A Pair of Pantos is a pantomime for all audiences, but in particular one which trans, non-binary and queer parents can feel comfortable and proud to bring their children to in the knowledge that their identity will not be a subject for gags. 

Malborough Theatre’s festive piece takes the basic story of two archetypical pantomimes – Dick Whittington and Jack and the Beanstalk, and creates a world in which characters and plots collide and where nobody knows which pantomime they’re in. Times are hard and Jack is hungry. So are Jack’s dads. But Jack’s plan to make money goes wildly wrong when King Rat comes along, and on top of this Jack is still trying to get to the bottom of what underwear is right when you’re non-binary. 

Hester Chillingworth, writer and director, A Pair of Pantos said: 

“I became really uncomfortable with how many mainstream pantomimes rely on devices of casual transphobia (as well as racism)…and feeling how dangerous and exclusionary it is to unthinkingly peddle these regressive tropes, year in, year out to young audiences.
A Pair of Pantos is my attempt to offer an alternative to a traditional pantomime – one which celebrates the form and the joy of the playfulness, but which refuses to rest lazily on problematic and debasing depictions and gags. One which I, as a non-binary child, would have felt safe and celebrated at.” 

Hester Chillingworth’s work plays with language, simplicity and interpretation often relating to childhood, gender, mischief and shame. 

Suitable for ages 5+. 

A Pair of Pantos is on at Canada Water Theatre, 21 Surrey Quays Road, Rotherhithe, SE16 7AR. Times: Friday 21 December, 7pm & Saturday 22 December, 1.30pm & 7pm. Admission: £12 / £8 (concessions) / £34 family ticket. Phone: 020 8692 4446