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How to choose the right pantomime script

There’s a million things to think about when choosing your next pantomime script. So it can be helpful to break it down to a few key thigns to think about. Here’s my top tips on choosing the best pantomime script for your show:

Does the pantomime script make you laugh?

For me, here’s the most important thing, the pantomime script should make you laugh from the moment you open the first page to the moment you close the last. No excuses, if there aren’t enough jokes, check in with the writer and ask if they can fit in some more one-liners and puns. This is the crux of whether the adults and children in the audience will really enjoy themselves.

Are the characters right for your performance?

Study the characters carefully, this can be make-or-break for your show. It’s about getting the balance right between characters you know you can cast, and those you will have to find at audition. I usually concentrate on the following aspects of the character:

  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Line distribution
  • Male/female distribution
  • Ages and any specific requirements for how the character looks

What are the scenery & costume requirements?

Your favourite script is no good if it’s going to blow your design budget out of the window! Trawl that pantomime script carefully for all mentioned of costume, set, props and work out how you can do it on as little budget as possible. Often, writers allow small cuts and ammendments to fit your group, so don’t worry if something is a bit too much, there are often creative ways to get around it.

For example, recently a group asked me to put in an extra page of scene for Aladdin to allow them more time to put the magic carpet scene in place behind the curtain. Easily done with enough notice!

Script Royalties

These vary vastly from writer to writer. You can find my rates here. Often these are linked to how many performances you put on, the size of your auditorium, percentage of box office etc. it really all comes down to your budget and how much of it you can put aside. But if you choose a script, and you really want it, you’ll pay the correct fees! Under no circumstances is it acceptable to use a writer’s work without their permission.

Length

As you might have heard, size matters. If you’re putting on a traditional pantomime, then you’re probably looking for a straight 2 act structure with 1 hour for act I and 50mins for act II. Often for village pantomime scripts or other formats like charity pantomimes, a shorter script is required – 60 to 75mins straight through. I can offer scripts with cut down characters and timings, like I recently did for City of Light Theatre‘s Jack and the Beanstalk. Just get in touch with me directly if you’d like to talk about a cut down script.

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