NT panto to be broadcast free from 23-27 December

Here’s a bit of good cheer for all you young at heart Panto-holics! If you can’t go to the Panto, then this year the Panto will be coming to You!

The National’s drafted-in production of DICK WHITTINGTON which has been sadly curtailed for live performance, has – in the nick of time- been recorded for broadcast via the National’s YouTube channel from 23 to 27 December.

The National said “In honour of all the theatres that have been forced to cancel their Christmas pantos, we’re sharing DICK WHITTINGTON for FREE from 3pm (UK time) on 23 December until midnight (UK time) on 27 December.

Freshly updated for 2020 by Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd, this hilarious and heartfelt new version of the classic tale is packed with the cheekiest of jokes, the chattiest of animals, the awesomest of songs and the messiest of silliness.

As you enjoy watching the show, please support a theatre near you by making a donation or booking tickets for 2021.”

When the notice about Tier 3 status and closure became a reality last week, the cast and technical team worked tirelessly to bring forward the projected filming date so that they could just get the show “in the can” before the curtains fell yet again, and the NT along with London’s world-leading West End theatres, experienced their first ever “dark Christmas”.

So this year, although Covid-19 is the real villain, we can all still raise a laugh thanks to this most British of entertainments! Hooray!

You can find the National Theatre’s YouTube channel here


Time Travel Theatre: Panto Preparations in 1948

With the pantomime season now in full swing, let’s journey back to a time when pantomimes opened on Christmas Eve and the biggest, like those at the London Palladium, ran until the following Easter.

In this short film from the BBC Archives, we see preparations of props, scenery and costumes, together with some rehearsal footage of JACK AND THE BEANSTALK presented at the Wimbledon Theatre by legendary pantomime and ice-show impresario Tom Arnold.

Enjoy the film, which you can see here