Small Business Spotlight on: Panto Ever After

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Scott from Panto Ever After took some time out of Nanny Fanny’s busy beauty-sleep schedule to fill us in!

Can you introduce your business in ten words or less?
Theatre production company that creates original quality pantomimes for all.

How long has your business been running and what drove you to start? 
We have been operating as a business since 2015 delivering large scale corporate team building events, but have been producing our own professional pantomimes since 2018. As directors of our company we are both trained actors, and have over 50 years between us in appearing in pantomimes, and thought that in some cases, people were missing out because of the prices of the tickets some companies were charging, so let’s create our own productions and work on making them more affordable so more families can see them and fewer children miss out. 

Where is your business based? 
We are based in the village of Flockton, with our workshop facilities in Huddersfield. 

What are your most popular services? And why do you think this is popular with customers? 
People who have seen one of our productions always tell us that it was so different from any other pantomime they have ever seen, and will definitely be back next year.  This could be for lots of reasons, of course; we write our own scripts, we cast local professional actors and use local dance schools, but I think one of the main reasons is we don’t do our shows up on a stage like traditional theatres, we perform our pantomimes in traverse style in the centre of the theatre. Audiences sit on either side of the stage, where the show is staged more like a tennis court. This means that the audience is even closer to the characters and feel far more involved in everything that is happening right in front of them. Every seat is like being in the stalls. 

Do you have any employees? 
As we are still growing as pantomime producers, so lots of working for ourselves for free at the moment, but the team is expanding and we hope to be able to employ new additions to our team full time as we grow. At the moment, we do everything to help keep costs low and in turn, keep our ticket prices low also. 

The cast are thrilled to be back on stage this year!

What is your favourite job/task that you do as part of your business and why? 
Being a performer first, the best part of my job and my partners is still performing in the shows themselves. Pantomimes are hard work, sometimes performing three shows a day around Christmas. The rehearsals can actually be quite short, 10 days from start to dress rehearsal, so it’s a very intense period, but still great fun. Working with other performers to create something that people will sit and enjoy, laugh and remember is a genuine pleasure. Once actually up and running though, hearing people of all ages laugh is a great feeling and seeing very young children wide-eyed and also genuinely believing in the characters they are watching can be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.

What impact has the pandemic/ lockdown had on your business?
The impact on our business was huge, but not just us of course, but anyone connected to working in theatre full stop, and the extended community. We were all set to produce Sleeping Beauty in 2020, a show we had been working on for almost a year, but of course, it was cancelled. So no show, no income. We managed to produce a very short,safe-distanced production of Cinderella at a new venue that had heard about us in Milton Keynes (it seems our name is getting about 😂).

We had scheduled 10 socially-distanced performances but were closed down after only five when the government changed the rules halfway through. This was heartbreaking as we had been performing to audiences made up of children referred by children’s charities. So to disappoint those children and their families that couldn’t then see our pantomime, (some of these charities were focused on terminal poorly children) was totally heartbreaking for everyone involved.

On the other side of the coin, to see those faces of those families and children that did see it, made all the hurdles to jump through to keep the production safe totally worth it. As a business now though, after the pandemic, we are having to build up our audiences again back in the theatre. Some people are still wary of coming back to a theatre, but going to watch a pantomime with the family is a big tradition that still many, many families love, and we believe people are truly ready, and can’t wait to enjoy live theatre again with a Christmas pantomime that they missed out from last year

Where do you see your business in 5 years time? 
I would love to see our name Panto Ever After associated with more venues to perform our magical pantomimes at. In fact, they don’t have to be purely theatres. Because of the style of theatre we build, any great community venue that we could transform into a magical space for the festive period will work. We would really love to see people return to see our shows year after year also and know that we have become part of their Christmas tradition. 

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