How To Enjoy A Festive Pantomime Without Breaking The Bank

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Why go to see a pantomime this Christmas

Christmas is synonymous with so many traditions. Roast turkey, crackers, the Queen’s speech – and of course, falling asleep in front of the television. Christmas is a time for family and fun, and the traditional pantomime offers both in abundance.

For many people, attending a pantomime with the family is a treasured festive memory. But there is more to pantomimes than the glitz and sparkle as theatre village report.

Unlike some Christmas traditions, pantomimes have a long history. The roots of pantomimes come from theatre performances performed during the festive season going all the way back to the sixteenth century. Immersive performances, where audiences were expected and encouraged to participate actively in the show go back even further. Modern pantomimes feature some common themes – music, slap-stick comedy, family friendly entertainment and stories that draw from popular traditional and folk tales that are not directly associated with any Christian tradition, such as Snow White and Cinderella.

Pantomimes provide a wonderful opportunity for children to experience the magic of the theatre, often for the first time. Because the atmosphere is so much less formal than a normal show, with children often being actively engaged in the performance and encouraged to call out, parents don’t need to worry and can relax and enjoy. 

Pantomimes are fun, engaging and often very silly. Many feature stars from television and music. Over recent years, pantomimes have featured sophisticated, sometimes satirical comedy that may go over the heads of children, but which is hilarious for adults. Meanwhile, cross-dressing characters in outrageous costumes, goofy comedy and encouragement to help characters at key moments in the story is a winning combination.

What pantomimes are on and who is appearing 

In this section, we have scoured the UK to find a range of pantomimes coming up this festive season.

Aladdin – Harrogate Theatre, North Yorkshire.

A pantomime classic and one of our favourites, Harrogate Theatre is welcoming Aladdin from the 23rd November. Prices start from just £13 a ticket.

Cinderella – New Theatre Royal, Lincoln

A family favourite, Cinderella will feature former X-Factor star Jake Quickenden and will open on the 9th December.

Lyric Hammersmith-Jack and The Beanstalk

Lyric Hammersmith recently announced its principal casting for this year’s highly anticipated pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk, written by Jude Christian and Sonia Jalaly with Emmanuel Akwafo playing Dame Trott, Maddison Bulleyment playing Jill, Jodie Jacobs playing Fleshcreep, Leah St Luce playing Jack and Finlay McGuigan playing Simon. Nicholai La Barrie’s production opens on Saturday 26 November, with previews from Saturday 19 November, and runs until Saturday 07 January 2023. Further ensemble casting to be announced at a later date.

Aladdin- Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow

From 1st December 2022,  meet Aladdin and his mother Widow Twanky, which promises to an amazing family pantomime featuring Brooke Thomson, Scott Fletcher and Liam Dolan

Beauty and The Beast-Mercury Theatre

Mercury Theatre today announced just recently the full cast for their pantomime this Christmas, Beauty and the Beast. Joining the previously announced pantomime royalty Antony Stuart-Hicks (Betty Bon Bon) and Dale Superville (Almondé), are Alexandra Barredo (Belle), Daniel Jagusz-Holley (Prince Friedrich/ Beast), Sasha Latoya (L’Amour/Cupid), Jaimie Pruden (Spite), Shelby Speed (Hemlock) and Nick Brittain (Toadstool). The pantomime opens on Saturday 3 December at the Mercury Theatre, with previews from Saturday 26 November 2022, and runs until Sunday 15 January 2023.

Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, New Theatre, Cardiff

Ian “H” Watkins from Steps and Emmerdale Star Sian Reeves perform in this spectacular show, will they out outwit the Wicked Queen?

Dick Whittington – Garrick Theatre, Altrincham

Dick Whittington tells the famous story of an adventure to London to find fame and fortune – with a comic twist of course! Join the local cast for what promises to be a magical performance.

Cinderella- Grand Opera House, Belfast

Featuring May Mcfettridge, and Paddy Jenkins this fairytale tale requires you to don your glass slippers and escape to a world of Cinderella, a tormented soul who is rescued by the Fairy Godmother. 

Beauty and the Beast – Wyvern Theatre, Swindon

TV fans are in for a real treat with this twist on a Disney classic – starting on 3rd December. Anne Hegerty from the Chase and Britain’s got Talent finalist Paul Burling will star.

Cinderella – Hall for Cornwall, Truro

Join Meg Hateley as the eponymous hero in Cornwall for this dazzling panto with a modern twist. Directed by Simon Harvey and with an experienced cast, it promises to be a night to remember.

Jack and the Beanstalk – London Palladium, central London

The Palladium has attracted many famous and well-loved faces over the years and the 2022/2023 panto season is no different. Starring Julian Clary, Nigel Havers and Dawn French among many others!

Cinderella – Oxford Playhouse, Oxford

Cinderella, directed by Tony Hulse, will also be entertaining audiences of all ages in Oxford. Grab your tickets for what promises to be a magical evening.

How to enjoy a pantomime without breaking the bank

We all know that affordability is going to be high on the agenda for many families this winter. That being said, if you plan ahead and try to be savvy, it is still possible to enjoy a pantomime this Christmas with the whole family without breaking the bank.

The first thing to stress is not to leave it until the last minute to book. Most theatres offer tiered prices. However, as we get nearer to Christmas, many of the cheaper seats will have sold out so if you want to get a bargain it pays to book early. While seats can be as much as £200, many theatres have tickets for under £15 meaning that a family of 4 can see a performance for as little as £60.

Some theatres, such as Lincoln’s New Theatre Royal, are offering payment plans to allow you to pay in instalments. Worth considering if you don’t have the money to shell out the full cost right away.

ATG Theatres also offer tickets for shows from £13.00 but check local shows to see if they are offering this

If you are a regular theatre goer, it can be worth becoming a member of your local theatre. Members are sometimes offered discounted rates which can reduce the cost of your trip to the pantomime. However, this only makes sense if you plan to attend multiple times over a year’s membership. It’s a great way to show support to local theatres and playhouses. Many regional venues have struggled during the pandemic and will need support to survive.

Another trick is to look out for special offers in local media, or on discount websites such as Groupon. 

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