Budget cuts do not have to mean Bah Humbug this Christmas

With budgets being tight and huge time demands on delivering the curriculum is it still possible to bring fun, entertainment and the arts in to schools this Christmas?

I attended a talk this week given by Rufus Norris artistic director of the National Theatre and he was referring to a close friend of his who was a primary school music teacher.  He pointed out that whenever prospective parents or local officials were taken on a tour of the school his class was always visited. When the teacher asked why this was the case the head teacher replied “Because I can guarantee in your classes the children are engaged, energised and learning”.  It would seem that the arts in schools is one of the greatest adverts for involved learning however it is the least resourced.

The answer to the above question requires creative thinking from both schools and those supplying products to them.  It is essential for any project offered to schools to meet a range of key targets including aspects of the curriculum, personal child development, and sustainability, whilst being fun, entertaining and memorable. If this is the case then the budgets allocated to bringing in outside companies is both worthwhile and justifiable.

For many primary school children across the country the first, and sometimes only, live theatre that they experience is the Christmas Pantomime, however in recent years this is one of the cutbacks schools are making as it can be difficult to validate this expenditure. Some schools have tackled the problem by taking pupils to a theatre and asking parents to contribute, yet this can be problematic for younger years and also a strain on budgets at home.

I have been delivering creative educational projects in schools for over 20 years with a constant ethos to combine the best performances which meet educational objectives and that have a lasting, positive impact on all those involved.

5 years ago a few local schools asked us to develop something new and original for Christmas that could also utilise budgets assigned to particular target areas.  Already aware of our history delivering effective PSHE plays and workshops,  it was pointed out to us that the standard pantomimes promoted negative behaviour and that it would be great to have all the fun of the show but with an educational twist.  That was the beginning of ‘Pantomime Play’.

Over the years we have developed our pantomime plays concept further, to make them justifiable within a range of budgets, and they are now a key educational resource in many schools.  The shows follow a pantomime format and include many well known pantomime characters and stories but every scene meets an educational objective and the project comes with a range of resources for cross curricular activities that link to the production.

For less than £2 per child (depending on the size of your school) there are a range of educational targets that can be met including:

  • A range of areas within the PSHE association guidelines (specific to each play).
  • Bringing in outside educators
  • Cross curricular resources for reception to year 6. Downloadable with no usage restrictions.
  • An exciting reward and treat for all pupils.

Many schools are using our shows as a fundraising option since we can perform for 250 pupils per show and up to 3 shows a day, so when charging parents, the costs are far less than hiring coaches and visiting theatres. Also local schools combine their bookings (one school in the morning and the other in the afternoon) to save even more.

Due to popularity and extra bookings in the final 2 weeks of term we have just put together another team, therefore we have some spaces available for this Christmas and we are offering them at a further discounted rate.

1 Show = £375 (£100 off. Usual price £475)

2 Shows = £500 (£200 off. Usual price £700)

3 Shows (All day) = £700 (£250 off. Usual price £950)

If you have already booked another show for this year then get in touch for next year as some dates go very quickly.



We are always happy to talk so please get in touch.

Email: info@pantomimeplay.co.uk

Phone: 07933078908 (Millie- Tour booker)

Phone: 01707 527140 (Office)

Lisa Schulberg
(Creative Director)

Explore issues of disability and conflict

Free Action Pack

Did you know that 3rd December is both the International Day of People with Disabilities and the anniversary of treaties banning cluster bombs and landmines? Handicap International’s Forgotten 10 Challenge campaign is a unique way for your students to explore issues of disability and conflict at the same time. During the 10 days of action from 1st to 10th December students across the UK will be learning about and raising support for the forgotten victims of conflict including those injured in bombings.

When bombs fall in populated areas 9 out of 10 victims are civilians and around 90 people will be killed and injured today alone.

Whether it’s lessons, tutor group sessions, assemblies or a whole-school event our resources will help ensure your activities have a big impact. Resources for teachers include a campaign kit with factsheets, a quiz and materials for awareness events; our Syria’s Young Survivors poster set, which includes an activity booklet; and PowerPoint presentations.

For more information, a list or resources and an order form please request your Forgotten 10 Challenge Action Pack today.

If you would like to find out more about how your school could get involved, please email john.mcgeachy@hi-uk.org or call me on 0870 774 3737.

I’m looking forward to working with you this term and having a big impact!

Best wishes,

John McGeachy
Forgotten 10 Challenge Coordinator
Handicap International UK
9 Rushworth Street
London SE1 0RB
Email: john.mcgeachy@hi-uk.org
Tel: 0870 774 3737
Text Relay: 18001 0870 774 3737

About Handicap International

Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Handicap International is an international aid organisation working with people with disabilities, injured people and other vulnerable people in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster.

Our activities include clearing landmines and unexploded weapons, preventing accidents through risk education, fitting artificial limbs, providing rehabilitation, and supporting survivors to campaign for their rights. Since Handicap International’s creation in 1982, our work has benefited millions of disabled and vulnerable people worldwide. Handicap International is a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Cluster Munition Coalition and the International Network on Explosive Weapons.