This Christmas, Trinity Theatre plays host to a mighty band of Lost Boys and Girls lead by the plucky and audacious Peter Pan, in a musical adaptation of JM Barrie’s classic. This swashbuckling adventure will take you on an adventure to a land far beyond your imagination, where fairies fly, Indians hunt and dastardly pirates lurk…
The story of Peter Pan has been captivating young readers for more than 100 years so, we’ve compiled some fascinating facts about this ageless exploration of courage, loyalty and fairy dust.
The notion of a boy who would never grow up was based on JM Barrie’s older brother who died in an ice skating accident the day before he turned 14, and thus always stayed a young boy in his mother’s mind. The character of Peter Pan is said to be inspired by Peter Llewelyn Davies, one of the five Llewelyn Davies brothers Barrie befriended. His name is an amalgamation of Peter Llewelyn Davies and Pan, the mischievous Greek god of the woodlands.
Peter Pan first appeared in a section of The Little White Bird, Barrie’s 1902 novel for adults, where he was described as only seven days old! In later publications and in stage performances Pan has been played older but Barrie stated he still had “all of his baby teeth”. Sensibly the definition of the term ‘Peter Pan’ in the dictionary is ‘a boyish or immature man’.
There is an original statue in Kensington Gardens by sculptor George Frampton, commissioned by Barrie and erected overnight on April 30, 1912 as a May Day surprise for the children of London.
Pan and Barrie’s legacy continues under the guardianship of Great Ormond Street Hospital as all rights to the work (and royalties) were donated by Barrie in 1929.
It is thought that JM Barrie popularized the name ‘Wendy’. He was the first to use it in a published work and previous to Peter Pan, there was only one instance of the moniker being used in the UK, for boys. Inspiration for the name came from Barrie’s childhood friend, Margaret Henley – daughter of poet William Ernest Henley – who as a four-year-old pronounced the word ‘friend’ as ‘Fweiendy’, which Barrie adapted into ‘Wendy’ when writing the original play.
CAPTAIN JAMES HOOK
Captain Hook remains one of British literature’s most popular antagonists. Educated at Eton College and Balliol, Oxford (his final words in the play are “Floreat Etona”, Eton’s school motto), Barrie states in his novel that ‘Hook was not his true name. To reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country in a blaze.’ Hook’s hatred for Pan began during a battle in which Pan cut off his hand and fed it to the crocodile. Barrie explains that “he was Blackbeard’s boatswain, and that he was the only man Long John Silver ever feared”, and it is said that Hook’s only fears were that fateful crocodile and the sight of his own blood (which is supposedly an unnatural colour).
Join Peter Pan this Christmas and take the second star to the right, straight on till morning! Get your fix of fairy dust from Trinity Theatre, between December 12 and January 1. Visit www.trinitytheatre.net/plus/peter-pan for more information and tickets.