A lot of work goes into creating a pantomime, with many highly experienced, talented creatives coming together to craft a fantastic show. Here we’re exploring the roles of those key individuals playing instrumental roles in the show.
Many will say the show cannot go on without the producer and this is certainly the case. The pantomime’s producer is the organisational master of the entire production. They have creative and organisational control over the show and are usually the original brains behind the idea. Producers may also be responsible for financing a show or finding finance for it, and they are essentially responsible for ensuring the panto is a huge hit.
As the name suggests, the director is in charge of the practical management and direction of the pantomime. They will manage the hiring of actors, schedule and run rehearsals and keep both the cast and crew on task and ready for the show, including running dress rehearsals and the tech session.
Pantomime writers craft the script and framework for the show. You need a good writer to give a classic pantomime story the twist it needs to be a hit today. Writers may also work alongside composers or lyricists as the original musical numbers in the show need writing and composing too. Writers work closely with the producer and the show’s director to create a workable script and edit it as they go along to create the best possible panto.
Your musical director is different from a composer or lyricist as they run the musical element of the show as it is taking place. They will be involved in the rehearsal of all musical numbers and sourcing singers and musical performers. Pantomimes require experienced musical directors as there are many songs and musical numbers throughout the show.
Every pantomime needs dancing to accompany the singing in those musical numbers. Your choreographer is responsible for creating these dance numbers and teaching the cast how to perform them to perfection. The choreographer will also help to organise and plan the fight scenes and those seemingly impromptu moments of madness and slapstick, yes, they’re often choreographed too. When done well, your choreographer and musical director’s work will be a triumph and work seamlessly together.
The set designer will work closely with the director to design and manage the scenic arrangements for the show. They will create a design which will be transformed into 3D projections or crafted from wooden elements and printed backdrops. All elements for all scenes will be crafted and tested and they will work closely with the lighting designer and the special effects designer too to ensure a seamless show which suspends reality and draws the audience in.
Lighting designers are in control of all elements of lighting and strobes throughout the show. They will create a wondrous light show within the budget provided. They work closely with the set and special effects designer to ensure everything works well together. It is a highly technical role, and they will work alongside specialist lighting programmers to programme the lighting for the show into the lighting board of the pantomime venue. Key elements of lighting include spotlights in the correct places to focus on particular characters and using lighting to build atmosphere.
Special Effects Designer
Special effects designers take control of all those amazing and mesmerising elements of your favourite show. They will manage the classic pyrotechnics you expect when particular characters step on stage and carefully plan the safe flight in flying scenes. As technology advances, the wonders that special effects designers can create get even more advanced and fascinating.
Working very closely with the set designer and other creatives on the crew, the costume designer will draft designs of the costumes for each character and then once approved, they will work closely with a team of dressmakers and costume makers. They will fit each costume to the cast member. Cast members tend to be very involved in the costume process as they need to feel comfortable and able to move in their costume, especially if there’s a lot of dramatic performing involved like in pantomimes.
Creative excellence crafting a fantastic show
Pantomime is a huge amount of fun for everyone who sees it and it is great fun for the cast and crew too. However, there’s a great deal of work that goes into making the fantastic show and you’ve got the creatives above, and their extensive teams, to thank for every pantomime you’ve seen.
If this has whetted your appetite for seeing a pantomime this year, why not book your tickets to watch Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs at Bournemouth Pavilion from 3 - 31 December 2023. Click here to book your tickets now!