Curtain due up on Halifax Victoria Theatre panto - why you should see it

Panto at the Victoria Theatre, Halifax
Panto at the Victoria Theatre, Halifax

It’s that time of the year again  -oh yes it is - when the Victoria Theatre Halifax is gearing up for the quintessentially British tradition of pantomime.

This year the Victoria Theatre will be home to Beauty and the Beast from Saturday December 14 to Sunday January 5.

Statistics show that pantomime is often a child’s first introduction to live theatre. Annually, professional theatres up and down the country report pantomime to be their most attended production of the calendar and many rely on the income it brings in to support or sustain the venue for the rest of the year.

Statistics also show that a significant percentage of audiences visiting pantomimes attend in either school groups for an educational visit or as families spending time together, making precious memories that will last a lifetime.

Sarah Boden, director of Imagine Theatre, the Victoria Theatre’s pantomime production partner, said: “I can still clearly remember the first time I walked into that magical auditorium with my parents. The wonders which unfolded on the stage sparked a lifelong passion in me, and ultimately a whole career.

"It was an annual tradition for us, one of the only times in the whole year we spent time as a whole family and did something together that we could all enjoy.

"To this day I still keep that same tradition with my own family. After selfies in the foyer, it’s time to put down our phones, stop looking at screens and to spend some quality time together having a good laugh and joining in with the on-stage antics and shout outs.

"There’s no Brexit in panto - apart from the occasional corny joke -, it’s weatherproof and suitable for everyone in the family, not just the children."

Pantomime is stacked with tradition but is also bang up to date.

From the call outs of ‘oh yes you have’ and ‘its behind you’, to the pantomime dames and the traditional routines which form the basis of a traditional pantomime, you’ll be amazed how much interaction there is, how astonishing the special effects are, how current the music is, and how much fun it is to join in and take part.

We’re the only country in the world to have panto so that makes us the world experts,

"We do it brilliantly and we get to experience it every Christmas. We are also the guardians of a tradition that needs to be passed down for generations to come. A traditional pantomime has all the elements you’ve come to expect – plenty of humour, fabulous music, a great story, some corny jokes and plenty of audience participation, yet at the same time riding the wave of current entertainment and technology trends.”

Tickets for Beauty and the Beast at the Victoria Theatre start from £16 for the opening weekend. There are also accessible performances, such as side of stage and integrated British Sign Language interpreted performances and a relaxed performance for those who might benefit from a more relaxed atmosphere with fewer flashes and bangs, and provides more freedom for audience members to move around.

Relaxed performances are ideal for those with learning difficulties, dementia, autism and families with young children. With a range of show times, performance types and ticket prices, there really is a performance to suit everyone.

Tickets are available from £16. Purchase tickets online, or by calling the box office on 01422 351158.