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Everything you need to know about pantomime

Posted on 9 November 2018

Every year, the Belgrade Theatre’s annual pantomime is a huge hit with Coventry families, bringing audiences of all ages together to share in the magic of live theatre. But if you’ve never been to see a panto before, you might be wondering what it is or what you can expect from it…

Here at the Belgrade, we want to make sure that we’re as open and welcoming as possible to all sorts of different people. But we realise that pantomime is a very unique kind of performance, with lots of elements that might seem strange or unusual to those who have never seen one before, including people from other cultures or countries where pantomimes don’t exist, or for people with conditions that mean it’s helpful to know what’s going to happen before they arrive at the theatre.

You might be wondering, for example, why there are men dressed as women and women dressed as men, or what to do when the characters on stage speak to the audience.

To help answer any questions you might have, we enlisted the help of the Belgrade panto’s resident writer, director and Dame, Iain Lauchlan, to put together a quick video about the origins and traditions of pantomime, and some of the things you might see if you come to see Sleeping Beauty this Christmas. Having been writing and starring in pantomimes for over twenty years, Iain really knows his stuff, so he’s the perfect person to tell you all about it!

Having been writing and starring in pantomimes for over twenty years, Iain really knows his stuff, so he’s the perfect person to tell you all about it!

This year, you can see Iain starring as Nanny McWheeze in Sleeping Beauty, which runs from Wednesday 21 November until Saturday 5 January. Tickets are available to book now.

If you feel that you would benefit from a slightly different environment in which to enjoy panto, we are also staging a a relaxed performance of Sleeping Beauty at 2pm on Thursday 3 January. Relaxed performances are specially designed to provide be an open and welcoming environment for any audience members who may enjoy, or benefit from, a more laid-back performance style, including those with Autism Spectrum Conditions, sensory and communication disorders, learning disabilities and dementia. In a relaxed performance, audiences are asked to be aware of individual’s needs to move or make involuntary noise. We may also make some small changes to light and sound effects – these will all be detailed in show packs which will be available on the website by early December.