It’s December. It’s nearly Christmas. And it’s Panto time all over Northamptonshire, and throughout the country.
Some pantomimes have already opened, while it is ‘curtains up’ for many more this weekend. And while families will be flocking to their local show over the next month, they could well be joined in the audience by one of 25 judges for this year’s Great British Pantomime Awards.
The Great British Pantomime Awards was launched four years ago by local actor and director Sam Munday-Webb, to celebrate the very best of an iconic British theatrical tradition. The event has fast established itself as one of theatre’s biggest ceremonies.
And as the Panto gets up and running, a team of 25 judges are embarking on a hectic schedule of attending, between them, a performance of every production in the UK with a professional cast and crew, which runs for more than 20 days, and does so in a theatre with a capacity over 450, or the equivalent, based on venue size and length of run.
There are 25 categories at the Great British Pantomime Awards, ranging from Best Double Act to Best Dame; from Best Director to Best Choreography; from Best Newcomer to Best Comic.
And for the first time since the Great British Pantomime Awards was launched four years ago, there is a category this year for Best Panto Cow!
“Everyone loves a Panto cow, or sometimes a horse, which usually involving two performers, who – working together as a team – make an awesome contribution to the enjoyment of a show for the audience, so we’ve decided it should be rewarded,” said Sam, from Brackley, who himself is directing, and appearing in, ‘Cinderella’ at The Deco Theatre in Northampton.
“This year, we’re doing just that, and they’ve been given have their own category.
“The Panto awards have gone from strength to strength since we launched them four years ago, and we’re looking forward to another awesome night celebrating all that’s good about British Pantomime at the New Wimbledon Theatre on April 28th next year.”
Judges are selected from a range of backgrounds for their knowledge and passion for pantomime, including industry professionals, theatre academics, media professionals, and members of the public, selected for their enthusiasm and understanding of Pantomime.
Said Daniel Dawson, who co-founded the Great British Pantomime Awards with Sam: “I am delighted we’ve been able to add, this year, to our already diverse and experienced team of judges, and I’m confident this will add to the debate, and the challenge, when nominations and winners are decided – and this can only be good for the Awards as an event.”
For more information about the Great British Pantomime Awards https://www.pantomimeawards.co.uk