Steve Marmion Launches PantoCo Ltd.
PantoCo is a new production company, led by Soho Theatre's former Artistic Director Steve Marmion, uniquely offering year-round education activities attached to their spectacular, entertaining and morally-sound Christmas and Easter shows.
Returning to his youth theatre roots and combining it with his experience creating some of the country's leading pantos Steve has brought together a team of artists and producers with a passion for panto and the communities it serves. Having led the team that brought panto back to the Lyric Hammersmith (after a 30-year gap) and written and directed the acclaimed Oxford Playhouse offering for the last 5-years, he is now taking this winning formula onto stages all around the UK. Steve said:
"This is a company I have been planning for many years. Panto is one of the last forms of populist, multi-generation, working-class theatre we have. It's the only time most people actually go to their theatre and it's the bug that first bit many of us in the industry now. And as you may have seen, I like to do them a bit differently!"
His recent offerings have garnered critical and audience acclaim with headlines such as "Truly a pantomime for our time" (Stagetalk Magazine), "The best example of modern-day pantomime I can possibly envisage." (Oxford Mail), and "The age-old tradition of pantomime is not only alive in Oxford, but it's revitalised, refreshed and stands a good chance of attracting new audiences into the theatre." (Entertainment Views).
This new enterprise aims to bring together that unique panto knowhow with meaningful education and community work to deliver local theatres packed with joy, laughter, some great frocks and fun for the whole town.
He said: "This is proper traditional pantomime with a modern zing, full of top performers, a local young ensemble, home-town gags, classic routines, and topical references and rivalries - these pantos are made for their audience."
He is joined in the venture by producer Michael Peavoy, set designer Anthony Lamble, costume designer Amanda Hambleton, composer Bobby Goulder, choreographer Stuart Rodgers and lighting designer Ashley Bale. Steve added:
"Another unique aspect of the company is that some of the shares are protected to pay dividends to returning actors and stage management. I want to see if we can do things fairly. From the stories right through to the way people get paid."
The company is now open to proposals from theatres who are interested in collaborating next Christmas (2020).