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What’s On — Traditional (and not so traditional) Pantomimes in England

Magic wand on red backgroundLast year, I posted about the tradition of the holiday season pantomime in Britain. This year, I thought it would be fun to see “what’s on” in Britain on the pantomime stage. I had hoped to find some pantos performed by kids, but wasn’t able to do so. The productions I’m featuring are definitely kid-friendly, though, and certainly show that the pantomime tradition is alive and well.

Classic pantomimes are based on fairy tale characters (although, as I pointed out in last year’s post, there are a lot of traditions that go along with panto that have nothing to do with the usual type of fairy tale). One of the best productions, according to the various guides to British pantomimes that I found online, is the annual panto at the Hackney Empire theatre in London. This year, they’re doing Mother Goose, and their website says “Expect larger-than-life characters, loads of laughs, outrageous costumes, dazzling dance moves, incredible live music and of course… plenty of heroes to cheer and baddies to boo!”

Pantos aren’t just found in London, though. They’re all over the United Kingdom at this time of year (and elsewhere in the world, too — look out! It’s behind you! 😉 ) If you happen to be in Crawley, in Sussex, England, you can see Sleeping Beauty at the Hawth Theatre this holiday season. There’s even a fire-breathing dragon in this performance!

If fractured fairy tales and mash-ups are more your style, head back to London for Cinderella and the Beanstalk. (Yes, I typed that correctly.) Theatre 503 presents Monty Pythonesque (but family-friendly) fringe theatre-style productions, and this one sounds like great fun. Oh yes it does!

Wherever you are in the world, there is some sort of theatre happening, if not pantomime, then some other production. How about checking out your local theatre, and going to a live performance in December? I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

Because these aren’t kids’ theatres, I won’t add them to the map, but if you go to the What’s On map and click on any of the theatres, I bet you’ll find other fun holiday performances happening!

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