The panto: It’s all over

So that’s it then. After eight weeks, the panto is all over.

Three rehearsal weeks, five performance weeks, 18 rehearsals, 28 performances, 15 performance days.

There have been 10am performances, 11am performances, 1.30pm performances, 2pm performances, 2.30pm performances, 5.30pm performances and a single, solitary 7.30pm performance. They’ve performed on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

And now it’s all over.

It’s been eight weeks of fun and friendship. Eight weeks of hard work. Eight weeks of singing and dancing. Of hair and make-up and costumes. Of living in a little panto bubble, where your panto friends become your best friends.

Every day there’s a little story – a hat fallen off or left on stage, a forgotten pair of jazz shoes, a plait which came undone, a forgotten line, some trousers that nearly fell down. These little shared moments become priceless memories. They make the panto the special experience that it is.

Where else would 9 year olds hang out with 17 year olds, with none of the hierarchy of school? How else could you miss school completely legitimately?

For a 10 year old dancer, what could be cooler than taking part in a professional production, with professional actors, in a professional theatre? For a child living outside London, panto is pretty much their only opportunity to work in a professional role in a theatre.

And now it’s over. It leaves a gaping hole in my daughter’s life, and in all our lives. For those eight weeks, panto was everything.

The final performance was brilliant and my daughter and her friends had a lovely day, but there were tears at the end. At the moment she doesn’t know what she’s going to do with herself. She’s feeling pretty down about it. The panto is such a high.

January is a pretty difficult time for the best thing in your life to come to an end. It’s cold, it’s dark and there’s not a lot to look forward to, but she’s got extra ballet classes and Young Voices coming up. The end of panto has left a big hole in her life, and in all our lives, but she’ll get over it and she has some very happy memories.

And my daughter will be back. Will it be next year? Maybe not. I want to be sure she’s settled in her new school before we commit to another panto. There are also rumours that her preferred school will only let kids do panto once, not the three or four times she’d like to do it while she’s at secondary school. But, one way or another, she’ll be back.

Now we just have to find the positives in January and the next few months. Oh yes we do!

Panto, Daughter, Ballet, 365

Author: Sarah Mummy

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18 Comments

  1. Sarah,

    There’s no business like show business! (Cue Ethel Merman…)

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    • There certainly isn’t 🙂

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  2. Ah bless her, I can’t imagine how she must be feeling now it’s all over for another year. I am sure she will bounce back and thankfully she has some things to look forward to. I bet you miss it too x

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    • Thank you! I definitely do miss it! After a couple of days of being miserable, I realised she was coping much better this year than last year. I think it’s because she has extra ballet classes to do – and she’s got a nicer teacher at school. She hated going back to school last year 🙁 x

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  3. Aww! Bless her….I can understand why she feels a little lost now the Panto has finished. It always sounds like she put’s her all into it….I hope she can find something to occupy her time. x

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    • Thanks very much! She’s actually coping a lot better than last year, after initially being worse! She has new ballet classes to do, so that’s given her a new focus. x

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  4. Backstage cast and crew at a panto really is a special thing. You form your rituals and create great bonds. I have been there a number of times – and I remember the after-show blues all too well! Here’s to the next one! Glad to hear she had such a great time x

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    • Thanks very much! How exciting that you’ve done it yourself. x

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  5. Oh no you don’t – sorry couldn’t resist that! This has been a major commitment hasn’t it – but sounds like an amazing experience for your talented daughter. I can imagine the buzz she gets from performing – but would never have the guts to do it myself! Well done to her xx

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    • Thanks very much! It really is the best experience for her. I performed as a teenager, but only acting – I couldn’t sing or dance to save my life! x

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  6. Hard work, but she clearly loved it. It’s a pity there aren’t more opportunities locally.

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    • Thanks, she really did love it! You have to live in London for West End shows and the touring shows tend to use kids from London too. Not that I think she’d like touring!

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  7. Oh gosh I can’t believe she’s not going to do it next year, it’s like an institution! I’m glad she’s had such a wonderful time and I’m sure there will soon be something else to fill the hole.
    Nat.x

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    • Thanks very much! We really want her to do it next year, but her education has to come first and it really depends on the school. Luckily doing extra ballet this term is filling the hole a bit. x

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  8. It must be such a massive come-down for her after such an intense few weeks but so good that she loves it so much.

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    • I’m pleased to say that, after a couple of down days, she’s bounced back a lot quicker than she did last year. It really has been an amazing experience for her.

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  9. And perhaps don’t tell her yet that her new school *might* not let her do it as often as she would like! I guess you never know but for most schools, academia comes higher up the list sadly. I’m not sure that most secondary schools would allow it. But what amazing memories she has and experiences. I’m certain she will be back and doing bigger things in later life. I can only imagine how she feels right now 🙁 xx

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    • Unfortunately, she was the one who told me that her preferred school might not allow it! 🙁 Nearly all of the girls on the chorus are at secondary school – 16 out of 20 this year – and most of them have done the panto multiple times. One of the girls who is at a different grammar school has done it three times, so who knows what will happen? But she’s had an amazing time and has bounced back quicker this year. x

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