Panto Facts

| January 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

The season of saucy dames and thigh-slapping high jinks is upon us once more! Have a read of our scintillating pantomime titbits, and if that puts you in the mood for some “It’s Behind You”-ing, there are some great local productions listed in the What’s On guide.


  • It is believed that the first pantomime ever performed was staged at Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre in 1714, and was called Harlequin Sorcerer. It was produced by actor John Rich, who is credited with giving pantomime its name.
  • The Cinderella story we know today was written by Charles Perrault in 1697, based on a traditional folk tale. Although one well-known element of the tale is the glass slipper the heroine leaves behind her at the ball, it is likely that the slipper was actually made of squirrel fur! Perrault’s probable mistake arose because of the similar sound of the French words for glass, verre, and luxurious white squirrel fur, vair.
  • It is traditional in pantomime for villains to enter from stage left and heroes from stage right. This dates back to medieval mystery plays, where the left of the stage represented hell and the right, heaven.
  • Pantomime dames – men playing female characters and dressed in outrageous clothing – began to appear in panto in the early 19th century, with the renowned clown Joseph Grimaldi playing the baron’s wife in an 1820 performance of Cinderella.
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