Click on a poster from a year - the pop up window will have full details of the corresponding year's Pantomime.
Panto will surely survive for many years. It has taken a severe beating over the last few years. Rising costs and dwindling audiences have all had an impact on the genre. As mentioned in the 2000 section of this site, panto has to compete with multi channel TV and the internet. With inner city crime at record levels people do not feel safe to venture out at night. This has also affected the shows themselves. Gone are lavish twelve piece orchestras and lush sets. Bygone days featured real horses, real dwarfs and two storey houses for the dwarfs. Gorgeous carriages to take Cinderella to the ball have been shelved as Cinders now runs off stage to board an imaginary coach to take her to the ball. This webmaster visited a panto recently where the only prop was an LCD backdrop that changed to match the scene. Those orchestras mentioned have often been reduced to a drummer and keyboard player, and in many productions they have been srapped altogether in favour of pre recorded backing tracks. Dwarfs have been replaced by children from local dance schools who wear outsized plastic heads, their lines delivered by pre recorded track, as others mime their reactions. From an star's point of view, they have seen panto runs reduced from twelve week extravaganzas to three and four week runs. Rehearsal times have been cut in an effort to cut costs. While performances can be as many as three in a day. Denise says;
When there's three shows a day, the actor is a virtual prisoner in the theatre all day. You have to be there at 9am for a 10am show. There's a short gap after the first one then you are back on stage, there's another short gap before going out for the last show. By the time you get out of costume and go home, you realise you have been in the theatre for more than twelve hours. You have hardly had time for lunch in your dressing room let alone go to a cafe. It's winter and so coughs and sneezes often go around the company. Panto is not for wimps you know! The lack of musicians is the same for many touring shows that run the rest of the year. First and foremost, I am singer and I enjoy singing most of all with a live band. I know that costs money, but I think it is worth it. Audiences want to be wowed. That is best achieved by giving them great sets, costumes and effects. I am not a fan of the early morning shows. I would still be up for another pantomime though, because it is such great fun working with talented people on and off stage. I have only great memories of all the pantos that I have done.
As of 2023 Denise has decided that she is semi retired - we shall see if that is really the case!