Showtech experts teach young cast members of Peter Pan Jr how to fly across Civic Theatre, Newcastle

LAKE STARS: The Lake Macquarie contingent is Jasper Coy, Ruby McNamara, Luke Barker, Isabella Parker, Taleisha Johnston and Bailey Ackling Beecham. Picture: Jo Roberts
LAKE STARS: The Lake Macquarie contingent is Jasper Coy, Ruby McNamara, Luke Barker, Isabella Parker, Taleisha Johnston and Bailey Ackling Beecham. Picture: Jo Roberts

FOUR young cast members from the upcoming Hunter Drama production of Peter Pan Jr in Newcastle have travelled to Melbourne to learn how to fly.

The quartet underwent training for a scene which will see Peter Pan (played by Imogen Bamback), and siblings Wendy Darling (Sabine Cook), John Darling (Jasper Coy) and Michael Darling (Jack Norman) fly across the stage.

Hunter Drama director James Tolhurst said international entertainment company, Showtech, helped the young cast members to reach new heights.

"The Showtech team has been producing flying effects and stage automation for more than 27 years, including performer flying systems for well-known theatrical productions such as Wicked, Mary Poppins and, of course, Peter Pan," Mr Tolhurst said.

"They've also recently worked with Hugh Jackman."

The children were fitted for the harnesses they will wear during performances of the shows at the Civic Theatre during the school holidays.

On their trip to Melbourne, Mr Tolhurst and the cast members were accompanied by the show's technical production manager, Jacob Harwood, and the Civic Theatre's head rigger, John Peddie.

"The Showtech specialists programmed every element of the scenes, down to the second, into the computer system which will control the flights at the push of a button during each of the six shows," Mr Tolhurst said.

"The system will ensure seamless automation and movement to perfectly integrate with the show."

What's on:

Mr Tolhurst said Hunter Drama had a reputation for its commitment to outstanding production qualities, and the flying sequences in Peter Pan Jr would take that commitment to a new level.

The show features a contingent of young Lake Macquarie performers including Luke Barker as Captain Hook; Ruby McNamara as Smee (Captain Hook's sidekick); Jasper Coy as John Darling; Taleisha Johnston as Storm (one of the Brave Girls); Bailey Ackling Beecham as Starkey (a pirate); and Isabella Parker as Salt (also a pirate).

Peter Pan is a Tony Award-winning musical which has been delighting audiences around the world for more than 60 years.

Audiences are invited to join Peter and his mischievous fairy sidekick, Tinkerbell, as they visit the nursery of the Darling children late one night.

With a sprinkle of pixie dust, they head out on a magical, unforgettable journey across the stars.

In the adventure of a lifetime, the travellers come face-to-face with a fierce warrior tribe, a band of bungling pirates and, of course, the villainous Captain Hook.

It's a story full of magic, warmth and adventure, and the perfect show for the child in everyone.

Producer Daniel Stoddart, who founded Hunter Drama in 2007, said his team was delighted to provide the performance opportunity to the 50 eager students who made it through the auditions.

"To perform on the Civic Theatre stage is an honour for any thespian and we are proud to be giving these children - some as young as nine - that opportunity," Mr Stoddart said.

This lavish production of Peter Pan Jr features some of the Hunter's brightest young musical theatre performers, and will be brought to life on the Civic Theatre stage for six performances from October 10 to 12.

Tickets from Ticketek, with adults at children's prices.

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