Rapunzel Production Team

I asked a few questions of the directors and the writers about the CUACD/Footlights Pantomime about what makes this year’s show special. The Pantomime, a fixture in the Cambridge theatre calendar, opens on November 24th at the ADC Theatre and runs until December 4th.

Stanley to the Directors: Where on original vs traditional scale would you say this panto falls? Are there places you’ve deviated from trad panto, places you’ve stuck to the format?

Elliot Aitken and Flo Winkley: Something that’s been important to us has been including many of the Panto traditions. My favourite Pantos have always been regional ones (like in my hometown Lowestoft) have been ones that include cheesy regional jokes, like the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin being like a local nightclub. However, being able to inject queer culture into the show has also been very important. Already the tradition of the Pantomime dame has such strong ties to playing with gender & expression. It’s been so important to honour our culture and history before us, so that the themes of the play feel authentic & not exploitative. Particularly as a trans director with experience of doing drag - shoutout to my Dragtime family- it has been so fun teaching everyone about our community and thinking how the show can be not only educational, but with in-jokes and fun for the queer community.

A lot of the time there can be the onus for productions to be aimed solely at teaching and educating a straight audience, which can be exhausting for the queer community: I hope that we’ve balanced the two and everyone finds something that they can enjoy here. Similarly, in trying to think about how to keep the story accessible, I’ve done a lot of work in creating a relaxed performance which really means a lot to me as someone with sensory issues. This mixture of reimagining the traditions but deviating with a focus on accessibility and inclusivity has been really rewarding and something I hope that other shows continue - it would be amazing to see more relaxed performances in Cambridge!

Stanley: How has rehearsing it been - has the process been quite collaborative or fairly director led? How has having such a huge cast and prod team affecting your preparation?

“It has been so rewarding to brainstorm & tailor their characters to ensure they’re having fun”

It’s been a lot of work but very fun! It honestly feels like I’ve spent most days at the ADC this term but it’s been so good. It was really important to me to try to keep the show as accessible and inclusive as possible, in a practical sense, which meant doing lots of prep work with workshops demystifying the audition process and clear audition packs, as well as thinking about how we can keep it approachable for BIPOC, transgender & fresher performers - all of whom we really wanted to encourage to take part! Everyone in the cast is so talented and it’s been so rewarding to brainstorm & tailor their characters to ensure they’re having fun and enjoying their time. Equally, there are so many talented people backstage & in the band - we’re so thankful for anyone who has helped us bring this wild show to life.


Mountain View

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot: ‘polished and outrageously funny’

Stanley to the Writers: How has the process of writing and seeing your work being staged been?

Sophie Stemmons, Libby Thornton and Izzie Harding Perrot: Writing this pantomime has been an absolute dream come true for us; to be able to place queer narratives at the forefront feels like we are finally fulfilling the representation we all personally wish we had growing up. As three queer people our message of self-love is one that we are passionate about spreading, but on a more basic level it has just been so much fun to write! We wrote most of the script during a chaotically hilarious week together over summer and the end product definitely reflects that total joy (and slight delirium) that went into our writing.