“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” Dr Seuss.
Radical Pantomime Courses introduce young writers to creating comic stories for their local communities. They show how comedy is a socially powerful tool for bringing communities together. The images of different audiences watching a comic pantomime testify to the on-going tradition of comic pantomime in English theatre, as we see below in the illustration an …
Projects interactively compare past cultural ideologies and technologies with contemporary ones. Students learning that entrepreneurship was never ‘value-free’ or deserving of unquestioned imitation. As the historical evidence suggests, entrepreneurs were not successful because they offered a ‘sure thing’. Rather, they set up a productive ‘ecosystem’ in which they were able to explore different possibilities more successfully than their competitors.
Pantomime productions should be contextualised within the substantial body of ‘post-colonial’ research which implicates theatre industries in European and English colonialism and the racism which arose from imperialist ideologies. The theatre historians and cultural theorists that have informed us how this occurred globally include Veronica Kelly, Helen Gilbert, Jacqueline Lo, Jacky Bratton, Jim Davis and Tracey C. Davis.
We believe that there are key examples from theatre history which show how the performing arts have been a vital part of creating entrepreneurial cultures globally. Indeed, Dr Fantasia’s doctoral research Entrepreneurs, Empires and Pantomimes (1997) discovered many pantomime productions, staged between the 1850s to the 1920s, which ‘fit the bill’. The productions are unlike the Cinderellas, Aladdins and Sinbads that are staged today. Rather, they offer a radical alternative that explores themes such as women’s rights, the spread of democracy, cultural diversity, civil rights, racial prejudice, gender roles and sexual identity. Although no longer staged, this older form of pantomime has a more direct line to the Commedia dell’Arte origins of the form that satirises the greed, cowardice and morally reprehensible nature of autocratic power (i.e Pantalone, Dottore etc). They particularly demonstrate the quick-wittedness of Arlecchino and Colombina and other Zanni via their anti-heroic, nonsensical antics of surviving difficulties and dilemmas.