What Is Panto?

It's a holiday tradition in England - everyone goes to a Panto at Christmas! They occur in every venue imaginable, from village halls to major London theatres. It is one of the few forms of theatre that caters to all ages, from 2 to 102.

Taking its roots from commedia dell'arte, it is a very stylized form of theatre with stock characters and scenes. Stories are based loosely on traditional fairy tales, but there's always enough saucy humor and contemporary references to entertain the whole family.

A big part of Panto is the audience participation. Just as in the spirit of melodrama, there are set call-and-response moments when the audience is encouraged to join in.

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