JAMIACA

The National Pantomime of Jamaica was started in 1941 with a British inspired production of Jack and the Beanstalk by educators Henry Fowler and Greta Fowler, pioneers of the Little Theatre Movement in Jamaica.

 

Among the first players was Louise Bennett-Coverley. Other notable players have included Oliver SamuelsCharles HyattWillard WhiteRita Marley and Dawn Penn.

 

The annual pantomime  always opens on Boxing Day (as was once the tradition in England) at the Little Theatre in Kingston and is now strongly influenced by aspects of Jamaican culture, folklore and history. The indigenization of panto in this country owes much to two legends of Jamaican theatre - Louise Bennett -Coverley and the Ranny Williams who were among the pioneers of the LTM and who did much to mould the annual show into a unique creation, which features aspects of Jamaican culture. The Pantomime prides itself on its universal appeal to children and adults alike. In so doing the Pantomime has utilised some of Jamaica's leading talent in every area of production, from script writing to music composition, set and costume design, choreography as well as on-stage performance. The members of the Pantomime Company are called upon to learn various skills. 

The LTM Pantomime cast lists read as a who's who in Jamaican visual and performing arts. Undoubtedly, the most well known names are Louise Bennett-Coverley and Ranny Williams, who both served as authors as well as performers. The list of famed performers include Oliver Samuels, Leonie Forbes, Lois Kelly-Miller, Charles Hyatt, Volier Johnson, Willard White, Rita Marley, Dawn Penn and others.

Due to the size of the spaces in which theatre is normally performed in Jamaica, theatre goers have become used to the "one room" set. The Pantomime, with the luxury of being performed on a larger stage (the Ward Theatre and the Little Theatre) with adequate backstage space and fly towers has been able to bring to life a variety of locations from rural and urban Jamaica to the moon.

With the creative use of flats, backdrops and platform units the set designers challenge the stage manager and the backstage crew to move seamlessly from one setting to another as a show progresses. Some of the talent who have designed sets for the Pantomime over the years include Karl Abrahams, Albert Huie, Colin Garland, Lorna Goodison and Henry Muttoo. In the more recent years designers for sets and props have included Denise Forbes, Symonne Coombs, Larry Watson and Michael Lorde.

Costumes have become an integral part of the visual element of the Pantomime. The use of clothing to effectively define characters on stage expressing their themes and motives to an audience which includes very young children is vital to the Pantomime. Costume designers for the pantomime have included Patrick Waldemar, Norman Russell, Eddy Thomas, Henry Muttoo, Angela Waterlow and Anya Gloudon.

Pantomime history of The Little Movement:

1941 - Jack & The Beanstalk

1942 - Babes in the Wood

1943 - Soliday and the Wicked Bird

1944 - Toad of Toad Hall

1945 - Aladdin and his Magic Lamp

1946 - The Rose and the Ring

1947 - Cinderella

1948 - Beauty and the Beast

1949 - Bluebeard and the Brer Anancy

1950 - Alice in Wonderland

1951 - Dick Whittington

1952 - Aladdin

1953 - Robinson Crusoe

1954 - Anancy and the Magic Mirror

1955 - Anancy and the Pandora

1956 - Anancy and the Beeny Bud

1957 - Busha Bluebeard

1958 - Quasie Lady

1959 - Jamaica Way

1960 - Carib Gold

1961 - Banana Boy

1962 - Finians Rainbow

1963 - Queenie's Daughter

1964 - Bredda Buck

1965 - Morgan's Dream

1966 - Queenie's Daughter

1967 - Anancy and Panadora

1968 - Anancu and Doumbey

1969 - Moonshine Anancy

1970 - Rockstone Anancy

1971 - Music Boy

1972 - Hail Columbus

1973 - Queenies Daughter

1974 - Dickance for Flippance

1975 - The Witch

1976 - Brashana O

1977 - Twelve Million Dollar Man

1978 - Johnny Reggae

1979 - The Honourable all Purpus and Dancing Princess

1980 - Mansong

1981 - The Pirate Princess

1982 - Tantaloo

1983 - Ginneral B

1984 - Sipplesilver

1985 - Trash

1986 - River Mumma and the Golden Table

1987 - King Root

1988 - Bruckins

1989 - Schoolers

1990 - Fifty 50

1991 - Man Deh Yah

1992 - Reggae Son

1993 -Anansi Come Back

1994 - Moonsplash

1995 - Schoolers 2

1996 -Jangah Rock

1997 - Baggarags

1998 - Anansi Web

1999 - Bugsie

2000 - Jack and the Macca Tree

2001 - Chicken Merry

2002 - Miss Annie

2003 - Combolo

2004 - Iffa Nuh So

2005 - Zu Zu Macca

2006 - Howzatt!

2007 - Nuff an Plenty

2008 - Runner Boy

2009 - Pirate Jack

2010 - Blingalinga

2011 - Anansi and Goat Head Soup

2012 - Skollaz

2013 - The Golden Maccafat

2014 - Princess Boonoonoonoos

2015 - Runnesha and the Birds

2016 - The Upsies and De Downzies Dem

2017 - Dapper Dan The Anansi Man

2018 - All Aboard