Writing panto is no joke – I swear on my hair

Karl Broderick is Ireland’s longest-serving panto writer, but can he teach this novice how to write a funny script?

Karl Broderick gives Aoife Valentine some panto-writing tips. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Karl Broderick gives Aoife Valentine some panto-writing tips. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Karl Broderick didn’t attend his first panto until he was 21. He had just met Alan Hughes – now his civil partner and husband-to-be – who was playing Dick Whittington in that year’s panto. Now, he is Ireland’s longest-serving panto writer. “There is nobody else who’s written panto for 18 consecutive years, so it’s bizarre,” he says when we meet.

I’m at his house to “help” him write a scene for this year’s panto at the Tivoli Theatre, Beauty and the Beast. He assures me there is a simple rhythm to writing a panto, but doesn’t elaborate much. “It must be a formula. I’ve struck on it and people like it and it’s working.”

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