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I think they recycle the numbers anyway, but the one I recall was quite petite and had a quite remarkable skill set. 

I've recently discovered a "new" one, off broadway so to speak but appears equally as proficient. Happy days in Bangkok at the moment.

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Wigan's World Pie-Eating Championships cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic

Wigan’s famous World Pie-Eating Championships have bitten the crust ... sorry dust.

The main sticking point appears to be the conflict between putting food in the mouth - the contest involves the devouring of one pie in the shortest possible time - and wearing a mask!

Organiser and piemaster Tony Callaghan said: “Having to wear a mask during the competition itself, but not before or after, has proven to be a fundamental hurdle. 

“No mask is required in a hospitality setting, but masks are legally required in an indoor sports stadium. Any other elite sport would find a way of getting round pandemic restrictions, but we’ve been gagged.

“We looked at staging the event outside on the pavement, but there’d be 30-odd lads and lasses and their coaches - in some cases 38-seaters - and some of these lads are big units, meaning they could easily be mistaken for traffic islands if caught in the wrong light through a rainy windscreen.

“Pandemic rules mean that competitors can have a pint and a bag of pork scratchings pre-event, but as soon as they enter the competition arena up back’t bar area they have to wear a mask.

“Government guidelines are gobble-degook. Or gobble-avoidance-degook. There is an argument that the actual competitors in indoor sports don’t have to wear masks, but Government guidelines make no reference to that. And if people like Lewis Hamilton have to wear a face covering during competition, then that’s all the guidance we needed.

The technical members of the organising committee experimented with things like pureed pie, angled straws and funnels, as well as those things plumbers use to seal the gap between bath and wall tiles, to allow pie consumption while still wearing a mask but there wasn’t an elegant solution resulting in less than half-an-hour to consume a pie when we’d be expecting around 30 seconds in a sporting environment. This event has always been a sprint not a marathon.

“As for staging a virtual event on Zoom this would have proved impractical because we don’t have enough plug holes or internet capacity in the pub for dozens of competitors to bring their computers in.”

Mr Callaghan said that Harry’s Bar is now considered breaking with decades of tradition and staging the event away from its traditional mid-December fixture date.



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A one-year degree in pantomime is being launched by a university.

Staffordshire University claims it is a world first and the masters course is aimed at people working inside as well as outside the industry.

Students on the course, due to start in September 2022, will get practical training in the art form as well as research the discipline.

"We want to see how far we can take this," Associate Professor of Acting and Directing Robert Marsden said.

The role of pantomime in the 21st Century was also going to be examined, he said, "particularly post Me Too and Black Lives Matter".

Questions including "how do we address the gender issues, how do we tell the story of Aladdin in 2021, how do we get that balance of male/female roles?" will be asked, Prof Marsden added.

As part of the course, students will create and produce their own original show which will be performed in the local community.

The university says they will also be getting formal training and networking for future careers through placements and work experience.

The aim is not just to produce actors, directors and other staff for pantomimes. Prof Marsden said skills picked up on the course could be used in other areas.

As one example, he said there was a "whole module on setting up a theatre company" which could give students "lots of critical, practical skills".

The course has been put together with the Wilkes Academy of Performing Arts and its principal, Jonathan Wilkes, has regularly appeared in pantomime at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.

"It has been a big part of my life and I'm looking forward to passing on my knowledge and skills to support the next generation of panto professionals," he said.

Pantomimes became typical Christmas fare in the Victorian era and are often crucial to theatres for income and reaching new audiences.

The course is being backed by seasoned pantomime performers Stephen Mulhern and Christopher Biggins, who said "we should all be preserving traditions".

FFS what next, this is even dumber than underwater basket weaving, and I know what to call a pantomime dame “Madem Twinky” or whatever, depending on pantomime, but what do you call 2 men dressed as a Horse?

Just knew BLM would be part of it, 


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