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Eastbourne Ashridge Circle|Founded 1947

Lecture Date: December 11, 2023


Speaker: PETE ALLEN - Illustrated

Entertainment-world historian Pete Allen runs his eye over one of the most bizarre, yet enduring, genres of the theatrical art. Expect the full gamut of corny gags.

What is it about pantomime that attracts us to this rather extraordinary concoction of fairy tales, song, dance, awful corny jokes and no little cross-dressing? And have you ever considered what it is really like to play the rear end of a pantomime cow? Most of us seem to love, with childlike glee, the antics of Principal Boy, his pretty young sweetheart, characters such as “Buttons,” the Ugly Sisters, the wicked squire and the good (and nasty) fairies. Some of us fork out and go to the panto even if we don’t have grandchildren…!

All of these oddities – and the answer to whether something really is ‘behind you’ – will be revealed in this festive talk about what has become one of the great British Christmas traditions.

Pete Allen has a very wide and most entertaining portfolio of lectures on show- business themes ranging from histories of immortal Hollywood musicals; through such genres as Wild West movies and the making of Frank Capra’s feel-good film “It’s a Wonderful Life;” to the creation of J R R Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and even a deciphering of Inspector Morse.

Pete’s career has also encompassed work as a professional theatre director and film-maker. For much of the time he has worked in close association with theatrical- and arts-oriented groups in Surrey.