This is one fan’s view of what he would want to happen next, as a real life panto unfolds over at the York Theatre Royal...

The year is 2020. Baron Doom’n’gloomer (Leonard) has rid the theatre goers of the kingdom of their Royal Theatre Panto.

The Babbies and Bairns, united in their grief, join forces with The Barmpotts (Barrass and Cooper) in their quest to track down Dame (Kaler) Dottie Barmpott (retired) now residing somewhere in the less known village of Aycombe which is protected by the magical Twilight Gnome (Powell).

It is Dame Dottie and Dottie alone who can reunite the Babbies and Bairns and the magic of panto with the Royal Theatre, ridding the kingdom of Baron Doom’n’gloomer once and for all.

Can Martin, Suzy and the Babbies and Bairns find Dame Berwick in time for an opening night and curtain up or will our beloved panto be lost forever, along with the magical waggon wheels, sing a long song sheet and our beloved cast?

Mr Berwick Kaler, with the greatest of love and respect...we need you!

Steve Cass,

York Theatre Royal Panto fanatic,

Key Way, Fulford, York

Time to move on from Berwick’s last bow

Readers of a certain age may remember leather-clad Jim Morrison, the captivating and charismatic leader of late Sixties group The Doors.

Jim tragically met his end. The rest of the band tried to keep the show on the road: after all, they had fine songs like ‘Light My Fire’, ‘Riders on the Storm, ‘Break on Through’ and many more rock anthems. But without the prowling Lizard King to snarl the lyrics, it wasn’t the same. The lines were there but that which gave them purpose had passed on. It was time to halt and allow newer bands to take on the Goth-rock mantle.

Of course our Berwick is both kindlier and in ruder health, but the same principle applies.

Suzy, David, Martin and the rest are fine players...but without the lead man on stage it’s a hollow echo of what it once was.

The solution is not to go back, but to glory in past success whilst striking out in new directions.

Berwick’s last bow in 2019 should have seen the end of his inspired anarchy and, just as the theatre did when they first engaged Berwick, they should start afresh for this December’s Panto.

David Lewis, Church End, Cawood, Selby

Mr Bird should listen to panto fans

When Tom Bird was hired as Executive Director at York Theatre Royal in December 2017, it was a golden opportunity.

Sadly, it seems, Mr. Bird is now single handedly wanting to put the future of York Theatre Royal at risk by alienating its core audience, and potentially decimating its largest revenue stream, by drawing to an abrupt close more than 40 years of tradition at the theatre (Panto fans tell of their heartbreak - and some threaten theatre sit-in, Press online, January 13).

By ending the current format of its beloved family pantomime, and alienating the current cast, the theatre betrays every family in town that has supported it and its adored cast for all of that time.

It was always going to be a difficult day when Berwick Kaler hung up his boots and a daunting task for the remaining cast and production team to carry on without him. In part, press criticism of the production is fair, but one has to question whether higher management actually have the value of this York tradition close to their hearts.

If Mr. Bird really wants to be ‘brave’ moving into 2020 he would perhaps do well to listen to the people that matter: the audience and people of York who have continued to love and support York Theatre Royal for 275 years.

Craig Ware,

Ouston Lane, Tadcaster

Perhaps its time for a totally new Christmas show

We have been hearing from members of the pantomime cast at the Theatre Royal that they would really like Berwick Kaler to come back. This is not surprising I suppose as he was always the life and soul of the party and made their life so much easier.

However, you can’t turn the clock back. Berwick retired in glory last year and should, in my opinion, accept that fact. Future Christmas shows may have to change to avoid comparisons being made with what is now past. Something completely new may be called for for a while during the Christmas period, at least until memories of Berwick have faded.

Jean Frost,

Woodlands Grove,


Why is Bird killing the Golden Goose?

Two years after leaving Shakespeare’s Globe Tom Bird, now Executive Director of York Theatre Royal, appears to be planning to kill the Golden Goose by getting rid of 40 years of York traditional pantomime in the form of Berwick Kaler and his longstanding team of brilliant actors. Many thousands of adults and children (mine included) have looked forward to this tongue-in-cheek farce every Christmas, and still love to experience the best panto in the world.

I can only think that Tom Bird wants to put his own stamp on the Theatre Royal and probably follow other theatrical Christmas productions which basically are celebrity circus performances.

I suspect if this is the case as we already have a theatre in York specialising in such productions, he may experience empty seats.

Bob Waite,

Holgate, York