2011 Panto is…?

We are now on the search for the 2011  Annual Panto.

Every year, Altona City Theatre puts on a pantomime to coincide with the Bayside Festival in March/April.  “Sinbad”, our 2010 panto,  was a great success, and we are now open to applications for the 2011 panto.

The pantomime is an opportunity for new writers, composers, lyricists, directors, choreographers and musical directors to produce a show in a relaxed and fun environment with the support and experience of senior members of the company.

Over the years we have produced many different pantomimes with a mix of old and new interpretations – from Sinbads travels around the world, to Little Red Riding Hood battling the hungry wolf, to Alice taking us down the rabbit hole, to letting frogs and toads drive us hopping mad!

We feel that the following are the essence of a good pantomime:

  • Humour – the audience want to have fun and laugh at the characters!  Broad, visual humour works best for the younger members of the audience but it doesn’t hurt to throw in some subtle lines for the adults too.
  • Solid plot – not necessarily a script that is recited line by line, rather easily recognisable motives for the characters so the audience can understand the story.  Should be based on a fairytale, fable or well known children’s story (e.g. Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Robin the Hood) – although we are open to proposals in other formats (e.g. children’s musical).
  • Improvisation – the script should have room for the characters to let go but not steer away from the plot
  • Audience participation – let the audience clap along, cheer, and talk back (a narrator character helps to achieve this); let a few members come onto the stage for a game or song.  Breaking down the fourth wall is a must.
  • Catchy musical numbers – whilst this is musical theatre, it isn’t Les Misérables and typically the audience is made up of children and non-theatre-goers who are more appreciative of short catchy tunes rather than long musical numbers.  Preferably base musical numbers around well known songs (although this doesn’t mean the score should be entirely made up of pop songs)
  • Relevant, focused scenes – following on from solid plot, the audience must be able to easily see where scenes fit into the storyline.  Bear in mind that kids get bored looking at the same characters and set for a long time!
  • Reasonable ensemble size – we like to encourage young people to be involved in theatre and an ensemble of a reasonable size allows them to participate in the show whilst leaving more seasoned actors to be cast as leads
  • Avoid excessive character attributes and production values – major costume requirements or logistical feats (e.g. flying a charater) aren’t an option within the budget
  • Use traditional melodrama as a narrative – have a clear “good guy” and “bad guy”; having the audience cheer the “bad guy” and feel indifferent to the “good guy” doesn’t make a good show!
  • Avoid sensitive themes – violence, drugs, alcohol, sex, racism and politics are best left alone
  • Not too scary – an audience of frightened and screaming kids is not so good for building dramatic tension and story development
  • Band – providing the score suits (i.e. it’s not orchestral!), a band gives extra life to musical numbers and something more to entertain the audience

The time commitment for producing a show is not trivial.  Auditions are held in November with rehearsals (3 per week) starting early December for a production week in mid March.  Then there is preparation time and additional time spent at the theatre supervising costume making, set building, etc that needs to be taken into account.

We are based at the Altona Theatre, 115 Civic Parade, Altona – for information on the venue please see the technical specifications document on the ACT Technical Services website.  There are three main rehearsal areas at the theatre: the stage, green room and foyer. We now also have use of the EPA site, which will be predominantly used as a set building site, but does have the capability of being used for small rehearsals (such as music rehearsals)

Performance dates are set by the committee to fit in with the venue calendar.  Rehearsals are allocated, providing no other events are scheduled in the venue, to Tuesday and Thursday evenings (within 5:30pm – 11pm) and Sundays (within 10am – 11pm) with an option for Monday evenings.  Usually one weekend is allocated as a rehearsal camp at the theatre and the venue is booked out exclusively for the show from 4 weeks prior to opening night (i.e. rehearsals can be held anytime in this period).

As the pantomime is a not for profit activity produced for the Bayside Festival, no honorariums are paid to the production team.  Personal expenses incurred which are directly related to the show (e.g. backing track sequencing) will be reimbursed out of the show budget on a case-by-case basis.

Your application must contain the following (optional items denoted by star):

  • Core production team consisting of a Director, Musical Director and Choreographer – preferably with a short bio on each.  Production team members must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Show synopsis / outline / description (at least half a page)
  • Full script including lyrics for musical numbers and any notes on audience participation, improv, staging, etc
  • Producer – must be or have been a member of ACT and preferably on the committee (or well known to the committee)
  • *Piano (repetiteur) part extract from score or CD of musical numbers which are in the show.  Please bear in mind that performance rights might not be obtainable for some of the musical numbers that you intend to use.
  • *Additional production team members (e.g. Set Designer, Lighting Designer).  Please note that the budget for the pantomime is limited therefore we prefer to keep as many production roles in-house as possible.
  • *Any set designs, concept drawings, proposed show logo, etc

Applications are open to anyone aged 18 or over.  The closing date for applications is Friday, 20th August 2010.  Applications can be:

  • E-mailed to the company secretary, James Morgan, at president@altonacitytheatre.com.au
    (Please include “[Panto Application]” in the subject line)
  • Posted to:
    Att: Show Selection Subcommittee
    Altona City Theatre
    PO Box 73
    ALTONA   VIC   3018
  • Handed to a committee member at the theatre

If you need any clarification on the application process or requirements, please e-mail the committee at committee@altonacitytheatre.com.au

As a final note:

If your proposal is not chosen… please don’t take it personally!  In all likelihood we loved your idea, but for one reason or another we had to make some room for another application that perhaps better fitted the theme that we were going for, or was perhaps a little more comprehensive.  Don’t despair!  Feel free to contact the show selection subcommittee for advice on how to improve your proposal.  Whilst we can’t return your proposals to you, please do submit again next year – as it may be your year!  Good luck!

Share on Facebook  Share this on Facebook!