All About Pantomimes

Hurray! The silly season of saucy dames and thigh-slapping high jinks is almost upon us! The Stage Door is currently in rehearsals for our Pantomime ‘ROBIN HOOD & THE BABES IN THE WOOD’, ready for November at The Turner Centre, so we thought we’d look at where the pantomime comes from, and what makes a good panto.

Where does the name come from?

The term Pantomime comes from ‘Pantomimos’ – an Ancient Greek name for entertainment by a solo actor who performed all the roles. ‘Panto’ means ‘All’ and ‘Mimos’ means ‘Actor’. The modern form of the Pantomime, however, comes from 16th century Italian street theatre ‘Commedia dell’arte’ which had a fixed set of recognisable characters.

What makes a good Pantomime?

As with the Commedia dell’arte, there are conventions that almost all Pantomimes follow. Here are a few of them…

  • The main young man in the play (the principal boy) may be played by a young woman, and usually in tight-fitting male clothes (such as breeches).
  • An older woman (the pantomime dame – often the hero’s mother) is usually played by a man dressed as a woman, accompanied by some very flamboyant outfits!
  • Often the children do not understand some of the jokes in Pantomimes. They are cheeky ones just for the grownups!
  • The audience are encouraged to take part. For example, they call “look behind you!”, and “Oh, yes it is!” or “Oh, no it isn’t!” The audience is always encouraged to “Boo” the villain, and “Awwwww” the poor victims.
  • It is panto custom that the goodie always enters from stage right, and the baddie from stage left, a tradition that’s evolved from superstition of right signifying Heaven, and left all things Hell, witchy and wicked.
  • There is usually a messy scene, involving water, slime, bubbles or custard pies
  • Pantomimes are a lot of fun for the audience, and for the performers. They are traditionally performed around Christmas time to spread some festive cheer and get everyone in the mood for the holiday period.

And, if all that has whet your appetite, we invite you to come and join us!


22nd – 25th of November  |  The Turner Centre  |  Click here for tickets


Auditions Complete & Tickets For Sale!


We were all taken aback by community support for our upcoming Pantomime, Robin Hood & The Babes in the Wood, when over 80 budding actors and actresses showed up at our Audition Call on Sunday! Thank you to all those who came. We’re making our way through the applicants and will soon be in touch to assign roles.

In the meantime, tickets went on sale at the Turner Centre Box Office at the weekend.

Performances will be:

7:30pm, Thursday, 22 November

7:30pm, Friday, 23 November

7:30pm & 2:00pm, Saturday, 24 November

4:00pm, Sunday, 25 November

Kickstart the festive season with a trip to this hilarious traditional pantomime. As Robin and his Merry Men and Maids tackle the wicked Sheriff (Boo!), Robin’s young followers The Hoodies are up to their tricks. Red Riding Hood has wandered into the wrong pantomime followed by the Wolf (it’s behind you!), and the two naughty Babes are giving problems to their nurse, Dame Droopydrawers. Written and Directed by David Crewe for The Stage Door theatre company with a cast of local talent of all ages, this is community theatre at its best.



Audition Call

Looking for something wonderful, exciting and fun to do over Spring? Always wanted to booed or cheered by a raucous audience? Ever wondered how you’d look in a pair of green tights? Put this date in your diary!

AUDITIONS: ‘Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood’

WHERE:    The Turner Centre

WHEN:    at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on August 5

We’re casting all the roles for our Pantomime, ‘Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood’, at the beginning of August, and are also looking for backstage crew to make this show the best it can be. The production will be presented by The Stage Door Theatre Company, directed by David Crewe, and produced by Kim Bailey. The same team as ‘Billy Goes to War’.

Performances will on 22, 23, 24 and 25 November in the main auditorium at The Turner Centre, Kerikeri.


A Traditional Pantomime by David Crewe

Robin Hood and his Merry Men and the Merry Maidens rob the rich to feed the poor. The Sheriff of Nottingham has a cunning plan to lock all the village children and Robin’s girlfriend, Maid Marion, in the castle dungeon as a trap to catch him.

Meanwhile Dame Droopydrawers, a nursemaid, arrives in Nottingham with the two Babes, Teeny and Weeny. She tells the Sheriff he now has to look after them, as their parents, who were his relatives, have snuffed it. At first he hates the idea, until he learns that the Babes are fabulously rich. At which point he hatches another cunning plan to get rid of them and inherit the money himself. To do this he engages the services of Slippery Sam and Dangerous Dan, two useless villains from Jim’s Dirty Deeds, who mess the whole plan up after confusion in the haunted bedroom!

Strangely, Red Riding Hood appears in the forest, looking for a different theatre she is supposed to be performing in, also pursued by the wolf. Robin wonders how it is that they both have the same surname.

It turns out that Fanny Firkin, landlady of the local inn, and lady friend of Baron Bedfellow and his daughters, Marion, Milly, Molly and Mandy, knows the secret.

All ends happily of course!


We are looking for actors of all ages for these roles :


Robin Hood

His Merry Men and Maidens

Little John and Little Joan, Alan a’ Dale and Eleanor Hill, Friar Tuck and Sister Sharon, Mitch the Miller and Polly Filla, Will Scarlet and Jill the Varlet

Maid Marion, Baron Bedfellow’s daughters


Captain Crumpet

Baron Bedfellow

Mandy, Milly, Molly, his other daughters

Fanny Firkin, innkeeper

Dame Droopydrawers, nursemaid to the Babes

The Babes, Teeny and Weeny

Dangerous Dan

Slippery Sam

King Richard

Knight in Armour

Lord Grabitall

Red Riding Hood


Servant Girl

Traffic Controller

Soldiers, town kids


Auditions 2pm & 5pm on Sunday 5 August at the Turner Centre.

Contact Helen on if you wish to audition but cannot make that day.


Message from Deep Inside Sherwood Forest

Robin Hood wants to let you know that there will only be one pantomime this year, as Sleeping Beauty is not going ahead as originally planned. She refuses to be woken up.

AUDITIONS: ‘Robin Hood & the Babes in the Wood’

WHERE:    The Turner Centre

WHEN:    from 2pm on August 5

The show will be presented by The Stage Door Theatre Company, directed by David Crewe, and produced by Kim Bailey. The same team as ‘Billy Goes to War’.
Performances will on 22, 23, 24 and 25 November in the main auditorium of the Centre, just ahead of the Christmas season.
Red Riding Hood appears pursued by the wolf, lost in the forest, the Sheriff believes he’s captured all the children, and the Babes disappear in the haunted bedroom.
Meanwhile, Maid Marion has attached a brief synopsis with the cast list below.
See you on the 5th August!
David Crewe
Artistic Director of The Stage Door Theatre Company

Continue reading “Message from Deep Inside Sherwood Forest”