Oh yes you can! Students get the chance to study for a degree at PANTOMIMES in an effort to make festive theater performances more professional.
- From next September, Staffordshire University will offer a degree in Mummering
- Students will have to study slapstick and audience participation for the master
- The degree will combine research and practical study in the British tradition
It’s enough to make a Twinkie’s widow choke on a custard pie.
Following in the footsteps of such rigorous undergraduate courses as surf science and stand-up comedy, students can now earn the world’s first degree.
From next September, Staffordshire University will offer a master’s degree in “Contemporary Mummering Practice”.
Over the course of 13 months, budding Cinderellas and Dick Whittingtons will combine research and hands-on study in British traditions, going back to the Victorian era.
“Dame Trot,” performed by Clive Rowe, talks with a traditional cow during an evening screening of “Jack and The Beanstalk” at Hackney Empire this month. Students can now earn the world’s first degree
They will master the basic elements from slapstick to audience participation before performing their own show.
Students will also examine the Bantu through the “lens of the 21st century” by looking at how they have been changed by Covid, the #MeToo movement, and Disney.
About 260 professional pantomimes are shown in Britain each year, generating approximately £63 million for theaters.
Bantu star Stephen Mulhern and Christopher Biggins are back on the track. Mulhern said, “Acts have become theaters’ highest productions – a savior in the industry because of the profit they make each.”
Christopher Bigins (photographed in his dressing room at the Orchard Theater last month) and other Bantu stars return to the track
Mr. Biggins, star of Aladdin, Cinderella and Winnie The Pooh, added: “When I was starting my mumming career over 50 years ago, I wish I had gone down the path to a master’s degree. We must preserve the traditions … and the heritage of Britain.
Course leader Richard Cheshire describes mumming as “one of Britain’s great contributions to the world stage”.
Dr. Robert Marsden, co-developer of the course, hopes it will help dispel the perception that pantomime skills are acquired informally.
“The pantomime is unique,” said Dr. Marsden, who is on the 27th Mummifying Tour in Halifax. Performance style and everything that goes with it is very tough.
“The reality is that producers won’t risk selecting inexperienced performers, so formal training opportunities are sorely needed.”