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The tradition grew out of laws restricting the use of child actors in London theatre, and the responsibility carried by such lead roles. A Breeches role was also a rare opportunity for an early 20th Century actress to wear a costume revealing the legs covered only in tights, potentially increasing the size of the audience. The practice of having a female play the principal boy was becoming less common in the late 20th century, as further outlets were sought for the talents of young male popular stars and actors.
Although not written as a pantomime, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up is often produced as one with the tradition of a female principal boy continuing.
List of notable Principal Boys
- anon (2005). "History of British Pantomime". Limelight Scripts. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
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