Wednesday, 5 December 2007


With less than three weeks to go to Christmas Panto season is upon us. Pantomimes are a Christmas tradition here in the UK the same as mince pies and late night shopping. Pantomimes are put on in nearly every theatre up and down the country with a raft of celebrities appearing in a range of roles and productions, anything from ‘Aladdin’ to ‘Peter Pan.’

As well as being a good way of getting in the festive spirit Pantomimes are a great chance for families to all go and watch some live theatre together. Pantomimes are designed to be fun for all the family and this is the way the shows are produced and promoted. If a kid in the audience laughs, shouts, screams or cries it is seen as acceptable and part of the experience as pantomimes are all about interaction but with many theatre productions during the year this wouldn’t be acceptable so parents can’t always take the young ones with them.

Now I bet your thinking why am I talking about pantomimes in my weekly blog, well the reason is that I think pantomimes are a great a way to get young people interested in the theatre and acting. For many children the first live theatre they will see is a pantomime and in many cases is the only live theatre they will see. The experience of live theatre is a magical experience and the fairytale like stories used in pantomimes can add to this.

Another great thing with pantomimes is that many productions use children from local dancing, acting and singing schools with some even holding open auditions for young cast members. They provide a real chance for young people to get experience in front of packed audiences every night which are very hard to come by. Through a pantomime they can experience the hectic schedules which are the life on stage actors and work in front of the loudest most appreciative crowds that there are.

Say what you want about the cheesy scripts and the awful costumes but I think you can’t beat a bit of good old panto. Those people that criticise pantomimes don’t understand there place in the development of theatre, acting and talented young people. Pantomimes should be an enjoyable time for families to spend together but they can also be the start of many young acting careers across the country and a way to encourage young people to go to more live theatre.

We here at Talented Young People want to know your thoughts about Pantomimes and you can share your views by going to:

Adam Sibley
Founder of the Talented Young People organisation
"Envisage it, Believe it, Achieve it!"

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