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!