A fat white woman with red hair in bunches dressed as Red Riding Hood dances with arms outstretched. In the background a panto dame plays guitar.

Red Riding Hood rides again with Back to Ours

By | News, Panto, Uncategorised

That’s right: our panto will return for four-days only in the February half-term, as we embark on a mini-tour of Hull with Back to Ours. Awooooo!

Red Riding Hood, Pattie Breadcake and the gang will visit community centres around Southcoates, Hessle Road, Orchard Park and Marfleet, with the family-version of the show on the following dates:

  • Wed 14 Feb – St Aiden’s Church, Southcoats Ave
  • Thu 15 Feb – Edinburgh Community Centre, Woodcock St
  • Fri 16 Feb – St Michael’s Church Hall, Orchard Park Rd
  • Sat 17 Feb – St Stevens Neighbourhood Centre, Annandale Rd

Performances will be at 2pm and 7pm at all venues on all dates.

This is the first time we’ve toured our panto and we can’t thank Back to Ours enough for the opportunity to head out of the city centre with our daft little show.

Tickets are on-sale now through the Back to Ours website.

Panto Vote

Choose our 2024 panto

By | News, Panto

Red Riding Hood opens in just one week, almost a year after you chose it in our audience vote at Robin Hood.

This Christmas we once again invite you, our panto audience, to choose next year’s show. Let’s meet your candidates.


An absolute classic, which we last performed in 2017 at Fruit. Pattie Breadcake would have to be one of the two sisters, but who could be the second?

Jack and the Beanstalk

You trade the family cow for some magic beans and grow a beanstalk in the backyard that leads to a sky castle inhabited by a giant. We’ve all done it!

Treasure Island

We know you love a curveball when it comes to panto and if anybody can out-Muppet the Muppets, it’s Middle Child.

Dick Whittington

The one where the jokes write themselves, last performed by us in 2016. Dick, Puss in Boots and one of the best panto villains in King (or Queen) Rat.


Everybody who attends Red Riding Hood at Social this Christmas can vote at the Buns of Steel polling station, by the bar.

Remember: it’s one panto pal, one vote, but whatever you choose, we’ll perform next year!

Godspeed, and may democracy prevail.

Meet the cast of Red Riding Hood

By | News, Panto, Shows

The harvest moon is a-rising and trouble is on the way… in the shape of our fabulous panto cast!

Meet the gang who will bring Red Riding Hood to the stage at Social this Christmas, in our anarchic take on the classic fairytale.

Chosen by you in a public vote last year, our rock’n’roll panto features a gnarly werewolf, live music and the chance to make as much noise as you possibly can.

There’s some Hull faces who are familiar to panto fans, as well as a few new ones, who we’re sure you will welcome with open arms.

So without further ado, let’s introduce you to…

Alice Beaumont channelled Rik Mayall to play the Sheriff of Cottingham in Robin Hood last year to much acclaim.

This Christmas her character inspiration takes a sinister turn, as she injects the spirit of Margaret Thatcher into Baroness Scrimp, the politician out to destroy Red Riding Hood and Pattie Breadcake’s bakery.

Drummer extraordinaire Jack Chamberlain, who played King John in Robin Hood, sticks to the dark side this year, as hunter Colonel Montgomery Blowhard.

Blowhard by name, blowhard by nature, this khaki-clad nuisance is Scrimp’s right-hand man but more bark than bite.

Marc Graham returns as dame Pattie Breadcake, who has kicked the habit following last year’s spiritual sortie as Sister Skeg.

This year business is booming at the Buns of Steel bakery, where Pattie has her fingers in all the pies. The only thing missing is a fella to fix her soggy bottoms.

Long-time panto star Josie Morley resumes the role of audience friend, this time playing Jack Lumber.

He’s a lumberjack (geddit?) and so was his dad, and his dad before him, and his dad before him, and his dad before him. But his dad before him was an estate agent and we don’t talk about that.

Making her panto debut is Sarah Penney, of Beach Body Ready and Fast Food Megaverse fame.

Fun fact: Sarah’s skeleton is composed entirely of funny bones, so bring a mop because an accidental wee is 100% guaranteed.

Your favourite reluctant stage manager, Andy Ross, will once again appear with all the vim and vigour we’ve come to expect from them.

And after a star-turn as a moon in Robin Hood, we’ve managed to craft an entire extra character out of the same joke. Who says the arts are underfunded?

Oliver Strong returns as understudy, ready to step-in should a performer fall ill, as he did with great aplomb last Christmas.

You may also recognise Oliver from Faustus, by From Below at Stage at the Dock and as the Dungeon Master in Silent Uproar’s Dungeons and Dragons.

Beats Bus hero Kobby Taylor makes his first panto appearance since playing Flounder in The Little Mermaid.

This time Kobby, who also appeared in There Should Be Unicorns, plays Rupert Scaremonger, the roving reporter sowing seeds of fear among the people of Hull.

New behind the keys at Social this Christmas is Natalie Walker, who will lead the band in our rock’n’roll takes on various pop songs. Her most recent work includes Beverley Does Broadway and The Pirates of Christmas Island with She Productions.

And joining us on Saturday 23 December as BSL interpreter for three performances, including family and late-night shows, is Dave Wycherley.

Dave has interpreted our pantomimes every year since 2017 and we are delighted to have him join us again this Christmas.

Production team

Working their panto magic behind the scenes is our amazing production team.

Natalie Young is the evergreen brains behind our set, props and costume design and Katie Price, who turned up on our doorstep with a portfolio of costume work, is now our very first panto costume maker, bringing Natalie’s designs to life.

Adam Foley is our veteran lighting designer, tasked with glowing up the Buns of Steel bakery, Anlaby Woods and other scenery.

Jay Hirst joins the rehearsal room as deputy stage manager and will run the show from the tech desk in the venue, alongside sound engineer Tom Smith, while Anja Bryan-Smith joins panto for the first time as stage manager, after working on our Gipsyville project, This One’s For Us.

Jon Beney also enters the fray for the first time as choreographer.

Paul Smith, Middle Child’s artistic director, has once again written the script after it was selected by last year’s audience. He will also direct the show.

And finally the Middle Child core team will produce, production manage, dramaturg and market the show.

  • Tickets for Red Riding Hood are on-sale now, available from £13.50-19.50
A red and white ring toss target that says Little Red Riding Hood

Our audience choose Little Red Riding Hood as 2023 panto

By | News, Panto, Uncategorised

The votes are in and, after pulling an all-nighter to check the count with David Dimbleby, dame Sister Skeg is delighted to reveal that our 2023 panto will be…

A red and white ring toss target that says Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

The classic fairy tale about the little girl and the hungry wolf was the overwhelming favourite with our audience for Robin Hood: Prince of Thorngumbald.

They were able to choose between four different stories for us to produce for this year’s show, voting in a sidestall at Social throughout the run of our Christmas show.

Our audience have chosen our panto story in this way every year since selecting The Little Mermaid in 2019.

We’ll have more details available about this year’s panto in the spring, so stay tuned. Sign up to our mailing list to be the first in the know.

Panto, football and ticket prices

By | Blog, Panto

Audience development manager, Jamie Potter, explains some of the decisions we’ve made around Robin Hood, our panto this Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – panto launch day!

Yes, it’s only July and we’re all slowly digesting barbecue food, but our minds are firmly set on Christmas and the recurring matter of what costume Marc Graham will wear on the stage at Social.

Robin Hood is the story, as chosen by you, and in a year of Jubilee extravagance the script almost writes itself, as our hotshot hero gallivants around town, robbing the rich and giving it to the poor.

We can’t wait to share it with you, especially after the incredible nights we had back at Social last year. It definitely feels like panto came home.

On which note, we wanted to be open about a couple of things: football and panto ticket prices.

Marc Graham as Pattie Breadcake in Rapunz’ull (2021). Photo by Studio Blue Creative.


This year we have the small matter of the men’s world cup to address, as FIFA, in a completely out-of-character episode, decided to award it to a country where it is simply too hot to play in the summer.

That meant they had to reschedule it for the winter. For December, in fact. With the final on Sunday 18. The weekend we usually open panto.

For many people, seeing the country grind to a halt to accommodate Our Boys amid endless renditions of Three Lions is a special circle of Hell that Dante could never have conjured.

We also know that many of our audience are huge football fans and, for a company who need full houses to make panto pay for itself, we can’t risk competing for people’s attention, especially with England among the favourites to lift the trophy this year.

That’s why we’ve decided to wait until the final whistle before we open Robin Hood and perform either side of Christmas, so that everybody can have the best time inside a packed out Social, cheering and booing. Like the football.

We were able to make that decision safe in the knowledge that we had your backing, thanks to the many, many people who took part in our survey about scheduling shows.

Your responses let us know there is a huge appetite for something to do in the weird week between Christmas pudding and Auld Lang Syne, so we’ve decided to fill it: with panto dames, live music and people dressed as woodland animals.

That’s the biggest response we’ve ever had to a survey and it genuinely helped us fix a problem, so we really do appreciate everybody taking the time to share their thoughts.

Andrew Ross as a squirrel in Rapunz’ull (2021). Photo by Studio Blue Creative.

Ticket prices

The other matter we wanted to be upfront about is the ticket prices, which this year are going up by £1.50 each.

Middle Child exist as a company to change who gets to see and tell their stories on stage and affordability plays a huge part in that.

Many theatre prices are simply too expensive for ordinary people and a significant barrier to attending.

That’s why we do a lot of work to provide free tickets to local charities and community groups, supported by our audiences through our solidarity ticket scheme, as well as keep ticket prices as low as possible.

We’ve blogged before about the difficulties in making subsidised theatre and how expensive it is.

This year, with inflation a word on everybody’s lips, it’s no different, which is why we’ve had to increase prices for our panto.

To balance out some of the increase though, we are able to offer the first 400 tickets on-sale, across both family and late-night shows, at last year’s prices, as an ‘early bird’ deal.

These will be available when tickets go on-sale on Monday, until the end of August or once the first 400 are snapped up – whichever comes first.

Our solidarity scheme will continue this year, so that you can chip in a little extra to help fund tickets for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to enjoy a Christmas show.

We have also been awarded funding from the Hull and East Riding Charitable Trust for our walking bus programme, to partner with a local school and bring pupils to see a show.

If you are an individual, business or charity who would like to work with us to extend our free ticket schemes, please do get in touch.

Alice Beaumont in Rapunz’ull (2021). Photo by Studio Blue Creative.

The Middle Child panto, now in its eleventh year, is one of our proudest achievements and a highlight of our programme.

We absolutely love seeing people come together, often reuniting as family and friendship groups for a Christmas ritual, to make the show their own.

Staging it is rarely easy, but that’s part of the charm: putting on a low-budget panto that’s full of heart and community and that all comes from you. We couldn’t do it without you.

See you down Humber Street in December!

Like what we do? Here’s how you can support our work

Join our community of Middle Child Mates by subscribing to our pay what you can supporters’ scheme and help create a world where anybody’s story can be told or heard.

Panto voting booth with four buckets recessed into a piece of wood painted with stripes

Revealed: our 2022 Hull panto, as chosen by you

By | News, Panto

Every year our panto audience decides which fairy tale they’d most like to see us bring to life the following Christmas.

Rapunz’ull was no different and you voted in your droves, with Robin Hood, Aladdin, Snow White and Cinderella in the poll.

Panto voting booth with four buckets recessed into a piece of wood painted with stripes

After counting your votes, checking, double checking, and bloody well checking again, we are now able to announce this year’s show.

The 2022 Middle Child panto, as chosen by you, will be…

Robin Hood in yellow text on a green background

Yes, revolutionary fever has gripped Hull and you want to see some good old fashioned stealing from the rich, so who are we to argue with that?

Robin Hood will go on-sale later in the year. Stay tuned for ticket details and dates.

We’ll be back soon with Out Loud, a new writing night at Humber Street Gallery, in association with Silent Uproar, and There Should Be Unicorns, a spectacular outdoor family show coming to Hull in the spring.

A white woman in stripey top, dungarees and backwards baseball cap holds a placard that says 'viva la revolution'

What Plan B means for panto

By | News, Panto

The government last night introduced new measures against Covid-19 that affect theatres, such as mandatory face masks for indoor public venues.

This includes Social, where our panto Rapunz’ull runs from 16-24 December.

Vaccine passports do not apply, however we are still kindly asking if you could do our team and fellow audience members a huge favour and take a lateral flow test before you leave home.

What else we’re doing

As we wrote last week, our cast and crew are taking lateral flow tests every day, while some of the wider Middle Child team have now returned to home working.

Social will also be deep cleaned every day throughout the run and has a ventilation system, while contactless e-tickets are the default and contactless payments are accepted at the bar.

We’re so excited to be back and part of your Christmases again, but we also want to keep everyone safe, so please follow the guidance and help keep pantoland magical.

Lots of love,
Middle Child x

Headshots of the eight performers of Rapunz'ull

Meet the cast of Rapunz’ull

By | News, Panto, Shows

We swear it’s still September, but the calendar don’t lie and rehearsals for this year’s panto, Rapunz’ull, start a week today. Ye gads!

In which case, we better introduce the talented performers who will be taking to the stage at Social this Christmas, from 16-24 December.

Alice Beaumont returns to panto to play the lead role and hero with the magic hair, Rapunzel.

Alice’s previous work with Middle Child includes pantomimes, The Little Mermaid and Cinderella, as well as All We Ever Wanted Was Everything.

Jack Chamberlain will be tapping those toms and slapping those snares in musician’s corner, as well as getting up to mischief on the stage itself as Dogbreath.

Jack has appeared in numerous Middle Child Christmas shows, including as the Mirror in last year’s animated panto.

The multi-instrumentalist Alex Turner aspires to be, James Frewer will lead musical proceedings as Piano James and the show’s musical director.

Frew, as he likes to be known, has written music for Middle Child since the beginning on various shows, including All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, Us Against Whatever and The Canary and the Crow.

Marc Graham returns as Pattie Breadcake, Hull’s favourite guitar-shredding, husband-shedding panto dame.

Marc won a Stage Award for Excellence for his turn as the MC in All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and has handled more hecklers than Social has been called Fruit.

Making his panto debut under the lights at Social, as villain Mayor Gothel, is Angelo Irving.

You may recognise Angelo from his Black Boris viral videos, as well as Netflix’s Death to 2020, for which he also has a writing credit.

Angelo also reviews theatre for the likes of Exeunt and The Stage, after participating in our New Critics Programme in 2019, and also wrote for our summer cabaret, we used to be closer than this.

Anna Mitchelson joins the cast as understudy, part of our Covid-19 precautions to ensure the show can go on, ready to step-in should a performer fall ill.

Anna starred in our 2019 production of One Life Stand and also appeared in our comeback cabaret earlier this year, we used to be closer than this.

Panto regular Josie Morley stars as Ace Ladd, the Hull botanist in search of his radical roots who wants to start a revolution.

As well as appearing in countless Middle Child pantomimes, Josie also performed in our karaoke cabaret, Us Against Whatever and starred in The Roaring Girls’ Beach Body Ready.

The man whose face launched a thousand squeaks during Cinderella, Andrew Ross is the deadpan extraordinaire bar none.

Andrew will double-up stage management and clowning duties as Baron von Stagehand and has previously appeared as Pattie’s sister, Chips, in The Little Mermaid.

And joining us on Saturday 18 December as BSL interpreter for three performances, including family and late-night shows, is Dave Wycherley.

Dave has interpreted our pantomimes every year since 2017 and we are delighted to have him join us again this Christmas.

Production team

Working their wizardry behind the scenes is our amazing production team.

Natalie Young is the brains behind our set, props and costume design, bringing Hull Fair to Social, with special thanks to the University of Hull drama department for building the set.

Adam Foley is working wonders with the lights to capture the neon atmosphere of the fair on the usual modest budget.

Danielle Harris joins the rehearsal room as deputy stage manager and will run the show from the tech desk in the venue.

Paul Smith, Middle Child’s artistic director, has not only penned the script but will once again direct the show.

And finally the Middle Child core team will produce, production manage, dramaturg and market the show.

  • Tickets for Rapunz’ull are on-sale now, available from £10.50-£16.50.
The Little Mermaid - Hull Pantomime

Where have the panto family tickets gone?

By | News, Panto

Audience development manager, Jamie Potter, writes about the pressures of putting a pantomime on-sale – and what it means for our family tickets.

Back in early 2020, before the pandemic upturned everything, we were evaluating The Little Mermaid and how well it had gone. In particular, we had some questions about our family ticket offer, which gives people a discount when they buy two standard and two children’s tickets.

We learned from audience feedback that while the offer was very popular, not all families have two parents and two children. Single parents – especially single mothers – are excluded from any kind of discount and some people simply don’t have families.

That didn’t sit well with us, so we spoke about it, a lot.

We were aware how much that discount was appreciated, especially when, despite our best efforts to keep prices low, £16.50 for an adult is still an expensive ticket in a place like Hull.

But we were also uncomfortable with providing a discount that favours one particular social group to the exclusion of others.

And there was no other way to provide discounts to different family types, other than by keeping prices low across the board.

So that’s what we decided to do: keep our ticket prices as low as possible and discontinue the family offer, as the most equitable way forward.

Production shot from The Little Mermaid - Hull Panto

The Little Mermaid (2019)

Before we could go on-sale however, Covid-19 struck and in 2020 our panto went online, for free.

Fast forward eighteen months and we’re able to announce a new production, Rapunz’ull, on an actual stage, in front of a fleshy, bony audience, back in our spiritual home on Humber Street.

First though, we had to go through hours, days, weeks even, of planning and forecasting to try and make the budget work. And it still looks tight. Like, really tight.

Aware of the financial pressures people are under right now, we revisited our family ticket discussion. However, we worked out that if we reinstated the offer, the discount would roughly double our expected loss in our best-case sales forecast.

That’s not a typo. We were already expecting to make a loss on panto.

Even if we sell every ticket this year, to a total audience size similar to previous years, but amid the uncertainty of Covid-19, we will still not cover production costs.

This is where the hard reality of panto finance crashes the Christmas party: making theatre is expensive and our panto is no exception.

Production shot from The Little Mermaid - Hull Panto - Photo by Sarah Beth

The Little Mermaid (2019)

Unlike the rest of our work, we receive no additional funding to stage panto, now in its tenth year, so it must always wash its own face through box office income.

Whereas in large venues Christmas shows often subsidise work the rest of the year, for Middle Child it’s the other way round.

That puts us in perennial conflict between balancing production costs with the price of tickets.

What we’ve done then is trim the budget the best we can, while still paying people properly, and made the show as small as we’re comfortable to take it without losing its essence of a messy, anarchic, musical night out.

We’ve also applied to the third round of the Culture Recovery Fund, to cover against any potential losses from Rapunz’ull.

Success here would make a huge difference, but we still need to make a workable budget in-case we are turned down, and all the while remembering we will face the same puzzle in 2022.

Despite our work on the budget, we are still forecast to make a loss, though it’s one we’ve managed to reduce to a figure we can absorb. Nonetheless, it’s still a risk.

Production shot from The Little Mermaid - Hull Panto - Photo by Sarah Beth

The Little Mermaid (2019)

Every year there is at least one moment, in planning, when we ask the dreaded question: “Should we even do panto anymore?”

But the answer is always yes. Because Middle Child is panto.

It’s our most popular show, with our largest audience, who return year-after-year.

Panto is an entry point to theatre for so many people and it encapsulates our entire approach to form: the spirit of panto – loud, fun, audience-centric – runs through our work all year round, not just at Christmas.

Why are we telling you this?

To be honest and open about the realities of making theatre, especially a production that is so loved by audiences in Hull, as well as by the dedicated people who make it.

The Middle Child panto is incredibly rewarding for all involved, but it’s a thin and wobbly tightrope that we must walk to ensure it can happen. Hence the transparency about the decisions we make.

Through all of this we are still very aware that 2021 has been and continues to be very difficult for many financially.

That’s why, before we discontinue the family ticket, we’re going to make one last revised offer – a Friends and Family offer – available for one week only. This will give you a fiver off any four tickets bought together, when you buy at least one adult and one children’s ticket.

It’s a little compromise we’ve decided to make, as we balance on that tricky tightrope during a year that the entire theatre world has found difficult to navigate.

Beyond all the budget chin-stroking, we’re enormously excited to be back on-stage with panto, after two years away thanks to lockdown.

And this year it’s not any old stage – we’re also back in the warehouse, albeit with a different name and a lick of paint or two, where it all began in 2011.

Social on Humber Street is our spiritual home, not just for panto, but for countless Middle Child shows over the past ten years.

The script is hilarious, the cast and creative team are super talented and the tunes we will cover are some proper bops, so we can’t wait to see you there at Christmas.

Is there anything else – apart from buying tickets, of course – that you can do to help?

Become a Middle Child Mate. This is our monthly pay what you can supporters’ scheme, in which you receive a free tote bag, pin badge and exclusive bi-monthly newsletter from the team, plus other occasional perks.

Sponsor us. We have a number of reasonable packages available for local businesses, with a series of benefits including shout outs on social media, inclusion on print and thank yous in our 20 shows. Contact Hattie for more information.

Buy a Solidarity Ticket. Every year we give away tickets to charity and community groups working with people in Hull, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to see a Christmas show. These are funded by a post-show collection on the door and this year we are now able to accept donations when you buy a ticket online.

Cross your fingers. And your toes, that we’re successful with our application to the Culture Recovery Fund.

Rapunz’ull runs from 16-24 December 2021, at Social on Humber Street, Hull