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Friday 28th- How Panto is made!

December 29, 2018

A bit colder today- first day I’ve noticed a chill in the air- its quite mild here on the edge of the sea. Let’s hope it stays that way over the New Year.

Today’s two shows were packed to the rafters, and a very jolly crowd for both Matinee and Evening shows. Having made no plans for Christmas Day,it is time to think about New Year’s Eve- we get our next day off on New Year’s Day. Grace has organised a table at a Nightclub, and there are a few possibilities for strangers in a City, – fellow Panto Persons to congregate and see the New Year In!

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Some of my costumes are needing a bit of repair- the quick changes take their toll on the odd seam, or poppers , and Fiona and Jerry in running wardrobe are amazing at dealing with the upkeep of this hectic show on a daily repair and laundry basis.

The audience have no idea – nor should they- of what is happening as they watch the Pantomime unfold. The technicians firing pyros as Rat or Fairy Enter- the Scene shifting going on so swiftly behind the frontcloths, and the frantic fast changes of the Ensemble in a corridor backstage going from Townspeople to Rats, to Sailors, To Posh Townspeople, Guards, Wives of The Great Sultan Vinegar and into their finale!

Here is a recent item on the news- Michael Harrison, head of the Pantomime Division of Qdos explains some of the production values. it opens in facebook. I’m working on how to open it otherwise!

All this happens swiftly so there is a constant flow of scene and costume going on, while the band plays ballads, hornpipes, harem dances and pop numbers without being visible in their deep orchestra pit, on cans and monitors.

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Panto is a HUGE production. It has all the qualities of a major Musical and more- with special effects and a big production back up, yet rehearsed in ten days and running for four weeks! The team effort behind all this is what makes that happen!


Here is a link to a glimpse of how Pantomimes were put together in the past- its interesting that very little has changed!


I had a backstage visit today from IBY regular contributer Peter Leatherby. He and his SisterSusie called in before the show to say “hello”. I last saw Peter in Newcastle when I was there in “Cinderella” at The Theatre Royal.We had a brief catch-up before the half loomed, and he went to watch the show. Great to catch up, albeit briefly. Can’t believe it has been thirteen years since we met last at Newcastle! His collection of programmes, flyers and ephemera on Pantomime is as large as my archive!

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