The holidays at People’s Light offer a mix of festive fantasias and family celebrations, always made specifically for our community.
With a long theatrical history dating back to commedia dell’arte of the 16th century, the Twelfth Night holiday, the Festival of Fools, and Epiphany, the British pantomime remains one of Great Britain’s most popular theatre forms.
The cast of CINDERELLA: A MUSICAL PANTO, 2018. Photo by Mark Garvin.
Traditionally performed around Christmas, a panto takes a well-known fairy tale or children’s story—such as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, or Robin Hood—and turns it on its ear to include signature panto elements that audiences have come to relish:
- Topical jokes and pop culture satire
- Music and dancing
- An all-knowing, often gender-playful guide who ushers the audience through the story
- "Skin roles," animal pals who help our hero in their adventures
- A comic duo
- A "messy bit" or slapstick routine with something wet, gooey, or slippery
- A "candy bit" in which the actors throw treats into the audience
- And audience participation! The crowd is encouraged to cheer the heroes, boo the bad guys, and even argue with characters onstage.
Since 2004, People’s Light has created and staged our own unique spin on the British pantomime. While more family-friendly than many of its antecedents in the United Kingdom, the People’s Light panto is always a classic tale re-set in our backyard, ricocheting with references to familiar places, people, and things. It’s an enchanting world where children ages 5 to 105 gather to cheer their heroes, boo the villain, sing along to silly songs, and catch some candy.
Pantos through the Years:
Sleeping Beauty: A Comic Panto in the British Style (2004/2005)
Jack & the Beanstalk: An American Panto (2005/2006)
Robin Hood: A Panto (2006/2007)
Treasure Island (2007/2008)
Cinderella: A Musical Panto (2008/2009)
Snow White: A Musical Panto (2009/2010)
The Three Musketeers (The Later Years): A Musical Panto (2010/2011)
Treasure Island: A Musical Panto (2011/2012)
Aladdin: A Musical Panto (2012/2013)
Cinderella: A Musical Panto (2013/2014)
Arthur and the Tale of the Red Dragon: A Musical Panto (2014/2015)
The Three Musketeers (The Later Years): A Musical Panto (2015/2016)
Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto (2016/2017)
Aladdin: A Musical Panto (2017/2018)
Cinderella: A Musical Panto (2018/2019)
Little Red Robin Hood: A Musical Panto (2019/2020)
Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto (2022/2023)
A Christmas Carol
In 2021, we premiered our own music-infused adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Adapted by People’s Light Producing Artistic Director Zak Berkman, directed by David Bradley, and with music supervision and arrangements by Mitch Chakour, our fresh take on this favorite yuletide ghost story features a vibrant mix of original songs by Zak Berkman and newly arranged nineteenth-century English carols.
When first published, the full title of Dickens’ novella read "A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas." Zak Berkman subtitles this adaptation: A Ghost Story of Grief & Generosity. Like the ghosts who visit Scrooge, our production is a dialogue between the past, present, and future—a Christmas Carol for today that explores themes of loss, generosity, and the collective good.
Ian Merrill Peakes as Ebenezer Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL, 2021. Photo by Mark Garvin.