Creative Theatre-Brit-Style

If you thought the holidays in Britain are all snow and Dickens, then you will be pleasantly surprised to hear about Theatre Britain, in Plano. Known for presenting unique holiday shows called pantos, with traditional fairytale or well-known stories told in the style of a melodrama, Theatre Britain entertains kids of all ages using dancing, songs, exaggerated caricatures and jokes that encourage audience participation.

"It’s a wonderful way to entertain children, involving them interactively with the characters on stage, encouraging them to cheer, enlisting their help to support good characters and above all, to see that the good chap helps the damsel in distress," says Theatre Britain co-founder Sue Birch. Because panto works on two levels, there's plenty for the adults to enjoy, as well.

The primary characters of any panto are The Dame, a comic female character played by a man. This tradition of men playing women stretches back to the earliest origins of the theatre, when girls and young  women were played by youths and old women by men, often comically. The Principal Boy, a romantic male lead or hero of the story that is played by an attractive young woman and of course, The Villain, that mean and nasty character that must be booed and hissed at by the audience at every opportunity.

Theatre Britain is a nonprofit organization that relies on the manpower and efforts of enthusiastic volunteers. For a deeper theatre experience, Theatre Britain encourages inspiring thespians to audition or volunteer, holding open auditions on a show-byshow basis. British dialect is not always required, depending on the show, and there are myriad opportunities for willing volunteers to help and learn.

Location: 1517 Ave. H, The Cox Building Playhouse, Plano. For more information, call 972-490-4202 or visit Theatre-Britain.com.

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