" ... a beloved British family tradition that deserves to grow here as well."
Nancy Churnin, The Dallas Morning News

If you thought the holidays in Britain were all snow and Dickens, then you're in for a big surprise! For the holidays just wouldn't be the holidays without a panto!

A panto is a traditional fairy tale complete with songs, dances, jokes, exaggerated characters and lots of audience participation.

The British love a good panto. In fact the nation has been mad on it ever since the actor manager John Rich introduced it in 1717.

It’s a wonderful way to entertain children, involving them interactively with the characters on stage, encouraging them to cheer, enlisting their help to support good characters and above all to see that the good chap helps the damsel in distress. And because panto works on two levels, there's plenty for the adults to enjoy as well.

The centerpiece of any panto is The Dame, a comic, larger than life character, played by a man. Click here for more information.

The Principal Boy is the romantic male lead and is a ‘breeches part’, that is, played by a woman. Click here for more information.

The Villain is always very mean and nasty and must be booed and hissed by the audience at every opportunity!

The Ghost Scene. What can we say about this? Well, there's always a ghost who pops up when you least expect it and it's up to the audience to warn the characters on stage.

Audience participation is everything at a panto. Don’t be shy! Join in with the characters as they sing the silly song. Boo and hiss as loud as you can when the villain comes on. Oh, and look out for that ghost!


Mark Ryan, the voice of Bumblebee and Jetfire in Transformers and Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, was in Dallas in 2009 to help promote Puss In Boots.

Mark, who is British, did a stint in panto in the UK early in his career, understudying the great Billy Dainty, and is big fan of the genre. Here's what he had to say about panto:



Theatre Britain





Theatre Britain





Theatre Britain




Theatre Britain





Theatre Britain





Theatre Britain