The Pantaloons

The Pantaloons are an English touring theatre company specialising in open-air productions of the plays of William Shakespeare. Their work draws from a wide variety of popular theatre traditions, and is often performed for free in public spaces.

The Pantaloons
The Pantaloons logo
TypeTheatre group
Purposecomedy, open air, Shakespeare
  • United Kingdom
Artistic director(s)
Steve Purcell, Caitlin Storey, Mark Hayward
Notable members
Christopher Smart, Ross Drury, Edward Ferrow, Martin Gibbons, Kelly Griffiths, Neil Jennings, Alex Rivers,


The Pantaloons were founded in 2004 at the University of Kent, performing an all-male, open-air production of As You Like It in Canterbury, Kent.[1] They regrouped the following year for a small-scale tour of The Winter’s Tale, which involved their first free performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[2] The scale of their tours has increased since then, and the company now tour extensively across the UK.

The Pantaloons have produced a variety of free performances every year since 2005 in public spaces such as The Scoop, London, Preston Park, Brighton, and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Since their foundation, the company have performed:

The company toured with productions of Pride and Prejudice and A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2017.[1] In May 2018 it went on tour with an adaptation of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds, with the cast comprising Chris Coxon, Fiona McGarvey, Alex Rivers and Christopher Smart.[3] From June to September 2018 it toured with Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest,[4] and from July to September 2018 it toured with As You Like It.[5]

The company began to attract national attention with their 2008 production of The Taming of the Shrew, with coverage in The Guardian and Independent newspapers focusing largely on their free shows and family appeal.[6] Their Romeo and Juliet was listed by The Sunday Times in 2009 as one of their picks for the summer.[7]

As of 2015, the company also give school workshops on Shakespeare for Key Stages 2, 3 and 4.[8]


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