Twitpanto – the Twitter pantomime


This afternoon I was Trig – one of the ugly sisters in Twitpanto, a production of Cinderella played out over Twitter. My co-stars were mainly Birmingham-based twitterers, along with a few of minor Twitter slebs.

Jon Bounds, a social media consultant, was responsible for the idea, script, direction… pretty much everything in fact, and a fine job he did too.

My fave things about Twitpanto:

  • It was absolutely chaotic but it absolutely worked
  • The audience participation – it’s an important part of a panto and seeing over 50 tweets of ‘oh no it’s not’ and ‘oh yes it is’ come rolling in was fantastic
  • It was popular – not a penny was spent on promotion but it spread because people liked the idea. #twitpanto was the top trending topic on twitter and so far my tag search is showing over 1,300 uses of the tag (and they’re still coming)

A ‘performers’ eye view

Managing the number of #twitpanto tweets coming through was a bit of a mission. I started off watching the #twitpanto tag on Tweetdeck. However, with 15 minutes to go there seemed to be too much audience ‘noise’ coming through so I created a new group for cast members only. However, tweets came through too slowly, so halfway through I was glad to be able to shift to watching the Roomatic chatroom (screenshot below) and tweeting via Tweetdeck.


Matthew Somerville deserves hearty thanks for, first of all, knocking up the Roomatic chatroom and then tweaking it so the cast’s tweets were distinct from the audience’s.

What Twitpanto ‘was

There’s loads that could be said about something like this – why it appealed, what platforms were used and why, how the idea spread through networks, how it could be monetised/improved/replicated, etc and so on…

However, keeping up with the audience banter and trying to follow along with the loosely-prepared script was surprisingly exhausting, so for now it’s enough to say that it was a lot of fun and I can’t wait for the next one.

I’ll leave you with a few Twitpanto-related links:

And some other Twitpanto posts:

  • Nick Booth
  • Actors Online
  • Tom Roper – “It was rowdy, bawdy and sometimes hard to follow, just like the real thing”
  • Emma Jones (Dandini) – “ludicrous though it sounds, I felt like I’d really been part of something big”

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.

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