Historic panto exhibition takes to the road

Published: 25 November 2008

A new exhibition by the University of Glasgow celebrating decades of Scottish Pantomime opens its nationwide tour this week in Edinburgh.

A new exhibition by the University of Glasgow celebrating decades of Scottish Pantomime opens its nationwide tour today in Edinburgh, (Wednesday 26 November).

Nieve Jennings, a former Miss Scotland and television and radio presenter, Grant Stott, lead stars of Aladdin, this year’s pantomime at the King’s, will be among those helping to launch the exhibition at the theatre.

Featuring pictures, photographs and playbills from a variety of sources, the exhibition also includes rarely seen archive film footage from the National Library of Scotland of pantomimes in theatres in Edinburgh and Glasgow in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

Pantomime favourites such as Stanley Baxter, Jack Anthony, Elaine C Smith and Una MacLean are all brought to life in the interactive exhibition which will visit five theatres in the east and north of Scotland over the next two months. Stanley Baxter in pantomime

It will then begin its tour of the west, starting in Glasgow, later next year.

The exhibition is part of a three-year academic research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), aimed at examining all aspects of Pantomime in Scotland.

Pantomime in Scotland: ‘Your other national theatre’, is run by the University of Glasgow’s department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies and covers all facets of pantomime – from its narratives to its stars, its magnificent sets to costumes.

Legendary pantomime actor, Stanley Baxter (pictured), welcomed the venture and study.

He said: “Lewis Casson was absolutely right – pantomime is the national theatre of Scotland. Pantomime was always very close to my heart and I loved it from a very early age. I saw Tommy Lorne when I was almost too young to remember it – almost, but not quite. It was a joy to be involved in pantomime for so much of my career and I wish this exhibition all possible success.”

In telling the story of Scottish pantomime, from its Victorian origins right up to the present day, the exhibition features images and other memorabilia from the Glasgow University Library Scottish Theatre Archive as well as the collections of performers, producers and audience members themselves.

Visitors can also listen to sound recordings of audience members and performers of the past and present, not least Baxter recalling his part in the legendary show, The Tintock Cup (1949).

As part of the exhibition, visitors will be invited to contribute their own memories and experiences of seeing and making professional and amateur pantomime in Scotland.

Adrienne Scullion, James Arnott Chair of Drama of the University of Glasgow and one of the project’s directors, said: “From recording the memories of pantomime audiences and performers, we know that pantomime has a special place in the lives of Scottish audiences and that it has always had an important role in Scotland’s theatre industry. This exhibition is a great way for us to acknowledge the significance of pantomime in Scotland, and to recognise and value its contribution to Scotland’s cultural life. 

“In asking people to record their Panto-memories, we hope, not only to capture memories of a golden age of Scottish pantomime, but to document the many community pantomimes that take place across the whole of Scotland. “

John Stalker, chief executive of the Festival City Theatres Trust, added: “The King’s Theatre is delighted and honoured to be hosting the launch of this exhibition at the King’s, the home of Scottish pantomime for over 100 years. Pantomime appeals to everyone and this exhibition is a wonderful celebration of Scotland’s love affair with the great days of pantomime and those stars who became household names and dames.”

Tour dates

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Saturday 29 November – Saturday 6 December
0131 529 6000 • www.eft.co.uk

Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall
Monday 8 December – Saturday 13 December
01738 621 031 • www.horsecross.co.uk

The Byre Theatre, St Andrews
Monday 15 December – Sunday 21 December
01334 475 000 • www.byretheatre.com

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
Tuesday 23 December – Monday 29 December
01224 641 122 • www.boxofficeaberdeen.com

Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
Wednesday 31 December – Tuesday 27 January
01463 234 234 • www.eden-court.co.uk

For further information contact:
Eleanor Cowie, Media Relations Officer, University of Glasgow, 0141 330 3683 / 07816 984 686 or e.cowie@admin.gla.ac.uk
King's and Festival Theatre, Ruth Findlay, Press and PR Manager, 0131 622 8088 or Ruth.Findlay@eft.co.uk

First published: 25 November 2008