U11 – Task 2

Task 2 Research: Carrying out research into your chosen specialist area of investigation.
You will need to:
Gather a wide range of information, including the historical and cultural contexts, about your chosen specialist investigation area. Range a variety of information sources are key: You should not just rely on the internet; you should also read books / magazines, try and interview people, listen to lecture, watch relevant TV programmes, listen to radio, etc.
Essay Title: What is Pantomime? Why is it One of the Most Popular Forms of Theatre in the UK?
 In this essay I will delve deep into the history of pantomime, I will find out if pantomime is still as popular today and if so why? I will explain if the idea of a traditional pantomime is still strictly true in 2017. The purpose of this essay will be so that I get a better understanding of this theatre genre.

Pantomime has always engrossed me, I  have enjoyed many pantomimes over the years. As a child it was always one of my favourite things to do. What is pantomime? Well from my own understanding, pantomime is a theatrical entertainment, mainly for children but adults still thoroughly enjoy, there are normally some naughty jokes for the adults. Most pantomimes will include music and comedy based on deliberately clumsy actions and humorously embarrassing events also known as Slapstick comedy.

In my essay I plan to back everything up with a quote so if I give my own idea of what pantomime is like I have above if will need to use a reliable source to back my point up. In order to do this I have ordered a book on pantomime as one reliable source.

Source 1: This A History Of Pantomime, R.J. Broadbent. I have read the book and a have already got a better understanding of my topic. Here is one source I plan to use to help me write my essay.

I would like to think if someone came to watch a British pantomime from another country they would find it rather strange, here’s why. The typical pantomime consists of audience participation. The audience are encouraged to boo the villain whenever he/she enters the stage. There is always a Dame, the Dame is a male dressed as a beautiful lady….  A dam in distress and the handsome prince charming who normally saves the day from the villain. There are lots of other peculiar characters but these are the ones that appear most frequently.

Source 2: As I have been bought up with an understanding of pantomime, it is now a norm to go and watch the pantomime around Christmas time. But I would like to find someone I could interview who doesn’t know what pantomime is. Preferably I would like the person not to be from the UK so I could back up my point above. Are we the only country who has pantomime? In order to find out I think an interview with someone would be perfect to help give me a wide range of different sources. I am yet to find this source.

I would also like to interview David Whitney, one of my teachers who understudied in the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds production of Beauty and the Beast. He understudied all of the male parts. David would be useful to help me understand what the period of performance is like during pantomime season.

I will talk about what defines pantomime, what makes pantomime different? Well I would like to argue that pantomime is different to any other type of theatrical entertainment, here’s why. The costume, only in pantomime would you see such a vast range of frocks, they really brighten up the stage. Characters, the humours and outrageous slapstick characters are really like no other, I think Panto is the only noticed theatrical entertainment that with opposite gender roles… . . Script, people don’t go to any other show and are expecting to shout back at the characters on stage. Recreation of stories, pantomime is brilliant for taking well known stories such as Cinderella, Mother Goss and Puss in boots, and adapting the storyline to make it into a comical Panto. Everything I have listed makes pantomime unique, but I think what makes it stand out from any other type of drama out there is the history.

Source 3: In order to show that I have watched a recent production of a professional pantomime I visited the Theatre Royal and watch Beauty and the Beast. I will include a paragraph like the one above, I will talk about costume and set. So I will need to back this up and to have watch a pantomime relatively recently is the best way to back this up. I think the outrageous costume and characters, make it unique so it is important to talk about it in my essay. Here is a picture of the programme.







Throughout the history of Pantomime, it has developed more than anyone anticipated. The English didn’t just come up with the idea. While doing my research I found out that it developed, the idea was influenced by an Italian tradition of theatre called Commedia dell’arte. Pantomime also developed through Harlequinade and Music hall.

Source 4: A useful source provided by Helena is a book ‘Theatre’ by Martin Banham. The book helps my find helpful quotes on Music Hall, Harlequinade and Commedia del’arte so I can talk more about the history of Pantomime.