Pan goes wireless
S INCE being written by J. M. Barrie 108 years ago, Peter Pan has captured many children's imaginations. And a new world arena tour of the story is set to enchant the next generation.
Peter Pan: The Never Ending Story is coming to the Capital FM Arena from September 13 to 15 next year as part of tour across Europe.
The highlight will be Peter Pan flying without strings or harnesses, instead wind turbine technology will be used for the first time ever as part of a stage production. This will see Peter Pan suspended 15 metres in the air flying at 250km per minute.
CGI is also used to create a cinematic quality backdrop to the stage which is packed with technology.
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Despite being 21st century in its approach, it tells the traditional story of Peter Pan and includes well known characters including Hook, Tinkerbell, Wendy and the Lost Boys.
The show has been created by the pioneering team at Music Hall, based in Belgium, who are renowned for large arena performances in their home country.
With a budget of 12 million euros, this will be their biggest and most expensive show to date. Music Hall's artistic director Geert Allaert says: "It must be a never ending story that runs for a long time.
"This is something new and it's a way that the story of Peter Pan hasn't been told before. We think it's time for a new way of bringing these kind of spectacles to a broader audience in a new, fresh way.
"In the same way Cirque Du Soleil reinvented the circus, I think we are also bringing something new. It's a crossover of classical theatre, film, acrobatics, singing and dancing."
The idea of using the wind turbine for Peter Pan was put to Geert by a former astronaut who used similar technology before he went into space.
"It's a great effect and it's a major element of the show. This show is all about the flying and secondly the music. It's using well-known songs and integrating those songs into the story," says Geert.
The flying is done by a stunt double as it takes six months of rehearsing for three to four hours every day to master using the wind turbine. There are three people trained to use it who will be on the tour along with the huge cast and 25 lorries full of scenery and equipment.
Geert says: "We have to always aim to exceed our audiences' expectations with our shows, venues and creative approach."
The music has been composed by Matt Dunkley from London who has previously worked on films including Moulin Rouge, Batman: The Dark Knight and Black Swan.
Recognisable hits include Westlife's You Raise Me Up, Kiss From A Rose by Seal, Angels by Robbie Williams and Duran Duran's Wild Boys.
Matt says: "Every song is relevant to the story. So One Day I'll Fly Away (Randy Crawford) plays when Peter's flying and You Raise Me Up when Tinkerbell comes back to life.
"It's not a juke box musical, it's a spectacular and we didn't want to do karaoke versions of the songs. The idea was for me to give them new arrangements and treat them differently."
As well as Nottingham, the show will appear in Manchester, Glasgow, London and Birmingham in summer 2013. Joining the production on the UK leg will be a celebrity, yet to be announced, who will play Tinkerbell, the narrator of the story.