It’s Panto Time!

The HVT Annual Holiday Panto is the perfect family theatre experience. Our Panto starts each December and continues until early January. There are matinees and evening shows all throughout the holiday season.

In the Beginning
It all began in 2000, when Heather Markgraf-Lowe, the founder of Hudson Village Theatre, began the annual fundraiser for the theatre by enlisting the help of the local community to stage a classic British Panto (a family tradition of her own from growing up in the UK). Young and old responded to the call and a tradition was born! Since that time, we have produced 17 Pantos: Aladdin (2001 and 2010), Cinderella (2002 and 2013), Sleeping Beauty (2003), Jack & The Beanstalk (2004), Snow White (2005), Treasure Island (2006), The Emperor’s New Clothes (2007), Beauty and the Beast (2008), Little Red Riding Hood (2009), Goldilocks and the Three Bears (2011), Puss ‘N’ Boots (2012), Robin Hood (2014), Peter Pan (2015), The Wizard of Oz (2016), Camelot (2017) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (2018).

What is Panto?
Pantomine (or Panto for short) is a musical comedy stage performance for the whole family. There is singing & dancing, slapstick comedy, goodies & baddies, true love and candy! Each Panto is based on a well-known fairy tale, folk tale or story (Cinderella, Robin Hood, The Wizard of Oz).

But That’s Not All!
Panto is a hugely interactive form of theatre. Call & response is a key aspect of the performance and characters regularly break the “fourth wall” to argue with the audience, ask them for help, get them into a sing-a-long, or beg for a sympathetic “aww”.

Oh No It Isn’t!
A classic call & response for Panto is when the villain says, “Oh yes, it is” for some devilish reason, the audience immediately yells back, “Oh no it isn’t!”. The argument continues back and forth until the villain submits or yells “Enough!”.

And, of course, there is booing. The villains (or Baddies as they are referred to in the British parlance) are to be booed by the audience as much as possible. Therefore, whenever a baddie enters, a good strong boo is mandatory (the louder and meaner the better)!

A Brief History of Panto
Pantomine is a British theatrical tradition with its roots going as far back as the 16th century. In its early stages, Pantomine was a hybrid of the European (Italian) performance style known as commedia dell’arte and British stage performance.

Always a hugely popular form of theatre for families, Panto evolved over time and in the late 19th century, it saw the introduction of popular children stories for the plot. This was also when many of the characters who are standards today were brought into being.

Common Characters
The Dame – A man dressed as a woman with exaggerated “features”. The Dame will also let slide some innuendos designed to fly over the heads of children but give the adults a good guffaw!

Principal Boy and Principal Girl – Often the romantic leads of the story whose love for one another is pure and true.

The Fairy – Serving as a narrator or coming in to assist the goodies when all hope is lost. The Fairy often talks directly with the audience and fills them in on the story.

The Villain – the main antagonist of the story. Usually an evil wizard, or evil queen or evil step sisters, the villain works against the wishes of the Principal Boy and Girl (and the other goodies). No matter what their unscrupulous plan is, they never succeed!

The Chorus – The often under looked yet busiest people in the show, the chorus serve as villagers, forest animals, minions to the villain (and so much more). The chorus often performs in most of the larger dance numbers.

Join Us
What had started off as an annual fundraiser has become a holiday tradition for players and audience alike. For more information on our next Panto, contact the box office or follow us on Facebook or Instagram! We hope to see you there!

And don’t forget to boo!