AN AUSTRALIAN premiere comes to the Old Mill Theatre this November.
Written by Allan Knee and directed by Sarah Christiner, The Man Who Was Peter Pan was the basis for the Oscar-winning film Finding Neverland starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.
The play tells the story of how JM Barrie was inspired to write the classic tale of Peter Pan after meeting four brothers, and their mother, in London’s Kensington Gardens one day.
It dramatically changes his life and the show explores his evolving relationships with the boys as they grow into young manhood.
The mother of the boys died when Peter Pan first hit the London stage and Barrie was appointed co-guardian with their grandmother.
“The Man Who Was Peter Pan is a beautifully tragic story, of whimsy and magic, about a man who could not grow up, even though he may have liked to try to,” Christiner said.
“It was first produced by New York’s The Workshop in 1996 and, on the off-chance they could help me track down a script, I emailed them.
“Within 24 hours I received a response from the author himself and was sent the script to read and comment on – and there have been re-writes since my feedback!”
Involved in theatre since 2003, Christiner has performed in a plethora of productions and has also done extensive tech work and stage-managing, recently extending her love of the performing arts to directing and setting up Life on Hold Productions.
In 2018, her company debuted with a production of A Clockwork Orange, followed by Animal Farm and the award-winning The Other Side earlier this year.
“Peter Pan has been my favourite story since I first encountered it at age four or five,” Christiner said.
“It’s been a dream to play Peter on stage but I’m perhaps too old for that now.
“When Finding Neverland came out in 2004, I quickly found out it had been inspired by The Man who was Peter Pan.
“I was in high school then but tucked this fact away and recalled it when I was first thinking about plays to direct in 2014, so it’s been a work-in-progress over the past five years.
“This story means a lot to me and I’m delighted to have such a strong team working with me to bring it to life.
“I hope Mr Knee would be pleased with our interpretation and efforts.”
The Man Who Was Peter Pan plays 7.30pm November 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 13, 14 and 16 with 2pm matinees November 3 and 10. Tickets are $25, $20 concession – book at www.trybooking.com/BESZL.
The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post).
MwwPP-1: Gino Cataldo plays author JM Barrie in the Australian premiere of The Man Who Was Peter Pan. Picture: Rosalyn Anderson
MwwPP-2: The Man Who Was Peter Pan features Jacob Miles, Charlie Young, Alec Fuderer, Anna Head, Gino Cataldo and Michael Nicholls. Picture: Rosalyn Anderson
MwwPP-3: JM Barrie (Gino Cataldo, centre) was inspired to write Peter Pan after meeting brothers Michael (Charlie Young, left), Peter (Jacob Miles), George (Michael Nicholls) and Jack (Alec Fuderer). Picture: Rosalyn Anderson
MwwPP-4: The Llewelyn Davies brothers (Jacob Miles, left, Alec Fuderer, Michael Nicholls and Charlie Young) are an integral part of The Man Who Was Peter Pan story. Picture: Rosalyn Anderson
Old Mill Theatre
South Perth's Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to be operating out of one of the most historic buildings in South Perth. It was opened in 1899 as a Mechanics' Institute Hall. The South Perth Council purchased the building in 1913 and renamed it the Mends Street Hall. The council still owns the building, and supports our use of it.
The building first became a home of theatre in 1948, when the South Perth Dramatic Society moved in. The name Old Mill Theatre was first used in 1958, and the company was incorporated in 1959. In 2009, the theatre celebrated its 60th anniversary.
A number of significant changes to the building have occurred over the past few years, with major extensions completed in 2002. An understage tunnel, which links two backstage dressing rooms and enables easier access from one side of the stage to the other, was completed in 2008. Bathroom facilities have also been installed backstage as part of this project, which was wholly self-funded.
The Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to have strong support from its local council, the City of South Perth. The city undertook major renovations to the exterior of the building in 2008 and the theatre is looking better now than ever before.
P: 0439 551 340