BALLET THEATRE UK
Stamford Corn Exchange Theatre

Inspired by the original tale, this production tells the story of Belle, a beautiful and intelligent young woman who feels out of place in her provincial French village. When her father is imprisoned in a mysterious castle, Belles attempt to rescue him…

Location: Stamford

01
DEC
Sleeping Beauty
Theatre Royal Stratford East

Theatre Royal Stratford goes Far East for a brand new festive adventureSleeping Beauty has been in a deep sleep for a hundred years... but wakes to find herself in a strange city with a cruel fairy hot on her heels...Expect our much…

Location: Stratford

16
DEC
Aladdin Singalong
Archer Street Clapham

It's A Whole New World and Archer Street is bringing Arabian Nights to ClaphamBring your children to meet the Legend Of The Lamp on Sunday, 16th December from 1pm to 4pm. On This Dark Night or afternoon, Prince Ali and our talented…

Location: Greater London

05
JAN
"Aladdin" Pantomime
The Centre, New Eltham Methodist Church

It's Panto time once again and this year we will be putting on the classic pantomime Aladdin. There will be plenty of laughs and audience participation, together with a magic mangle with a mind of its own, the mystical cave of wonders…

Location: London

01
DEC
Cinderella Ashputtel
Half Moon Theatre

She had no bed to lie down on, but was made to lie by the hearth among the ashes; and then, as she was of course always dusty and dirty, they called her Ashputtel. The Brothers GrimmCinderella Ashputtel is a onewoman show…

Location: London

23
OCT
Aladdin- Open Readthrough
The Centre, New Eltham Methodist Church

We will be having an open first readthrough for our Panto in January, which this year is AladdinPrincipal parts will have already been cast by our readthrough date so there will be no principal parts available but for anyone interested in being…

Location: London

22
NOV
Snow White, Rose Red and Bear Brown
Half Moon Theatre

Snow White and Rose Red sisters, twins, best friends have lived in the forest since they were babes in the wood. Not as worldly wise as their Mother would have liked, they are nonetheless kind, caring and sometimes a little…

Location: London

15
DEC
The HillPlayers present "Cinderella",
Ryan Theatre

Cinderella lives a life of drudgery, bullied by her horrible Ugly Sisters and Evil Stepmother, her only comfort is her pal ButtonsMeanwhile, across town in the castle, the King and Queen are determined that their son the Prince should find a suitable…

Location: Harrow on the Hill

12
AUG
Peter Pan Summer Takeover on The Golden Hinde
The Golden Hinde

Peter Pan and his friends will be transforming The Golden Hinde ship into the magical world of Neverland when they visit this summer. Experience the classic story with exciting performances and fun activities taking place throughout the day. Train to be pirates…

Location: Tower Hill

10
AUG
Absolute Bowie: 45th Anniversary of Aladdin Sane
The Half Moon

.There will only ever be one David Bowie, he was unique in every way and an inspiration to millions. Absolute Bowie, Europe's Finest David Bowie Tribute continue to celebrate the life and music of the Starman uniting Bowie fans across the UK.This…

Location: London

20
OCT
Absolute Bowie: 45th Anniversary of Aladdin Sane L
The Half Moon

Winners of the Best Bowie Tribute and Best Overall Tribute in the UK at the Agents Association of Great Britain Awards July 2018.There will only ever be one David Bowie, he was unique in every way and an inspiration to millions. Absolute…

Location: London

17
NOV
The Snow Queen
The Citadel

Kai and Gerda had been friends for as long as they could remember,Day followed day,Always the same,Until In a whirl of magic and deception, splinters of a magical broken mirror blow in the wind, freezing hearts and changing everythingAs Kai is pulled…

Location: St Helens

26
JAN
Aladdinsane (UK’s No 1 Bowie Tribute)
The Citadel

Citadel favourites, Aladdinsane return to once again pay tribute to the legend David Bowie.David Bowie, the legend, through his timeless music and many incarnations; from Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke, into the 80s and beyond. Hear the sound and experience…

Location: St Helens

28
DEC
Dick Whittington
Monmouth Savoy Theatre

Spontaneous Productions bring you another funpacked pantomime. But if you thought you knew Dick Whittington, think again because this version is very much The Cats Tale. So we have a talking cat, dancing rats and the usual songs, jokes and spectacle. Grab…

Location: Monmouth

19
DEC
Dick Whittington: Relaxed Performance
Monmouth Savoy Theatre

But if you thought you knew Dick Whittington, think again because this version is very much The Cats Tale. So we have a talking cat, dancing rats and the usual songs, jokes and spectacle. Grab a popcorn and ice cream and enjoy…

Location: Monmouth

01
DEC
Creation Theatre: Peter Pan
The North Wall Arts Centre

A shadow at the window, a sprinkling of fairy dust and then straight on till morning; the Darling children are off on an adventure. Can Peter Pan lead the Lost Boys to victory, or will Hook win NeverlandThis winter, pull up a…

Location: Oxford


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