December 22, 2019
One of the best things about Christmas is the arrival of panto season, a great British tradition that leaves other countries flummoxed. Women wearing head-scratching mullets to play Peter Pan! Men in hi-shine, fire-hazard polyester, before the arrival of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Slightly rude jokes about breasts – and in front of the kids. Someone who used to be in Hollyoaks! 
How To Survive The Christmas Pantomime Trip in 5 Simple Steps
It’s all nonsense, but it’s great nonsense, and if it’s good enough for Sir Ian flippin’ McKellen, it’s good enough for the rest of us. 
If you’re still feeling baffled, with these five pointers, you’ll be just fine.1) Choose the right panto for youThere are loads of them out there, from ultra-traditional ones to super-minimalist ones to postmodern meta-pantos.
Do you go for the glitzy one with the A-lister treading the boards, the mid-range one with the ironically booked cheesy over-the hill former star, or one featuring people who actually, like, act on stage for a living? And how do you figure out what’s best for your kids?
Theatre troupe Sleeping Trees, currently starring in Goldilocks and the Three Musketeers​ at the Battersea Arts Centre, suggest doing your research.
“Listen to your child’s request exactly,” they suggest, “and then go and see whichever pantomime you want, because you are the adult.”2) Sneak your own booze and snacks inThis is essential (if not officially permitted) – buying a bag of Maltesers in a theatre requires remortgaging your house, and the cheesy jokes delivered by that guy that used to be in an insurance advert go down a lot better after a smuggled-in tinnie or two.
As a reminder, feel free to take a cue from Christmas’s most famous skinflint, remembering to get both booze and sweets with the mantra: “Bar, humbugs”.  Related... The Best Champagnes And Sparkling Wines For Christmas 3) Interactivity: a complex beastAudience interaction is a huge part of the panto experience – “He’s behind you!” is a staple, after all – but the rules can be tricky to figure out. If you’re used to watching telly together and chatting along through it (“Look darling, Duggee’s wearing body paint now! Do you think Duggee used to do a lot of pills?”), a theatre environment is a bit different.
You can’t just chunter on through it all (“Look, that person’s fallen over and hurt their bottom! I expect their bottom is very sore now”), but at the same time, you must constantly be ready to join in with a bit of mass shouting. It’s complicated, but toddlers can work iPads. They’re secret geniuses, they’ll figure it out.Related... I Tell My Children Rules Do Not Apply At Christmas – And You Should, Too 4) Remember, you can always just step outThis one obviously only works if someone is there to attend to your kids. But say you’re going to the loo, and just go and stand in the foyer and breathe deeply for a minute or so.
Hooray!5) Lasting out the whole showYoung children aren’t famed for their attention spans, and pantomimes can be a bit lacking in the quick-cut, whiz-bang, high-octane entertainment department, especially when compared to, say Transformers: Robots In Disguise on Netflix. People standing on a stage, even in wacky costumes, just don’t measure up.
Fortunately, the people who organise pantomimes tend to be aware of such things – for every two-and-a-half-hour epic like the Hackney Empire’s Dick Whittington, there’s a more digestible 45-minute one.
Or, try and run a bunch of energy out beforehand, and let the whole “large dark room” thing take over. Sure, if they pass out 15 minutes in you’ve paid £12 for your child to have a nap, but the hell with it, right?
It’s Christmas. Eat your sweets and enjoy the show. God bless us, every one.Related... The School Nativities That Tore Up The Rule Book – In Good Ways And Bad The Best Christmas TV To Watch With, Well, Just About Everyone 31 Things You Never Knew About Love Actually, Actually
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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