The Pantomime Awards 2023

We won Best Director at the UK Pantomime Awards 2023!

On Tuesday 11 April 2023, we took a trip to London to attend the UK Pantomime Awards. This was our third year in attendance (4th nomination, but one ceremony was digital!). We were nominated for Best Script (Lyndsay Maples) and Best Director (Estelle van Warmelo).

The ceremony was a star studded affair and we were rubbing shoulder with Ian McKellen, Vernon Kay, Christopher Biggins, Debbie McGee, Myra Du Bois and many more!

We anxiously took our seats and awaited our categories. First up was Best Director, which we WON! The screams and cheers from our little group were phenomenal. We were so happy for Estelle for winning, she really deserved it. Unfortunately Lyndsay didn’t win with Best Script, but it was the third time she has made it in to the Top 5 panto writers in the UK – which is such an amazing achievement in itself and she’s very much a winner in our eyes!

Director, Estelle van Warmelo, stood infront of a purple backdrop with UK Pantomime Awards written on it, holding the Best Director Award

Best Director Winner. Estelle van Warmelo said:

“What an honour it is to receive this award from the UK Pantomime Association! I’m enormously pleased for the whole Courtyard team who have worked tirelessly and devotedly on all the in-house productions since The Courtyard began.

Panto is difficult to get right, and every year we strive to improve, develop and bring freshness and quality to the show, a challenge our writer Lyndsay Maples tackles with aplomb alongside the rest of the creative team. I’m particularly grateful for the support Ellis Kerkhoven and Madi MacMahon have given me personally over the past two years. Bringing them into the directing department has helped us through an enormously difficult time while raising the bar on the integrity of the show. I’m delighted to acknowledge that this award reflects the strength of our department, not just a single person.

Huge thanks to the UK Pantomime Association, John Good Ltd for the award and to Ian Archer for letting me go wild every year. Having that artistic freedom is a rare gift from a producer so I’m grateful for his faith in me. Here’s to next year!”

Panto Award winners

A man and two women stand smiling holding an award

Read on to find out more about the Pantomime Awards and our Nominations.

The Courtyard team are delighted to have received two nominations in The Pantomime Awards for the fourth year running! 🍾🏆

Beauty & The Beast has received a nomination for Best Script (Lyndsay Maples) and Best Director (Estelle van Warmelo). We’re so excited and over the moon that this power-duo are getting the recognition they deserve!

Writer Lyndsay Maples, who also received a Pantomime Award nomination for Best Script for Cinderella in 2020, and Jack and the Beanstalk in 2022 said…

“I’m so proud that Beauty and the Beast has been nominated for best script at this year’s UK Pantomime Associations Pantomime Awards and so happy to be nominated alongside Director Estelle van Warmelo, who every year takes my words and gives them wings to fly! A lot of heart and soul is put into The Courtyard pantomimes by everyone in the team, and it’s great when our efforts are recognised like this.”

Beauty & The Beast Production photos - Mark Douet

Director, Estelle van Warmelo said…

“I am delighted our show has been nominated again. Every year, monumental levels of care go into the production and it’s heart-warming to know that the phenomenal talents of our hard-working team are recognised. The nomination reflects the skill and dedication of my creative collaborators, not least my Associate Director Ellis Kerkhoven and Assistant Madeleine MacMahon. I’m fiercely proud of our tenacious little company and thrilled that The Courtyard has once again earned its place on the national panto platform.”

Beauty & The Beast Production photos - Mark Douet

This the fourth year in a row (excluding 2020/21 for obvious reasons!), The Courtyard have been nominated. Here’s what we’ve got them for before…
2018/19 Peter Pan – Pantomime of the year
2019/20 Cinderella – Best Ensemble, Best Script, Best Newcomer and Best Villain
2021/22 Jack & The Beanstalk – Best Script, Best Pantomime
2022/23 Beauty & The Beast – Best Script & Best Direction

Beauty & The Beast Production photos - Mark Douet

The Pantomime Awards are the industry recognised awards for celebrating the best of this British theatrical institution.

Judges are selected from a range of backgrounds for their knowledge and passion for pantomime. The judges watch and mark the show based on a wide-ranging criteria covering all elements of the pantomime.

The Award Ceremony will take place on Tuesday 11 April 2023 – keep all of your fingers and toes crossed for us! 🤞

Dick Whittington

The Courtyard’s Pantomime for 2023/24 is Dick Whittington! 

To celebrate The Courtyard’s 25th Anniversary year we’ll be following our spirited hero Dick and his feline friend, as they pack up their handkerchief to embark on an epic adventure seeking fame and fortune.

Their magical rags to riches tale takes us on an exciting journey to London Town… but will the streets be paved with gold?

With an action-packed swashbuckling story, magnificent musical numbers, spectacular sets, electric live band, dazzling costumes and a joyfully funny script, Dick Whittington is the festive family pantomime that will leave you feeling rich beyond your wildest dreams!

Book tickets for Dick Whittington here