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Writing a Bespoke Pantomime Script

Artwork by Alex Jackson Creative

Recently I received a request to write a bespoke pantomime script for a group with some special requirements for their production. North Herts Inclusive Arts are an accesible arts group who aim to bring the joy of the arts to those who might usually be excluded from mainstream theatrical activities. I was so excited when I read the email, and right away my writing brain was in overdrive about all of the exciting possibilities this script could have!

Don’t forget, I’ll always adapt my existing scripts to fit your group better if you need. This can even include replacing scenes/characters, adding new characters and boiling down existing scripts to a 1 hour/smaller cast format (see Jack and the Beanstalk by City of Light Theatre)

So I thought I’d write this blog post explaining how easy it is to commission a bespoke script, and have it ready to perform in as little as a month!

Step 1 – Decide on a title

There’s a whole range of titles to pick from. You’ve got your more traditional pantomime titles:

  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Cinderella
  • Aladdin
  • Peter Pan
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Dick Whittington
  • Mother Goose
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Robin Hood
  • Ali Baba and the Forty Theives

And then theres the fun in adapting other fairytales or titles that have fallen out of regular circulation:

  • Puss in Boots
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • Treasure Island
  • The Snow Queen
  • King Arthur

There are so many possibilities to pick from, so you can really design a panto to suit your group the best.

Step 2 – The Details

Next is to decide what other parts of the bespoke pantomime are important to you. Some things to think about are:

  • How many characters would you like (Male/Female)?
  • How many scenes would you like?
  • Would you like a full-length panto, or perhaps a one-act structure?
  • Do you have specific set or costume requirements?

I will take all of these specifications into account when writing the script.

Step 3 – The Outline

With all of the details above confirmed, I will then draw up:

  • Draft character list
  • Draft scene list
  • Draft song list
  • Draft outline plot for the show

These form the basis of the finished script by laying out exactly how the pantomime will work. If adapting a fairytale with a lesser-known title, I often need to invent the traditional pantomime characters and routines within the story. In Puss in Boots for example, I have created ‘Betty Boot’ the dame who will lead much of the comedy action.

Step 4 – Draft the Script

The next step is to actually write the script. This is the part which takes the longest, but it’s always well worth the wait. When the finished draft arrives you’ll be able to see your pantomime come to life on stage as you read it.

Step 5 – Revisions

Once you have read the draft scripts, you would send any revisions back for me to work on. This is your chance to further sculpt and have input on your script. Does it need more slapstick? Perhaps you’d like to local place names and specific songs inserted throughout. I can adapt however you would best like.

Step 6 – Delivery of Rehearsal Draft

This is the most exciting part of the process, the delivery of the rehearsal draft to your inbox ready for you to begin holding auditions and rehearsing your show. It’s a wonderful feeling to be ready to start on your production, and of course there’s still opportunity to make changes if you need to!

Find out more

Find out more about bespoke scripts and how to go about ordering one here.

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