Oh Yes it is! : Origins of Pantomime
The word pantomime comes from the Greek words Pan, which means all, and mimos, which translates as imitator. Like theatre, it encompassed the genres of comedy and tragedy but was looked down on as a low form of art.
A 'comedy of professional artists' travelled from province to province, generally improvising their way through a plot involving characters such as Harlequin and his true love, Columbine. Other stock characters were the over protective father, Pantaloon. Each story had the same fixed characters: the lovers, father, servants (one being crafty and the other stupid).
Commedia spread across Europe from Italy to France and by the middle of the 17th century began to be popular in England. These roles/characters can be found in today's pantomimes.
Development as a distinctly English entertainment
During the 19th century the nature of pantomime changed, and in the 20th the traditional harlequinade has been replaced by topical songs and allusions for which a children's tale is hardly more than a pretext, with vestiges of its old character in the acrobatic antics of comedians.
Almost always based on traditional children's stories, plot lines are often 'adapted' for comic or satirical effect.
Most Popular Titles: (of which Bridgeman additionally has a wide range of childrens illustrations)