The creative team behind Above The Stag’s famous and much-loved pantomimes have announced that they are setting up a new company, He’s Behind You!
Following the sad new of the closure of the LGBTQ+ venue Above The Stag, He’s Behind You has been founded to continue to produce high quality, hilarious and heart-warming queer adult pantos for London.
He’s Behind You! has been formed by writers Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper, director Andrew Beckett and regular dame Matthew Baldwin, with producer Oli Sones.
Widely acknowledged as a highlight of the winter theatre season and the most successful alternative pantomime series in the country, the team’s irreverent and inventive shows have played packed-out runs of more than 50 performances each year, building a large and loyal audience and winning critical acclaim, as well as praise from stars including Ian McKellen and Graham Norton.
He’s Behind You Ltd will announce its first production in due course.
Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper, whose 12 pantomimes for Above The Stag Theatre include their most recent hit Dick Whittington: A New Dick in Town, said: “We never feel prouder than when we get introduced to people as ‘the guys that write the Above The Stag pantomime’. We’ve been lucky to be part of the theatre’s story since its earliest incarnation in a room above a pub, and we’re among the many people who will miss it. Our thoughts are with anyone losing work, a place to create and entertain, or simply a venue that they loved to visit. We have been blessed with a theatre and collaborators who have taken our silliness seriously and thrown everything at the pantos; and thousands of audience members who, in the main, have refrained from throwing anything and who have made our shows a joyous annual ritual to share with friends, colleagues, partners and families. We can’t wait to take them on our next adventure with our new company, He’s Behind You.”
Director Andrew Beckett said: “As a long-time collaborator of Above the Stag, I’m immensely proud of everything the theatre has stood for and achieved. It’s been a particular privilege to direct the pantomime for the last 10 years. But the adventure doesn’t end here, I’m delighted that the launch of He’s Behind You will allow our popular panto to continue celebrating its unique brand of magic.”
Actor Matthew Baldwin said: “Pantomime Dame’ was never mentioned in my school careers department. It was ATS that first gave me the chance, which has been life changing and life affirming. I am beyond excited for this new part of our journey with He’s Behind You and of course, somebody needs to keep order when you’re all a bit squiffy! See you there!”
Producer Oli Sones says: “I have been a huge fan of the Above the Stag pantos for many years. I can’t wait to work with Jon, Martin, Andrew and Matthew to bring their clever, unique (and naughty!) pantos to loyal and new audiences alike”