Speaker: Ian Gledhill
1 December 2020
The history of this enduring and peculiarly British institution, from its origins in 16th century Italian commedia dell’arte, through the influence of 19th century music hall, to the family shows that are still much loved today. On the way we examine the origins of some of the stories used in pantomime as well as such traditions as the (female) principal boy and the (male) pantomime dame. The talk is interspersed with personal anecdotes from the speaker’s years of working (and appearing) professionally in pantomime.
Ian has had a very varied career, from designing underground railways as an engineer for London Transport to appearing in pantomime with Julian Clary. In between he has worked in travel and tourism, music publishing, television, and especially the theatre where he has been an actor, director, set designer, stage manager and opera translator. His main interests include architecture, history, transport and classical music, especially opera and operetta. He began giving lectures in 1997 and now gives on average around 140 a year.