WHEN DID PANTO BEGIN?
Panto was invented in the 1800s when the popular touring theatre troupes from Europe – commedia dell’arte – were hanging out with the popular West End variety performers. They thought: “We could tell commedia stories – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc – with variety routines in between the scenes.” It was like taking the best actors from Netflix or the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), and mixing them with the best comedians from the TV. Pantomime pokes fun at topical issues, including political leaders, current fashions, music and even big brands. And panto takes its silliness very seriously!