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Pantomime: A British Christmas Tradition

pantomime
By King's Head Theatre
Alex Jackson

 

Some people might  think pantomime is just for kids, but the magic of a good panto is that it has something for everyone. That’s what really excites me about this British tradition. For those across the globe who haven’t had the opportunity to attend this theatrical spectacle, a pantomime is a slapstick comedy based on a fairy tale or nursery story which involves music and topical jokes and produced around Christmas time.

Like most people in the UK, panto (as the Brits call it) was probably my first experience of live theatre.

I remember going to our local amateur pantomime, and my grandparents taking me to the Exeter Northcott Theatre’s panto, written by the then Artistic Director Ben Crocker. Crocker is the son of a panto writer, and his pantomimes were hugely successful at the venue.

Prior to joining the King’s Head Theatre, I’ve written, directed and played the Dame in several pantomimes for amateur groups and for my own company City of Light Theatre. I’ve developed a real love of the genre, especially because of its ability to be funny, political and entertain audiences of all ages.

When I found out that I was going to be Assistant Director on the King’s Head Theatre’s panto, made by Charles Court Opera, I was really excited! I’d heard such great things about their pantomimes, and how original they were, so I couldn’t wait to get started and learn from Charles Court Opera about their own style and their take on Cinderella.

Having observed rehearsals and worked on the show for the past few weeks, I’ve so enjoyed getting to know this ‘boutique’ style of panto.

The cast are exceptionally talented, the story cleverly takes you on a panto journey, with entirely original twists and turns. The music and lyrics are genius and the hilarity of it all is punctuated with heart-stopping moments of pure emotion.

I can’t wait for audiences to see what we’ve been working on, and hopefully let all the joy and laughter we’ve had while rehearsing, burst out into the auditorium.

Published in Collaboration with King’s Head Theatre

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