Why a Christmas isn't complete without a family trip to the pantomime

PUBLISHED: 11:16 24 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:23 24 September 2019

The pantomime is a great way to bring families and the community together for some light-hearted fun, ideal for the holidays. Picture: Steve Marsh

The pantomime is a great way to bring families and the community together for some light-hearted fun, ideal for the holidays. Picture: Steve Marsh

Archant

Gather the kids and the grandparents and get them down to the pantomime this Christmas. Haverhill Arts Centre will run daily performances of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from 20 December to 30 December.

This year’s performance will star ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ finalist Drew Cameron as Muddles. Picture: That's Entertainment ProductionsThis year’s performance will star ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ finalist Drew Cameron as Muddles. Picture: That's Entertainment Productions

Marketing manager, Sara Marsh, explains why there's nothing like a live performance of slapstick, sparkles and storytelling to bring the whole family together.

Some good, old-fashioned, traditional fun

Panto is a great family outing - when the kids are off school and the grandparents are visiting, it's good to plan events that everyone can enjoy.

Stock up on drinks and refreshments before the show. Picture: Steve MarshStock up on drinks and refreshments before the show. Picture: Steve Marsh

"The pantomime is a great way to bring families and the community together. Some light-hearted family fun, ideal for the holidays," said Sara.

This year's performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a classic fairy tale with heaps of slapstick to get the kids giggling and some tongue in cheek humour to have even the most mature theatre-goers in fits of laughter.

'It's behind you' on how the art of panto came to be

The arts centre is the beating cultural heart of the town. Picture: Tudor Owen-MorganThe arts centre is the beating cultural heart of the town. Picture: Tudor Owen-Morgan

The story begins in the streets of 16th century Italy, where live performances of 'Commedia dell'arte' bears the fruits of what we have come to recognise as classic staples of pantomime performance - the tales of lovers and magic filled with wit and comedy.

These elements have evolved into the live theatrical entertainment panto that's a classic Christmas staple enjoyed by all the family. The slapstick, music and topical jokes have created a show people of all ages love to watch. Many of the shows are based on a classic fairy tales or nursery rhymes familiar and beloved by all the audience.

Nothing beats the joy of a live performance

"Nothing beats the atmosphere of a live performance to get everyone laughing and joining in," Sara said. "Many families in the local community return every year for a bit of panto."

Families attending a performance at Haverhill Arts Centre can arrive up to one hour before the show starts and enjoy the bar, stock up on drinks and refreshments before settling in for the show.

"The stage is filled with sparkly costumes, lively characters and a fun storyline everyone knows and can get involved with," Sara exclaimed. "This year's performance will star 'Britain's Got Talent' finalist Drew Cameron as Muddles," she added.

At the heart of Haverhill

The old town hall is home to Haverhill's local community arts centre and host of the annual panto.

"It's the beating cultural heart of our town," said Sara. "In 1882 there wasn't much for the people of Haverhill to do other than go to work or drinks, so founder Daniel Gurteen built the town hall, so they would have somewhere to go, enjoy performances, read and engage with music," she explained. "The town hall was a gift to the community and our live performances help us to keep our community spirit and love for the arts alive."

This year's performance will involve the Lisa Mason dance company - a local dance group that will play parts in the show.

Book your tickets now

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will run from December 20th until December 30th. There will be two performances daily - a morning and an afternoon show though some show times may vary.

Purchase a family ticket for £52.00 for two adults and two children or one adult and three children. Book tickets online at haverhillartscentre.co.uk or call 01440 714140.

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