Growing up is not always easy. The transition from childhood is one filled with challenges but also opportunities for imaginative, critical, and divergent thinking. This curiosity—to question, to know, and to learn—is fueled by the many great arts programs offered to students at St. Anne’s-Belfield School.
As such, it seems appropriate last spring’s middle school performance was Wendy & Peter Pan, a new adaptation by Ella Hickson of the classic coming-of-age story by J. M. Barrie and commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company. This version explores some darker themes through Wendy Darling's perspective as she meets Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up.
"I read through many adaptations and chose this script because of the excellent creativity, humor, and heart that it brought to this classic story,” Middle School Theatre Arts Director Kailie Larkin said. “I was especially excited by how the author gave more integrity and complexity to the female characters.”
As the performance was developing, the ensemble had to find answers to unusual questions. How do you make actors fly? How do you build a giant crocodile that eats pirates? How do you utilize technologies to transport the actors and the audience to Neverland? Productions at St Anne’s-Belfield are always about building a dynamic ensemble that supports each other and overcomes obstacles together. This particular one included more than 40 students!
Larkin concluded, “Theatre brings people together and asks them to—collectively,—do what is nearly impossible. The community that builds over time is a magical event in itself.”
The actors themselves had a lot to say about the performance as well. Below, you’ll find the reflections from the student ensemble along with select photos from the play itself.
"I loved Wendy and Peter Pan because I got to dig into this iconic, larger-than-life character and make him my own. Really embracing the antagonist was a new step for me, and I had so much fun while doing it. And because we performed only a few weeks before our school was shut down, this play felt like the last big memory of my friends and ensemble mates to hang onto." - Margaret O’Halloran
"Acting in Wendy and Peter Pan was amazing. Everyone was trying their best, everyone was creative as their role no matter how small it was. And best of all, everyone was supportive, and had each other's backs. I would highly suggest participating in the amazing experience of the play, and don't be afraid to make your character your own!" - Samuel Gunther
"I had a fantastic time in this production! Even though the process was intense, with so many elements to memorize and perfect, performing the finished play was one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. And, of course, every long day spent in rehearsal was an opportunity to build community with the other members of my ensemble. The play required me to practice leadership, hard work, collaboration, and stamina at all times, but I came out of it feeling happy and accomplished." - Sofia Tache
"The most enjoyable thing from Wendy and Peter Pan was our team. Our team was AWESOME! We were all supportive to one another, and we all had a really great time! We helped eachother, and we pulled of a whole production together! I loved our team!" - Nicole King