Rhodes and its seven Pantos

Monday, December 19, 2016

Pantomime at Rhodes –Brief History

Characters Patrick Jacobs, Ken Joy and Andy Graham (production from 2005-2009) Phil Dale (production from 2009-present)

Act 1-Scene 1: The set takes place in 1938 in the market town of Bishop’s Stortford when the Rhodes Memorial Museum was opened for the public.

Act1-Scene 2: This scene was performed in a distant year of 1961 when the proposal was made that Memorial should act as an educational centre and also to serve as the much needed Public Hall to accommodate a small cinema and meeting rooms. More importantly the lower floor was to act as a theatre, with changing rooms, committee rooms, and facilities to serve refreshments!

Act 1-Scene3: Full stage scene takes place at the Rhodes Memorial Museum and Commonwealth Centre that was officially opened on 5th December 1963. It was the first centre of its kind to open outside London. Within months Rhodes Centre became a popular venue for visiting pop groups, weekly dances, music clubs and even professional wrestling…

Act 1-Scene 4: This is the only sad scene with a feel of wretchedness since by the end of the decade the music revolution had abated and Rhodes Centre was left to find new ways of raising money. This included plays, pantomimes, exhibitions, craft fairs and use by the local operatic society.

Act 1-Final act: Final curtains – In 1999 the Center closes for a refurbishment. Soon Rhodes Memorial museum became a prime cultural venue. Just before the end of the year Patrick Jacobs and Ken Joy had written Aladdin the first Panto at the Rhodes for as long as anyone could remember!

Act 2- New beginning: The lights change subtly as History of Panto at Bishop’s Storford formally started in 2005 when the Museum and arts centre were officially reopened on 11th November.
Earlier, people would mostly go to Harlow to see the Christmas show.

Act 2-Scene 1: As the scene opens, we hear a narrator: It is well known that Pantomime -informally panto, is a type of musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. In UK it was developed in England back to the Middle Ages and is still performed, generally during the Christmas and New Year season.

Act 2-Scene 2: It starts with the sound of loud common giggling and laughter…All the Pantos at Rhodes were predominantly aimed at children, based on a popular fairy tale of folk legend, where good is battling against evil and the principal boy role is played by a girl.

Act 2-Scene 3: Fairy goes as far as the exit…Most popular Pantos at Rhodes within the period from 2005-2016 are Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin, Cinderella and Robin Hood. The productions varied but overall the reviews were very positive.

Act 2 –Final scene: Full stage set We can’t wait for this year’s Panto and guess what- It is a brand new Cinderella! By all means beware who’s behind you!

Last song…They all exit in different directions…

Alex Andrijevic
Deputy Curator

The complete list of Panto’s at Rhodes Center:

Aladdin                          1999                Patric Jacobs and Ken Joy
Snow White                    2005/06          Patric Jacobs production with Andy Graham
Dick Whittington     2006/07          Patric Jacobs production with Andy Graham
Robin Hood                2007/08          Patric Jacobs production with Andy Graham
Cinderella                    2008/09          Patric Jacobs production with Andy Graham
Aladdin                            2009/10       Phoenix Theatre production Phil Dale
Jack and the Beanstalk 2010/11        Phoenix Theatre production Phil Dale
Robin Hood                   2011/12         Phoenix Theatre production Phil Dale
Cinderella                   2012/13         Phoenix Theatre production Phil Dale
Aladdin                           2013/14         Phoenix Theatre production Phil Dale
Dick Whittington         2014/15          Phoenix Theatre production Phil Dale
Jack and the Beanstalk 2015/16        Phoenix Theatre production Phil Dale
Cinderella                        2016/17        Phoenix Theatre production Phil Dale



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