Is bigger always better when it comes to pantomimes?

I’m proud that my scripts get produced on all manner of scale and sizes every year.

From village hall to the enormous SEC in Glasgow, audiences, cast and crew alike revel in panto hilarity.

But is bigger better? (That’s enough you two at the back, this is a family show!)

Well I think the answer is: it depends.

Some shows like to invest in big production values with star names. You can see this reflected in the commercial sectors with productions of the like you’d see at the London Palladium.

Others focus on a core cast of returning regulars which are sure fire hits with audiences.

I remember attending Exeter Northcott pantomimes as a child to see Steve Bennett and Gordon Cooper as dame and comic respectively.

Those productions had great mid scale production value, but it was the banter between the two of them, and the local references and feel that brought us back year after year.

And some of the most theatrical moments I’ve ever witnessed were relatively low budget pieces of stage craft.

Peter Pan’s children flying over the streets of London, using only dry ice and skateboards.

Or Aladdin’s magic carpet magically levitating with a little help from a mobility scooter, some black fabric and precisely focussed lights.

Then there’s cast size. Bigger casts give more people an opportunity to be involved in the production and large ensembles can provide production value.

But go too big, and the storyline can become confusing and unwieldy. Characters might look unnecessary and shoe-horned.

Ultimately it comes down to what’s right for your venue, cast, crew and creative team. After all, you know your locality best.

I encourage groups who license my scripts to be creative and adapt the script to their needs. Small tweaks can make a big difference.

And if you want a more bespoke solution, I can help with that too.

What do you think? Get in touch and let me know!

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