The money made by theatres putting on pantomimes around Christmas is often enough to support the establishment through the rest of the year, allowing them to run less-lucrative productions.
Speaking to iNews, pantomime historian Professor Jeffrey Richards, of Lancaster University, said that these fun productions are “unequalled in keeping British theatre alive”.
When asked about their enduring appeal, he explained that the reason pantomimes have survived so long is because they are constantly evolving. “Pantomime producers never hold onto anything which doesn’t appeal,” he asserted.
Some may consider pantomimes to be a lesser form of stage production, however, one of the country’s leading panto producers Michael Harrison told the news provider that he thinks this is nonsense.
“I would say playing Widow Twankey didn’t hurt Ian McKellen,” Mr Harrison stated. In fact, many big names have starred in pantos in the UK at Christmas time, including those from the US and Australia who can make good money in a relatively short space of time.
As an actor, it’s hard not to love walking on stage to see so many children’s faces in the audience, and to watch as they’re captivated by the colourful costumes, classic tales and comedy moments as the action plays out.
This year there will be pantomimes running up and down the country, but the Guardian recently singled out a couple that look to be particularly memorable this festive season in its list of the top theatre shows this Christmas.
Jack and the Beanstalk at York’s Theatre Royal got a mention, with the newspaper noting that it’s the 39th year that Berwick Kaler has trodden the boards as a panto dame; while Dick Whittington at the London Palladium boasts an all-star cast, including Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, Elaine Paige and Gary Wilmot.
If you’re inspired by what you see on stage this Christmas, consider booking drama classes in Liverpool in the new year and see where acting could take you.