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Science Museum Live: The Energy Show

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Story Makers

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Sing and Sign Stage 1 (6-18 Months)

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Sing And Sign Stage 2 (1 - 2½ Years)

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Rich Hall

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Under Milk Wood

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Blithe Spirit

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A Number

A Number

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Blithe Spirit

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The Book

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13

13

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The Gondoliers

Sat 26 Apr

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Words & Whippets

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Pinocchio The Musical

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Avenue Q

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Science Museum Live: The Energy Show

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Peter And The Wolf

Peter And The Wolf

Fri 13 Jun

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Singamajigs

Tue 04 Mar - Tue 01 Jul

Story Makers

Story Makers

Wed 19 Feb - Wed 09 Jul

Sing and Sign Stage 1 (6-18 Months)

Sing and Sign Stage 1 (6-18 Months)

Mon 17 Feb - Mon 21 Jul

Sing And Sign Stage 2 (1 - 2½ Years)

Sing And Sign Stage 2 (1 - 2½ Years)

Mon 17 Feb - Mon 21 Jul

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The Wind In The Willows

Thu 31 Jul - Sat 30 Aug

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Spiltmilk say Dance

Spiltmilk say Dance

Wed 21 May

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Words & Whippets

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Play In A Day

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Project Q

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Singamajigs

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Play Reading Circle

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Story Makers

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Sing and Sign Stage 1 (6-18 Months)

Sing and Sign Stage 1 (6-18 Months)

Mon 17 Feb - Mon 21 Jul

Sing And Sign Stage 2 (1 - 2½ Years)

Sing And Sign Stage 2 (1 - 2½ Years)

Mon 17 Feb - Mon 21 Jul

A Great Dame

Mon 03 Dec 2012

A Great Dame

When we meet Berwick, he's still in the middle of writing this year's script - the 31st script he's written for aYork panto. "Over the years the audience here have dictated to all of us what's acceptable and what's not, what they find funny and what they don't, and staying in the same place makes all the difference. I go on there and say 'it's the same rubbish as last year, why don't you spend your money on something else?'"

The art of pantomime

Of course, it isn't the same rubbish every year - Berwick writes each panto fresh, so that the audience can enjoy new jokes. He's a great believer in making the panto have a local feel, too. "Good oldYorkshirefolk aren't going to spend their money unless they're entertained, so the panto has to be different," he says. "I can't tell you why they come en mass - people who come to the panto know who I am, and the panto has a national reputation, but I'm not a star name. We fill this theatre purely on the art of pantomime - it's got all the ingredients of what people used to give them in the old days. I don't mean the 1960s shows that nearly killed pantomime with all the stars of yesterday whose career was on the decline, but the pantos of the 1900s that they used to do atDrury Lane."

Berwick says that's what they try to recreate - except atDrury Laneit wouldn't be odd to see 12 elephants cross the stage. "I'm sorry but we can't afford that!" Berwick laughs, "but we can give the audience a dog on a stick or something! You've got to use your imagination. Yes, the script can be complicated, but the art is to tell a joke so that a child in the audience doesn't turn to mum or dad and say 'what does that mean?' or if there's something that they really won't understand, that the next gag is visual. I know it's a cliché, but no-one is bored. If you're bored in one of our pantomimes you don't have a sense of humour."

Anarchy in the UK

So what's this year's panto about? "It's the same as last year but with a different title," Berwick jokes. "Not really, it's Robin Hood mixed with Babes in the Woods. The story revolves about protecting these two children from the evil Sherriff. The dame, Hattie Hood, has two sons - one is Robin, who she thinks is an accountant who's doing really well for himself as he has his own forest, and the other is an out of work pole dancer on benefits. It's a bit different from what you'd expect. It's a bit anarchic."

Berwick adds that Robin Hood is the only English pantomime story, which is one of the reasons why he was attracted to it. "A few years ago we premiered Dick Turpin - I was baffled as to why no-one had done it before, as he died here and he's buried up the road!" adds Berwick. "You've always got to think, right, we've got a national reputation, but essentially we're a little local pantomime group who think they're the Palladium, and you have to keep it local too. Pantomime is the last bastion of local community theatre, and you've got to treat it like that. We have visitors from all over the world, and the country, and it is accessible to all, but I'll go to my grave saying it's a little local pantomime."

Read the article on the Your Local Link website.

 

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