Dancing Sky’s holiday panto makes post-pandemic comeback

James O'Shea (left) and Crispi Lord (right) perform in Dancing Sky Theatre's holiday panto "Jack and the End of the World," running from Dec. 2 to 18, 2022 in Meacham, Sask. (Supplied Photo)

A prairie theatre tradition is coming back to the stage in a small town near you.

Dancing Sky Theatre in Meacham is once again putting on a holiday panto, a Christmas season tradition for local residents that was put on hold during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The panto for me means Christmas,” Dancing Sky Theatre artistic director and show director Angus Ferguson said in a press release. “There’s so many people in our audience who’ve made this show a family tradition. We have a family with three generations that have come every year since we began.”

The newest addition to the panto tradition, titled Jack and the End of the World, follows the titular Jack living in a small town when they are visited by a hilarious Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Jack and his family and friends are forced to deal with the arrival of these foreboding characters as best they can.

The “panto” theatre style is originally a British holiday tradition — a retelling of a traditional story or fairy tale with larger-than-life characters often accompanied by music, jokes, and other energetic hijinks.

It’s also a unique production, written and created entirely by the cast and crew in a collaborative process.

“The panto is a celebration of community with local references and inside jokes,” cast member James O’Shea said in a press release. “It’s not a precious form of theatre. There are fewer rules and we just get to play with each other. The audience will not be disappointed.

As with many Dancing Sky shows, there’s also an opportunity to reserve your spot for a three-course meal ahead of the show from the theatre’s attached kitchen and dining room.

Jack and the End of the World promises laughs, music, puppets, audience participation and much more. More than that, it promises the return of a long-beloved holiday theatre staple to Saskatchewan.

Jack and the End of the World runs from Dec. 2 to 18. Tickets and dinner reservations can be arranged online at ontheboards.ca.

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