Are you going to, or have you been to, a pantomime this Christmas season? I’m sure when I was young I went to a few, but the one I remember is the one I was actually in. My parents worked for the National Children’s Trust and we lived in a residential care home with lots and lots of boys. The staff put on the panto Cinderella and I played the very important part of a horse! My Mum was Prince Charming and my Dad played the drunken Baron Hardup. It was hilarious.
Pantomimes are a Christmas tradition that has been around for many years. In the Middle Ages, people performed something called Mummers Plays at Christmas. This was a folk legend based on George and the Dragon. The English pantomime developed from there. Pantos are performed in plenty of English-speaking countries, but they originated in England. They seem to have their own peculiar brand of humour, which is very English and probably doesn’t travel too well.
Do you know that, generally speaking, panto scripts contain no references to Christmas? In addition, they very rarely follow the original storyline. These days, well-known actors from children’s television star in the productions and the pantomime dame is played by a male in drag. There is also a large element of audience participation where we hiss the baddie, call out ‘he’s behind you!’ and when prompted with ‘oh no it isn’t’ we reply in a loud chorus of ‘oh yes it is’.
Pantomimes are still going strong in the UK and are more popular than ever, especially since the recent phenomena of small-time actors becoming celebrities. If you haven’t yet been to see a panto (this year, or any year), why not encourage the family to arrange a trip? You may be too late this year, but this website lists a plethora of choice going on to 2018.
And if that doesn’t satisfy you, then why not get your friends together and put on your own panto performance for the family! Either way, we at Education Quizzes hope you thoroughly enjoy the festive season.