Trivia Time - What is Pantomime?

Styles of Theatre : Pantomime

Pantomime (informally, panto), not to be confused with a mime artist, referring to a theatrical performer of mime is a musical-comedy theatrical production, and is usually performed during the Christmas and New Year season.

A pantomimos in Greece was originally a group who 'imitated all' accompanied by sung narrative and instrumental music, often played on the flute.

The style and content of modern pantomime have very clear and strong links with the Commedia dell'arte, and which reached England by the 16th century.

A 'comedy of professional artists' travelling from province to province in Italy and then France, they improvised and told stories which told lessons to the crowd and changed the main character depending on where they were performing.

The gender role reversal resembles the old festival of Twelfth Night, a combination of Epiphany and midwinter feast, when it was customary for the natural order of things to be reversed.

Traditionally performed at Christmas, with family audiences consisting mainly of children and parents, British pantomime is now a popular form of theatre, incorporating song, dance, buffoonery, slapstick, cross-dressing, in-jokes, audience participation, and mild sexual innuendo.