Thanks to a generous dose of sunshine this year, it feels as though summer has barely ended. Yet the minute the suntan lotion bottles are off the shelves at the supermarket, the family size tubs of chocolates are out and Jingle Bells is blasting over the store's sound system. But here at Unusual we've been getting into the spirit (of sorts) for months.

That's right – panto season is nearly upon us (oh yes it is) and this year we're working on no less than 11 different productions across the UK – which means planning starts early.

Whether it's Snow White, Aladdin or Sleeping Beauty, each production requires its own unique plans. While pantos have become more and more elaborate over the years – now often matching big West End productions in terms of technical quality, the venue is always going to hold the trump card and determine what is or isn't possible.

Gone are the days when it was acceptable to match slapstick acting with some simple stage trickery. These days audiences pay a premium to attend a panto with ticket prices matching those of big West End productions – and so the anticipation – and the expectation is the same.

While the majority of pantomimes run for a very limited period, we're still looking to deliver the same technical wizardry that a long running musical production does. Flying carpets, flying fairies....yes there's a lot of flying involved in pantos which is why we've got our work cut out. Thankfully we're used to it and even when the suburban venues we're working in are much more restrictive than the big London theatres, we have our own magic up our sleeves to make the magic happen.

But pantomime isn't our only seasonal speciality. We're also been putting the finishing touches to the amazing Christmas lights that are once again adorning Regent Street and Piccadilly. This is the third year that we've worked with the brilliant James Glancy Design, hanging a replica of the first set of lights which went up in Regent Street in 1054. We are responsible for all the rigging requirements with Jim Dugan, head of event management and Adam Sutton, rigging crew chief responsible for rigging and managing the install/ takedown of the lights, devising suitable solutions for rigging the decorations and managing road closures for the duration of the project. This is such an exciting and ambitious project for us – it's challenging of course and organising the logistics and the road closures in what is undoubtedly one of the busiest streets of London, is no mean feat. But we work with a great team at JGD and if this job doesn't get us in the Christmas spirit...nothing will!

Share this