Australian premiere of The Man Who Was Peter Pan at the Old Mill Theatre South Perth Western Australia

Australian premiere of The Man Who Was Peter Pan at the Old Mill Theatre South Perth Western Australia

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).