Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Having introduced the idea of community panto, be warned, I’m hoping you’ll end up wanting to do it. Don’t think of reasons why not. Just read on: 

Here, in Drimpton, we’ve been putting on pantomimes for 20 years. We’re not a drama group; we’re just local people who come together every two years or so and have a grand time – recruiting new pantomimers every time.  Why do we do it? We started out in 1993 because enough of us fancied having a go. We have come to see over the years that panto has the power not only to deliver fun but to also bring people together – children, teenagers and adults of all ages, long-established residents and newcomers, from all backgrounds and with a great range of experience.

Now let’s be clear at the outset: pantos need people; people who are willing to offer their skills, invest their energy, give their time, let down their hair and have fun. Pantos cannot be made without a cast of thousands (almost) onstage and off and in the audience, too. If your community has never staged a panto, why no give it a go? Believe me, if we can do it, so can you. And if you’re up for it, we are happy to help. But why should you want to?

Pantos offer a place where the following happens:
Ø      People of all ages come together in a common cause. Children learn to speak with adults outside their family and school environments. Adults learn that children are not aliens to be wary of. Breaking such barriers is priceless.
Ø      People expand their circle of friends. Nowadays many people live semi-isolated lives. They move in limited circles and can be untrusting of others. Eyes are opened.
Ø      People work creatively in a real-life social environment, not via some virtual social media tool.
Ø      People make something from nothing in a short time with only the community’s resources to call on. That is special.
Ø      People are encouraged to offer and share their existing skills and talents, which are valued and recognised.
Ø      People develop skills that can benefit the community in other ventures.
Ø      People become more confident and develop self-belief.
Ø      People leave their everyday worries at the door.
And as I’ve already said more than once:
Ø      People have FUN!

As you can see from this, the emphasis is on people – bringing people together – and it is
people who make communities, especially when they are having fun.