The Pantomime Awards judging begins

With pantomime season now in full swing, delighting audiences young and old (with many experiencing it for a magical first time), The UK Pantomime Association (UKPA)’s team of anonymousjudges is busy secretly sat amongst them, ready to shortlist the very best performers, creatives and producers that the artform has to offer, for The Pantomime Awards 2024.

The UKPA’s 78 volunteer judges will have their biggest year ever, as they are collectively scheduled to make 767 visits across 257 venues (up from 240 in 2022). One judge is in for a particularly busy time as they will assess over 60 pantomimes across the country!   

The judges will scour the UK for pantomime gold at venues as far and wide as Truro, Deal, Inverness, Colwyn Bay and Belfast to name but a few. They will see 41 Cinderellas, 39 Beauty and Beasts, 33 Jack and the Beanstalks, 28 Snow Whites, 23 Aladdins, 20 Sleeping Beauties, 17 Dick Whittingtons and 11 other titles. The full list of venues and titles is available on our website.

Judges are selected by the UKPA’s Trustees based on an interview exploring their interest and experience of pantomime. They are then trained on the charity’s judging criteria, which has been developed with pantomime industry experts. Judges use the criteria to score shows across 24 awards, the scores of which then inform the shortlists and a panel decides the winners in line with UKPA values. In addition to the on and offstage awards, such as Best Dame and Best Choreography, the UKPA awards special recognition in the fields of Outstanding Achievement, Innovation, Excellence in Practice and Commitment to Diversity and Inclusivity.

The shortlist for The Pantomime Awards 2024 will be revealed in February, with the Ceremony taking place in April (date and location to be announced).

The Pantomime Awards 2023 in association with Butlin’s for the pantomime season 2022/23 took place at a star-studded ceremony at the Trafalgar Theatre in London’s West End on 11 April. Amongst the winners were Ian McKellen, Su Pollard, Joyce Branagh, Cast, Doncaster, Theatre Royal Stratford East, and Vernon Kay. In 2022, winners included Duncan Burt and Nic Gibney, Vikki Stone, Morgan Brind, Rolan Bell, Alexandra Burke, Nigel Ellacott and Joe Tracini. 

Simon Sladen, Chair of the UK Pantomime Association said: ” Our judges can’t wait to get on the road to see the diverse landscape of pantomime practice taking place across the UK. Many venues’ box offices are reporting their best season to date, and it’s wonderful to see so many vibrant and new interpretations of age-old tales taking to the stage. Pantomime has the potential to offer something for everyone, and the UKPA is proud to recognise the outstanding skill, talent and practice of the many teams who bring pantomime joy to audiences each Christmas.”