The word “Pantomime” is defined as ‘theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, involving music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is usually based on a fairy tale or nursery rhyme, usually produced around Christmas’.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good pantomime! So much so, that I managed to coerce my husband and my wedding party, at our wedding reception, to put on our first pantomime. That was now 8 years ago and since then we’ve gone on to produce five more crazy shows.
It was no great surprise to my family that a pantomime suddenly appeared during our wedding reception. My parents had been well used to me as a child from a very young age, almost every weekend, dressing my two brothers in tutus, gathering together the neighbourhood children and putting on a ‘show’ in our garage. Dance and the performing arts have been an enormous passion in my life.
For the last four years, we have annually held the Brisbane Family Law Centre Charity Pantomime where my committed colleagues and I have come together and put on a silly show for the entertainment of our friends. Together, we have now raised over $50,000 for various Queensland charities. What started as a joke amongst friends has fast become a highlight on our professional calendar.
So why am I telling you about this? It’s only July and already each week I am being asked ‘When is the pantomime? Can I be involved? and What is it about?’ What started off with a group of around 12 cast members 4 years ago has this year has grown into a group of over 60.
I have come to learn that the pantomime is so much more than a silly show. The pantomime is an opportunity for my team and my colleagues to come together over a few weeks and not be lawyers and just be friends.
I have learned more about my colleagues and my team in those couple of weeks of rehearsals over the last few years than I could perhaps have otherwise ever learned about them in our professional sphere. I’ve learned how talented so many of my colleagues are and how many hidden actors and performers lie amongst my profession.
The opportunity to come together, to wear silly costumes and to attempt to dance and sing, enables a group of people who otherwise experience significant stress and pressure in their workplaces the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and just be ‘happy’. Perhaps the most important part for most of us is that it is all for a worthy cause.
Each year ‘new’ people join our cast and I thoroughly enjoy watching their trepidation as they step onto the stage for the first time. More rewarding is the joy they share as they step off stage, asking me what we are doing for the show next year!
For my team, the weeks in the lead-up to the pantomime are the most productive in my office. Whilst you’d think that we’d all be distracted with rehearsals, costumes, props, it turns out that it’s the time of the year when everybody is most dedicated to being at work.
My work is something I am passionate about, but like all of us, there are many other aspects of my life that I am equally passionate about. I believe that fulfilment in life comes from being able to combine our passions- that is what gets us jumping out of bed in the morning and feeling like we have purpose to our lives.
A wiser person than me has said “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. Your passion will lead you right to your purpose.” Not a truer saying has been said!
I am eternally grateful that my parents spent many hours and no doubt many dollars in my dance lessons throughout my childhood. As a creative soul, theatre and dance have been a large part of my life. Had you asked me as I left school that I would end up a lawyer, I would have laughed! Had you then told me I would somehow manage to ensure around 50 other lawyers danced once a year in stupid costumes I would have laughed harder!
But the beauty of life is we never really know where it will take us.
I know my passions lie in creativity and people- those two themes light my way in life. I have found many ways to mix my passions and no doubt will continue to experiment. Perhaps you have done the same? Surely the result can’t be as crazy as a pantomime producing family lawyer? Or perhaps it can.
And just in case you want to get involved or just come and watch us make fools of ourselves (again) we will see you on Saturday 22 November 2014 at the Princess Theatre, Brisbane for this year’s Panto- ‘Snow White and the 7 Superheroes!’