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The wardrobe pro’s guide to surviving panto season

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It’s that time of year again! When all our employment problems are solved (Until January at least) and we lose our Christmas to the sound of kids shouting “it’s behind you” and enduring the ‘baby shark song’ on repeat (If you don’t know what we’re talking about click here).

We’re in the thick of the season, so now might be the time to start thinking about how to survive this madness through to the new year.

So here are our top 10 tips for surviving the most wonderful time of the year.

1.) Keep fit

This is it. You said never again. But you’re here. So this year you will pace yourself and keep your stamina up. Panto is not for the faint of heart and you will need all the energy you can muster. If you have a fitness regime now is not the time to drop it (Although let’s face it we all do). You’ll be running up and down stairs several times a day and generally tearing around as if your life depended on it. So be Stoic about it, you’ll be fitter than everyone else come January.  See it as a great opportunity to keep your fitness levels up whilst everyone else is getting chubby on Pig-in-Blankets.

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2.) Keep your immune system tip top

Now is the time for all of Granny’s magic potions for coughs and colds. Stock up on tablets, echinacea,  oranges, lemon, ginger and honey – stuff more Vitamin C down you than a scurvy-ridden sailor. Getting sick is not an option. You’re in this for the long run.  Get some Berocca down you and wonder at your now fluorescent wee!

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3.) Have a stash of tissues and hand sanitiser at the ready.

You’ll be quicker off the draw than the Milky Bar Kid when an actor comes off stage with a sneeze brewing. Whip a tissue out and stop those germs spreading. A little dose of hand sanitiser will help kill off any of the nasties that like to breed backstage during the festive season.

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4.) Festive treats will see you through.

Just because you’re backstage all Christmas doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the festive fun. Make sure you and your team keep backstage well stocked with festive goodies. It’s amazing what the promise of a mince-pie at the end of a show can do for morale.

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5.) Don’t take it personally

At some point, someone will crack. It’s just a question of who and whether you are on the receiving end. Remember everyone is in the same boat and while there is no excuse for rudeness, we’re all human. Try not to take it personally and stay calm, it’s the season of goodwill!!

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6.) Try not to drink too much on Christmas day

This one’s a toughy. But if you’ve ever experienced a 2.00pm Boxing Day show with a hangover you will understand that restraint is your friend. If you do overdo it on the big day (and let’s face it, you probably will!) then make sure you have gallons of water ready backstage and that you’re well stocked with painkillers…and maybe a bucket.

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7.) Embrace the ‘Ear Worm’ song

We’ve already mentioned the ‘Baby Shark Song’. It’s set to be the most played song in pantos across the land. But no matter what song it is, there will always be one in every show that you just can’t get out of your head. You will sleep with it playing in your head, work with it in your head, and wake singing it. This is the classic ‘Ear Worm’ song. There is nothing you can do but embrace it and sing it at every given opportunity…much to your fellow colleagues’ annoyance.

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8.) Be careful of the countdown

While counting down each show might help, try not to obsess about the number of shows left in the run. If you must tick off each show try and set checkpoints along the way eg. countdown till the next day off rather than the end of the run. Remember to enjoy the moment, you’ll miss it in January…honestly.

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9.) Something will break.

It’s a question of when not if. Something will snap, tear, snag or break at some point during the run. Keep an eye on what the actors are doing on stage and try and figure out the danger points for each costume. Then, all you can do is have a solution or contingency in place and be ready for the inevitable.

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10.) Enjoy

Whilst it can be hard when all your muggle friends are enjoying the festive season, meeting for drinks, meals and the rest, remember there is no point in doing this unless you are enjoying it! You’re in Pantoland and there’s nowhere more Christmassy than that.

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