Short History of British Pantomime

In the United Kingdom, the word "Pantomime" means a form of entertainment, generally performed during the Christmas season. Most cities and towns throughout the UK have a form of Pantomime at this time of year. The origins of British Pantomime or "Panto" as it is known date back to the middle ages, taking on board the traditions of the Italian "Commedia dell’ Arte, the Italian night scenes and British Music hall to produce an intrinsic art form that constantly adapted to survive up to the present day.

Pantomime has been attempted abroad, usually with a small amount of success. Not surprisingly it has proved popular in countries such as Canada, Australia and South Africa- recently a production of "Babes in the wood" ran at the Rainbow Seven Arts Theatre in Harare, Zimbabwe! In America this very British art form has fared less favourably, although in 1868 a production of "Humpty Dumpty" ran for over 1,200 performances at the Olympic Theatre, New York, making it the most successful Pantomime in American history.

BATS performs a pantomime every year, during the last weekend of January. Check out our past productions and find out what's on this season.

The Subjects The Impresarios Tradition
Slapstick Harlequinade Enter Grimaldi
The Principal Boy The Chorus The Future
Commedia Dell'Arte Italian Night Scenes Enter The Dame
Dan Leno