Australian performers have been appearing in UK pantomimes since 1897,  when Florrie Forde appeared in three separate London productions.  Since then, many well-known Australians have donned wigs and greasepaint to portray Fairy Godmothers, Princes Charming, Wicked Queens and Pirates during the traditional UK "panto" season over Christmas and New Year.

Australians travelling overseas to gain experience and training, or to establish expatriate careers, has long been a feature of the Australian performing arts landscape. With the enormous popularity of Australian television soap operas in the UK over the past two decades, British panto entrepreneurs found the presence of a ‘soapie star’ a sure way to attract young audiences and fill seats. This ‘Aussie Invasion’ caused consternation in the ranks of the British acting fraternity, with Actors Equity attempting to get the British Government to refuse the Australians work permits.  As long as the TV series was popular however, the practice continued.

The National Library has documented this phenomenon since the early 1980s by collecting a sample of the printed ephemera produced for UK pantos featuring Australians. This acquisition activity supports the Library’s performing arts collection, which gives priority to documenting the activities of Australian performing artists overseas.

It might be behind you!

The Library is keen to fill the gaps in this collection of pantomimes staged in the UK, and featuring Australians. If you can help us locate copies of any of the items listed below, or could help us by donating them to the Library, simply let us know.  Please direct all enquiries and offers of materials to select@nla.gov.au.

The Adventures of Pinocchio

  • 2008; Grand Theatre and Opera House (Leeds, England) featuring Jonathan Summers

Aladdin

  • 199?; 16 December-9 January - Empire Theatre (Sunderland, England) featuring Kate Ritchie, Tina Thomsen and Benjamin Grant Mitchell
  • 1995; Grand Opera House (Belfast, Northern Ireland) featuring Anne Charleston
  • 1998; Playhouse Theatre (Salisbury, England) featuring Stan Pretty
  • 2001-2002; The Marlowe Theatre (Canterbury, Kent England) featuring Daniel MacPherson
  • 2005-2006; White Rock Theatre (Hastings England) featuring Ian Smith
  • 2006-2007; Hazlitt Theatre (Maidstone, Kent England) featuring Bananas in Pyjamas
  • 2007-2008; Civic Theatre (Rotherham, South Yorkshire England) featuring Amy Mizzi  

Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves

  • 1998; The Hawth (Crawley, West Sussex England) featuring Sarah Vandenbergh

Babes in the Wood

  • 1994; Saddler’s Wells (London, England) featuring Julia Mullins

Beast

  • 1994; 22-26 March - Pomegranate Theatre (Chesterfield, Derbyshire England)  featuring Benjamin Grant Mitchell

Beauty and the Beast

  • 1999; Tyne Theatre and Opera House (Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland England) featuring Kate Ritchie
  • 2003; The Grand Pavilion (Porthcawl, Wales) featuring Richard Grieve

Cinderella

  • 1995; Civic Theatre (Darlington, Co. Durham) featuring Gayle and Gillian Blakeney
  • 1999; Lyceum Theatre (Sheffield, South Yorkshire England) featuring Jansen Spencer  
  • 2000-2001; The Hexagon Theatre (Reading England) featuring Kym Valentine
  • 2001-2002; The Gatehouse Theatre (Stafford, Staffordhire England) featuring Andrew Bibby and Jackie Woodburne
  • 2003; Gala Theatre (Durham, England) featuring Bananas in Pyjamas
  • 2004-2005; Theatre Royal (Lincoln, Lincolnshire England) featuring Lynne McGranger
  • 2006-2007; Broadway Theatre (Catford, London England) featuring Richard Greive
  • 2006-2007; White Rock Theatre (Hastings, East Sussex England) featuring Lynne McGranger
  • 2007-2008; Grand Opera House (Belfast, Northern Island) featuring Patrick Harvey
  • 2007-2008; Gordon Craig Theatre (Stevenage, England) featuring Ben Nicholas
  • 2007-2008; Assembly Hall Theatre (Tunbridge Wells, Kent England) featuring Jason Smith
  • 14 December 2007 – 6 January 2008; The Grand Opera House (York, North Yorkshire England) featuring Ian Smith
  • 2009; The Old Dairy (Bournemouth, Dorset, England) featuring Craig McLachlan
  • 2008-2009; The Mayflower (Southampton, England) featuring Craig McLachlan
  • 2009-2010; Grand Theatre (Barnstaple, Devon, England) featuring Stan Pretty  

Dick Whittington

  • 1998; Lyceum Theatre (Crewe, England) featuring Richard Norton
  • 10 December 2003 – 4 January 2004; Tameside Hippodrome (Ashton under Lyne, England) featuring Mark Rafferty

Jack and the Beanstalk

  • 2001-2002; Southport Theatre (Southport, Merseyside England) featuring Lynne McGranger
  • 2003; Palace Theatre (Mansfield, England) featuring Anne Charleston
  • 2005-2006; Flambards (Helson, Cornwall England) featuring Bananas in Pyjamas
  • 2007-2008; New Hull Theatre (Kingston upon Hull, England) featuring Daniel O’Connor
  • 2007-2008; Queen’s Theatre (Barnstaple, England) featuring Stan Pretty
  • 2007-2008; Yvonne Arnaud Theatre (Guildford, England) featuring Liza Goddard
  • 2010-2011; The King’s Theatre (Southsea, Hants. England) featuring Lynne McGranger

Mother Goose

  • 198?; Charter Theatre (Preston, England) featuring Kristian Schmid as ‘Colin’
  • 2005-2006; Theatre Royal (Bath, England) featuring Anne Charleston 
  • 2006-2007; The Theatre (Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire England) featuring Stan Pretty

Peter Pan

  • 1999; Melton Theatre (Malton Mowbray, Leicestershire England) featuring Kristy Wright
  • 2002-2003; North Wales Theatre (Llandudno, Wales) featuring Ray Meagher
  • 2006-2007; Pavilion Theatre (Worthing, England) featuring Patrick Harvey

Sleeping Beauty

  • 2007-2008; Hazlitt Theatre (Maidstone, Ken England) featuring Beau Brady

Snow White

  • 1995; Mansfield Community Arts Centre (Mansfield, Notts. England) featuring Melissa Bell 
  • 2001-2002; Pavilion Theatre (Worthing, West Sussex England) featuring Jackie Woodburne
  • 2002-2003; Tameside Hippodrome (Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire England) featuring Ben Steele 
  • 2004-2005; White Rock Theatre (Hastings, East Sussex England) featuring Jaason Simmons and Ben Steel 
  • 15 December 2005 – 8 January 2006; Grand Opera House (York, Yorkshire England) featuring Mark Rafferty
  • 2007-2008; Civic Theatre (Doncaster England) featuring Trent Baines
  • 2007-2008; Pavillion Theatre (Weymouth, Dorset England) featuring Eliza Taylor Cotter
  • 2008-2009; Pavillion Theatre (Worthing, West Sussex England) featuring Mark Little
  • 2009-2010; Watersmeet Theatre (Rickmansworth, Herts. England) featuring Richard Grieve
  • 2009-2010; Grand Opera House (York, North Yorkshire England) featuring Lynne McGranger
  • 2009-2010; Llandudno Venue Cymru (Llandudno, North Wales) featuring Craig Revel Horwood  
  • 2010-2011; The Hawth (Crawley, West Sussex England) featuring Craig Revel Horwood 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

  • 1996; Theatre Royal (Brighton, Sussex England) featuring Ian Rawlings