The English Pantomime
Originally Italian, it was performed unspoken, with its principal characters of Harlequin, Columbine, Clown and Pantaloon. Harlequin and Columbine played the leading and more serious parts until the Clown began to take over and become the principal. As it evolved it has borrowed transformation scenes from the French theatre. Eventually jugglers, conjurers and dancers were added and it was at this stage of pantomime during the beginning of the 18th Century that England finally accepted it as part of standard repertoire.
In the 1700s the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, introduced its first pantomime "The Loves of Man and Venus". This proved to be a great success and over the years transformation scenes were added to dumb action or mime. By 1750 it became so popular that the great clown Grimaldi dominated the pantomime scene.
Well into the 19th Century speech accompanied by music was introduced. The nursery rhyme panto did not arrive until 1800, when Covent Garden presented "Harlequin and Mother Goose" or "The Golden Egg". Towards the end of the 19th Century, Music Hall began to dominate pantomime and vulgarised it. The music hall performers were more adult and each performer had their particular and easily recognised kind of humour. Long acts were brought into the show and speciality acts took up much of the time. The fairy tale began to get lost and the fight for good and evil eventually vanished or had a token few lines at the end.
Today nearly every theatre in Britain presents its annual pantomime, whether it be a commercial one with big stars and vague story outline or traditional repertory panto faithfully following both story and tradition.
Pantomime with all its audience participation is a wonderful way to introduce children to the theatre and create a lifetime love of live entertainment.
Photographs, and maybe more details! - can be found by visiting the pantomimes highlighted in orange (hyperlinked).
1992 - Puss in Boots -
Written by John Morely - Directed by Ruth
1993 - Cinderella - Compiled and Directed by Ruth Flower
1994 - Aladdin - Compiled and Directed by David Butler-Cole
1995 - Jack and the Beanstalk - Written by John Morley - Directed by Jenny Grainer & Sian Hughes-Roberts
1996 - Mother Goose - Written and Directed by David Butler Cole
1997 - Babes in the Wood - Written by David Butler-Cole - Directed by Sian Hughes-Roberts
1998 - Peter Pan - Adapted by David Butler-Cole - Directed by Sian Hughes-Roberts
1999 - Dick Whittington – Written by Elaine Edgley and Mike Slater - Directed by Alison Slater
2000 - George and the Dragon - Written & Directed by David Butler Cole
2001 - Sleeping Beauty - Written by David Butler Cole - Directed by Alison Slater & Sian Hughes-Roberts
2002 - Snow White - Written & Directed by Chrissie Spencer
2003 - Cinderella - Written by Sian Hughes-Roberts
2004 - No theatre available as the Lagos Cultural Centre was being refurbished.
2005 - Old Mother Hubbard in the Wild West - Written by Paul Reakes - Directed by Tony Sanders
2006 - Dick Turpin - Directed by Jenny Grainer Performed at two theatres, Lagos Cultural Centre & Lagoa Auditorium
2007 - Scheherezade's Greatest Hits -Written by Sian Hughes-Roberts – Directed by Keith Beasley. Performed at Lagoa Auditorium.
2008 - Treasure Island -Written by Richard Lloyd - Director: Desmond Briggs BEM. Assistant Director: Nikki Weijdom. Performed at Lagoa Auditorium.
2009 - The Algarveans X-Posed Variety Show featured some Pantomime characters - Directed by Jenny Grainer.
2010 - A Boy & Some Beans. Directed Lloyd Delderfield
2011 - Pantomine replaced by Honk! The Musical
2012 - Aladdin. Directed by Jan Sheppeard
2013 - Robinson Crusoe. Directed by Trevor Herrington
2014 - Robin Hood and The Babes in the Wood. Directed by Trevor Herrington
2015 - No Pantomime Performed
2016 - No Pantomime Performed
Please send the Webmaster more photos to illustrate the plays and Pantos not yet represented!!
Last modified: 22nd Feb 2016