It’s that time of year when fully grown men don dresses, make-up and high heels, women dress as young boys and take to the stage for pantomime season!
Pantomime (informally panto) is a type of musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. It was developed in England and is still performed throughout the United Kingdom, generally during the Christmas and New Year season and, to a lesser extent, in other English-speaking countries. Modern pantomime includes songs, slapstick comedy and dancing, employs gender-crossing actors, and combines topical humour with a story loosely based on a well-known fairy tale, fable or folk tale. It is a participatory form of theatre, where the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers.Pantomime has a long theatrical history in Western culture dating back to classical theatre, and it developed partly from the 16th-century commedia dell’arte tradition of Italy, as well as other European and British stage traditions, such as 17th-century masques and music hall. Outside Britain the word “pantomime” is usually used to mean miming, rather than the theatrical form referred to here. This year’s pantomime at The Groundlings Theatre, Southsea is an old favourite, Snow White. I was invited by Richard Stride, the theatre’s artistic director, to shoot the principal characters for the promotional poster and associated press material. The great thing about photographing actors is that they don’t need much encouragement to ‘perform’ for the camera. :-]