For us, pantomimes and Christmas have always been linked. Whether we went on Boxing Day (when they traditionally opened) or in the run up to New Year, the combination of silliness and glitter had a truly festive feel.
But it seems that we were mistaken – a trend for Easter pantomimes has hit the country, with shows popping up all over the place!
UK Easter pantomimes
This year you can see:
- Pinocchio in London
- Puss in Boots in Enfield
- Beauty and the Beast in Dunfermline
- Sleeping Beauty in Redcar
- Robin Hood in Cambridge
- Beauty and the Beast in Wrexham
- Beauty and the Beast in Yeovil
And, although we’re not sure these count as traditional pantos, there are also productions of:
- Alice in Wonderland in Doncaster
- Alice in Wonderland in Bridlington
- The Wizard of Oz in Bedford
- Alice in Wonderland in Hayes
- Alice in Wonderland in Northampton
- The Jungle Book in Huyton
All running in March and/or April and no doubt we’ve missed out a few as well. Of course, now that we come to think of it, there’s nothing really to connect pantomimes with Christmas. They don’t have religious connotations and they don’t contain Christmas music or traditions, so there’s no real reason to contain them to the festive period.
History of pantomime
Pantomimes originally came to Britain in the 18th century from the Italian tradition for improvised comedy, and were a jumble of stock characters and folk tales. They evolved and became synonymous with Christmas, as well as developing characters such as the dame and the principal boy – as well as favourite customs (“It’s behind you!”). Music Hall entertainment became a part of the fun too, with well-known performers and celebrities often enlisted as characters.
Would you be happy to see a panto in the spring, or is it a major part of your festive holiday traditions?
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