For many children in the UK, Christmas time means a trip to the panto. Pantomimes provide a great opportunity for families to spend some quality time together while having fun at the same time. But enjoying pantomime doesn't just have to be the reserve of families at Christmas.Pantomime is also important for schools as an effective way to inspire children, help them understand the world around them, and encourage the next generation of performers. Let's look at why more schools should embrace the benefits of pantomime.
Introducing Panto In The Classroom
While pantomime might be a type of creative art, it actually has many similarities with teaching. A pantomime will often have a simple storyline, audience interaction and props, and space in the front for the performance in front of the audience. Doesn't that sound rather like the average class lesson? While we aren't suggesting that teachers dress up in eccentric panto attire to deliver lessons, it shows that pantomime and the “art” of teaching already have much in common.
When encouraged in schools, pantomime can be useful in helping develop students' concentration and nonverbal communication and enable them to put action and thought together effectively. Pantomime enables students to use their imaginations and understand that any idea they have can be a unique and creative idea. It's a great way to encourage students to express their ideas while also appreciating the creativity of their classmates. It can also be a great icebreaker and confidence booster when performing in front of their peers.
Inspiring Children With Creative Arts
But is it that easy to introduce pantomime in schools? "Oh yes, it is!" Pantomime is one of the most accessible forms of creative art. Schools can easily incorporate it into the classroom to encourage students to engage in some fun and learning simultaneously. Pantomime can be used at any age across any subject and adapted to any level of ability to reinforce a lesson.
ActorSir Lenny Henry is a huge advocate of creative arts in school. He credits the trips to watch pantomime as a child for fueling his successful career. Creative arts are important to children's upbringing and their sense of inclusion. He said: "The creative arts are much more than an easy-to-lose option in our children's school day – they should be immovable items, something cherished and valued by parents, teachers and employers alike."
Whether watching a panto or performing in one, pupils can benefit from pantomiming novels, fairytales and historical events as part of the curriculum to help them better understand what they are being taught. Many students are visual learners, so pantomime provides a fantastic visual presentation they are more likely to remember.
Putting On A School Panto
Pantomime is the ideal option for schools looking to put on a production to be performed by pupils. Here's why:
Plenty Of Parts
What's great about putting on a school pantomime is that they usually have many characters. Most pantomimes can be adapted to allow for a large cast to give everyone a chance to have a starring role. Aside from the stage performers, you also have the option of an extendable chorus and behind-the-scenes stagehands for everyone else. Pantomimes allow you to be really creative in how you cast. After all, panto is famous for role reversal, so character genders don't have to restrict you.
Fun For Everyone
While putting on a pantomime is ideal for encouraging children to learn about comedy and how to perform it, it also offers something for everyone to enjoy. Children of all ages (and adults) can enjoy different parts of pantomime. It can also be performed at any time of the year. There's no rule that it has to be around Christmas. Summer and Easter pantomimes are becoming popular, with some schools even touring their pantomime around other local schools.
Suitable For Any Budget
Even with a small budget and limited resources, you can still put on a great pantomime with big musical numbers and special effects. The script is at the heart of a good panto, allowing you to add as many bells, whistles, and special effects as you want. The most crucial thing is that your panto is funny and entertaining for everyone.
Perhaps one of the most important reasons for bringing pantomime to schools is helping to inspire the audiences of tomorrow. School children are the future of the theatre, so by encouraging them to embrace stage productions such as pantomime, we can also help grow theatre audiences for years to come. Why not get them started today and treat them to the thrill of a pantomime?