For many people across the United Kingdom, a visit to the Pantomime or Panto is as essential a part of the Christmas season as Christmas Pudding, the Christmas Tree or the kiss under the mistletoe! Delighting both children and adults alike, productions of this traditional form of seasonal theatrical entertainment can be found across the land from small amateur productions in village halls, to professional theatres in all major towns and cities, as well as in London’s West End. For many professional venues the guaranteed packed houses over several weeks provide a welcome and vital financial boost.
So, what is this popular and traditional entertainment where the Principal Boy is openly played by an attractive female and the Dame is openly played by a man? How, where and when did Pantomime and the traditional stories they feature originate? What are the vital elements, and who were the innovators who left their mark and created the roles we expect to find today?
In a presentation aided by a number of interesting and colorful slides, Jim Stebbings will answer these questions in what promises to be an informative and entertaining lecture.
Jim will be a familiar figure to many in our audiences having given us his Happy Hour presentations on Gilbert and Sullivan in 2021, the story of the sinking of the Lusitania earlier this year. Also, in May this year he lectured in person at four ESU-US Branches as a guest speaker in the Sir Evelyn Wrench series.