Amateur panto v professional panto: What’s the difference?

After three years in the chorus of a professional panto, sadly my daughter was forced to look for an alternative this year, after the theatre decided they were going to work with specific dance schools rather than hold open auditions.

So my daughter is in an amateur panto this year. I don’t doubt that she will have an amazing time, but there are a lot of differences between the two.

First and foremost of course, one is amateur and the other is professional. Amateur actors are very good, but they’re not professionals.

Secondly, while the professional panto is on throughout December, the amateur panto isn’t actually on until January.

Rehearsals for the professional panto would normally start this week (those memories are going to make this week pretty tough for us), but rehearsals for the amateur panto started in September.

The professional panto is very intense, which is what makes it so special. For eight weeks, my daughter (and my whole family) eats, sleeps and breathes panto. She is at the theatre every day for nearly three weeks for rehearsals, then at least three days a week for performances, usually with two performances a day.

The amateur panto rehearses once a week for the first few weeks, increasing to twice a week in December. She will have a total of 21 rehearsals, compared to an average of 17 for the professional panto.

The professional panto is on for four or five weeks. The amateur panto is on for just four days and a total of five performances.

The professional panto has a small cast – just seven adult actors and a chorus of eight or nine kids. The amateur panto has a huge cast, consisting of the main cast, both a children’s and adults’ chorus and dancers.

I have no doubt that my daughter will enjoy her amateur panto experience, although it is very different and there are probably still more differences to come.

Currently, she is getting angry every time she sees an advert for her usual panto on the side of her bus and I totally feel her pain. There are certain people we will both need to avoid on social media when the professional panto opens.

Panto, Daughter, Amateur panto v professional panto what's the difference

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Must be so hard seeing things for the professional panto everywhere, and I know the pain she went through when they changed things. Hopefully she will have just as good an experience this year as the past few years, and no doubt she will shine on stage x

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    • Thanks very much, I’m sure she will! She’s enjoying the experience so far, but missing that ‘panto bubble’ that she’s used to. I swear there are way more adverts on buses for her usual panto this year! We see them everywhere!

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  2. Ahh I felt terrible for her about the professional panto. I hope she is enjoying the amateur one and fingers crossed the theatre have an about turn next year. The two do sound very different.

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    • Thanks very much. They’re are really different, but she is enjoying the amateur one, thank goodness! It will be interesting to see how different they are on stage. I’m still hopeful the theatre will change their mind next year, especially as it will probably be her last one as she will be in year 9. x

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  3. I felt so bad when she stopped being able to try out for the Professional one. I know how much she loved it and how much hard work she put in. I’m glad she is enjoying the amature one. They do sound different, but hope she enjoys it xx

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    • Thanks very much. She is enjoying it, but there definitely isn’t the same level of excitement as for the professional one. It still makes me sad and angry when I think about it. x

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  4. I hope she enjoys this one as much and that she gets another chance at the professional panto in a future year.

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    • Thanks very much, I really hope so too! More than likely next year would be her last year, as she will be year 9, so it would be lovely if she could have one more chance.

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  5. IT must be really hard for her to see the adverts for the professional panto, I still can’t believe that they changed the rules the way they did. Good on you for finding this show for her to do, I know it isn’t the same but hopefully, she will enjoy it and it will take her mind off the other one.

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    • Thanks very much. It is really helping her to have something else to focus on, although it’s definitely not the same experience! I swear there’s more adverts for the professional panto than usual though.

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