The following statistics are based on the National Database of Pantomime Performance’s data as of 5th December 2013.
Panto Season 2013
- 151 production companies
- First pantomime to open: Oldham Coliseum’s Jack and the Beanstalk on 16th November 2013
- Last pantomime to close: Brick Lane Music Halls' Big Dick Whittington on 8th March 2014.
Top Ten Titles
- Jack and the Beanstalk (39 productions)
- Cinderella (38 productions)
- Aladdin (31 productions)
- Snow White (24 productions)
- Sleeping Beauty (22 productions)
- Dick Whittington (18 productions)
- Peter Pan (15 productions)
- Beauty and the Beast (13 productions)
- Robin Hood / and the Babes in the Wood (8 productions)
- The Wizard of Oz (3 productions)
Comments, Observations and Reactions
- 10% of productions have a female Principal Boy
- This figure is based on the number the number of productions female Principal Boys appear in. Many of these theatres have large capacities and so a large percentage of the pantomime going audience still sees a female Principal Boy each season.
- We have no statistical data from previous years to determine whether this is an increase or decrease. 2013 is the National Database of Pantomime Performance’s inaugural year. In 2014 we will be able to begin comparing seasons year-on-year.
- The female Principal Boy was popular in Victorian pantomimes and although not present in 90% of 2013′s productions, aspects of her can still be seen in the revealing costumes of female Genies of the Lamp and Ring, Sultanas of Morocco, female Ensemble members’ costumes and those of Wicked Queens and Fairies.
- 16% of Jack and the Beanstalks this year have a female Principal Boy.
- Female Principal Boys can be found in 80 % of Imagine Theatre’s pantomimes and 83% of Jordan Productions’ pantomimes.
- Norman Wisdom played Principal Boy at the London Palladium in 1956 and began a casting trend at the theatre which continued until 1970 when Cilla Black played Aladdin.
- Some production companies opt for a combined Principal Boy and Comic, for example, in some productions Aladdin and Wishee Washee are merged to create a Comic Principal Boy.
- An increase in female-led narratives in the top five pantomimes produced each season has led to an increase in male Principal Boys being cast; Cinderella‘s plot revolves around romance, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White‘s narrative both require a kiss to awaken the Principal Girl.
- Titles such as The Wizard of Oz do not have an easily identifiable Principal Boy.
- Is the Dame dead?
- The Dame is an integral part of most pantomimes today.
- 100% of Jack and the Beanstalks and Aladdins this year have a Dame.
- Nottingham Playhouse’s Jack and the Beanstalk has two Dames and a female Principal Boy.
- Over 55% of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs have a pantomime Dame, with Leah Bell playing the UK’s only listed female Dame in a production of Snow White at the Empire Theatre, Consett. Lucy Mepsted and Natalie Sexton play female Ugly Sisters in the Emporium, Brighton’s production of Cinders. Female Ugly Sisters were last in Brighton at the Theatre Royal in 2007 when Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie played the roles.
- Over 25% of Peter Pans, a title embraced by pantomime in the 1990s, have now added a Dame to their production.