The Richard Whiteley Theatre was a sell-out last week for four performances of Wendy and Peter Pan, a radical retelling of JM Barrie’s classic tale.
A level, GCSE and Key Stage three students took roles in Ella Hickson’s play which was originally commissioned for the RSC. This contemporised version put Wendy at the forefront, offering an occasionally dark, often moving and consistently entertaining take on the well-known children’s story.
The Drama department puts on a full-scale production every year with Wendy and Peter Pan offering a complete change from last year’s Les Miserables.
Head of Drama Gareth Warburton explained: “Wendy and Peter was a marked contrast to the musical extravaganza Les Miserables and gave young actors and backstage crew the chance to show how they can successfully tackle a variety of genres. We are very proud of all the pupils involved who have worked hard to put on a professional show. I have been impressed with their ability to delve into the text and pull out all the nuances and traits of their characters. It has been a fun and fantastic experience, building skills and confidence for the future.
We are very fortunate to have the Richard Whiteley Theatre - a venue equipped to a professional standard rarely found outside larger northern cities such as Leeds and Manchester, all of which adds to the audience experience and enjoyment.”
The cast was headed by Miles Taylor as Peter Pan, with Wendy shared by Charlotte Morris and Annabel Harrison. Lilybella Bayliss and Sophie Campbell shared the role of Tink, the fairy. Captain Hook was played by Ted Lee. Wil Richmond, who is becoming well known in the Settle area for performing with his band, Shrymp Inc., portrayed Smee.
Miles commented: “Taking on a lead role seemed daunting at first, but having the chance to explore the character through the rehearsal process and bounce off the other principals was immensely fun! It truly gave me a sense of freedom, flying around the stage and sword fighting pirates (both of which are opportunities I’d find hard to come by elsewhere)! It’s been an amazing experience, and one that I definitely won’t forget in a hurry - we all hugely enjoyed working on the production and will take many happy memories and friendships away from it.”
What stood out for the local newspaper’s critic, the Craven Herald’s Gill O’Donnell, was the team effort evident in staging Wendy and Peter.
She wrote: “It was certainly on a par with, and in many respects better than, many professional productions in terms of staging and direction. The level of acting was such that the audience happily suspended disbelief and were carried along with the action.
“The real key to the evening's success however was the teamwork which pulled the piece together, apparent in the hard work which had clearly taken place in order to make it look so totally natural. Congratulations to all concerned for having the courage to tackle such a difficult concept and turn it into such an enjoyable evening for everyone.”