I’m Andrew Pastor, author of Panto: The Manual.
Panto is one of those rare things – an entertainment that doesn’t need to be explained. It’s just FUN! Silly, anarchic, romantic FUN, where the Baddies always lose. And, in a community, panto offers a meeting place for people of all ages to come together in a common cause – putting on a show! We have been staging pantos here in Drimpton, West Dorset for 20 years. What do some locals say?
‘Panto brought all the villagers together. It gives all of us a chance to learn stuff... It’s like going on a fair ride for the first time – doing something daredevil.’
[Richard R, groundworker]
‘The Pantomime is the perfect example of people working together for the good of all. People of all ages get involved and feel a sense of belonging as they plan, support and partake. Then on the ‘night’, that wonderful feeling of camaraderie that embraces us all. This sense of belonging leads to happier and healthier lives.’
[Mike S, Parish Councillor]
‘The best thing about them is the community spirit. Adults knowing the kids’ names in the village. The children knowing other adults. It makes you feel safer. And the way the older kids and adults look after the littler kids. A really good opportunity for them. I love the effect it has on them. Their confidence grows.’
[Becky F, trainee midwife]
‘We would be a lesser village without panto.’
[Kate H, voluntary care worker]
‘Participation ensures a greater understanding and acceptance of each other so that there is a sense of communal sharing during both the good times and the bad times.’
[Neville A, Lay Minister]
‘We came together with a common goal.’
[James R, teenager]
‘ Pantomimes are the best therapy for any village!!’
[Beryl B, Methodist Chapel]
‘The atmosphere! That elation when the panto was over, people were beaming, flowing over with fun.’
[Mark House, mechanic]
‘The process of putting on a village panto has benefits for the Health and Wellbeing of the whole community and its members. The process of working with, and relying on, other people of varying ages is of great value for the mental wellbeing of all, and perhaps especially helps those who might be relatively isolated. It also encourages self-confidence and self-reliance in younger participants, and gives some of them an experience of collaborating with others that they will not get elsewhere, and which they may carry forward in their lives.’
[Dr John H, GP]
You can meet these people and many others in Panto: The Manual. They, along with hundreds of other locals, have come together to present panto in Drimpton over the years, and in so doing they have helped make our community happier and healthier.