When my daughter got into the panto for the first time last year, I said she could do it in year 5 and then not again until year 8. Because year 6 is important, with SATs, and year 7 is important, as she will be settling into her new secondary school.
I’d changed my mind about year 6 before the first week of rehearsals had even ended. Year 6 isn’t THAT important (shh – don’t tell any teachers I said that!). Yes, there’s SATs, but they’re more about the school than the child. And she’s really capable and will pass them easily anyway. And they’re not until May – five months after the panto.
So she’s doing the panto this year.
But not in year 7. She’ll have to settle into her new grammar school. And the auditions are in the middle of September and she’ll only have been there a couple of weeks. And… OK, I admit it. I’m crumbling a bit about year 7. It’s looking about 60/40 in favour of her doing the panto in year 7 right now.
There is a girl in the other team (she was in my daughter’s team last year) who is on her SEVENTH panto. There are other girls who are on their fifth. It’s addictive and, once you start, it’s very hard to stop. The girl on her seventh was in year 10 last year. I couldn’t believe anyone would do panto and miss school in YEAR TEN. She cried because she thought she couldn’t go back in year 11.
But she’s back. And there’s another girl in year 11 too. And there’s a fair few in year 10.
The plan for my daughter was always year 9, then stop.
I told my husband there are girls in year 11 doing the panto and I couldn’t believe it. And he shocked me by saying that he would be happy for my daughter to do it in year 11, as long as she was keeping up with her school work. This from the man who is constantly on my eldest’s back for not doing enough revision for his GCSE mocks.
So if my husband would be happy with year 11, I guess year 10 would be no problem at all?
Realistically, I can’t see my daughter doing the panto in year 11. Most schools have mocks before Christmas and they can’t miss mocks for panto, nor can they miss panto for mocks. When you sign up for the chorus, you are committing to attend every single rehearsal and every single performance – that’s 18 rehearsals and 28 performances. There is the possibility of swapping a performance with your ‘double’ from the other team, but they aren’t obliged to swap.
So how many pantos will my daughter do? It’s definitely going to be a lot more than my original estimate of three. Although I don’t think she’ll quite make it to seven!