‘There will be flying’ at TO’s production of Peter Pan

August 18, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

There is more history in the making with the Theatre Orangeville Young Company’s production of Peter Pan. Presented as a play with music, it will be staged on the Amphitheatre at Island Lake, the first theatrical event for this extraordinary stage.

Further, as Beckie Morris, set designer and production manager, told us, “There will be flying – with fairy dust and fly strings.”

We sat down with the young performers of this show to find out as much as possible about this magical time coming up.   

“It’s a different sort of magical world,” one of them said.

“The audience will be surprised by the format,” we were assured.

They began to define the big differences in this production. The Island Lake amphitheatre is one large open space, covered by a graceful dome and protected from the prevailing winds by a fine transparent wall across the back of the stage. There is no  “back stage,” as such.

Hence, every actor is on the stage for the entire show. If they are not actually engaged in the dialogue of the moment, then, they are sitting playing the music that has been written for the show or being very still so as not to detract from the action.

Several of these actors are musicians.

“Everyone is on stage. With this style of play, there is nowhere to run; nowhere to hide,” we were told.

Director of the production, Dan Reale, in his first time in the Director’s chair, was clear that there are lots of challenges and that he was having a wonderful time dealing with then.

Although qualified to do the job by having been doing it and by acting and working within the theatre’s Young Company – this is his eighth year – since he was 10 years old, he admits, “There’s a big difference between being the Assistant Director and Director.”

Mr. Reale was assistant director this year for Les Mis, as he has been for previous shows with Young Company. “There’s a little more prep and moving things around.” To say the least. David Nairn is Assistant Director this time around.

Teasing, the cast members called out: “He’s Dan the man with a plan…”

Peter Pan, the eternal boy, but what is the message of this historical story?

They knew: “You gotta grow up but don’t you dare loose your imagination. Just because you’re grown up, it doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun.”

What of the individual challenges to make this all work? What brought them to it?

Felicia is Tinker Bell and she was definite in her feelings on the matter, “I wanted to try. I wanted to be Tinker Bell!” she said – and so, she worked hard to win the role.

As in all theatre, these actors are taking on the personalities of people very different from themselves and facing the learning curve of that challenge. Some girls become boys; two are twins moving in symmetry; be a dog; four are learning to fly; others are learning to sword fight.

What they are all learning is that the whole thing can only happen with trust and responsibility.

“We have to depend on each other with the lifts and the sword fighting. Every one of us matters,” they informed us variously.

Originally, the story of Peter Pan is a dark tale and that is not entirely given up in this performance. Still, there is more light than dark and there is fun and funny throughout.

As to the other star of the show, the Island Lake Conservation Area itself,  attention must be paid to being eco-friendly as well as the perks that are included in the price of the ticket to see the show.

It is a very new approach to theatre in many ways, since the respect for the natural environment and the animals that call it home make demands on the theatre assembly and the audience.

Please remember to bring chairs for your group and to take all your bottles, papers and everything else with you.

The tickets for the play include a day at the park to enjoy all that it offers.

“The CVC have been very supportive about this,” Sharyn Ayliffe, programs manager, told us earlier. “It’s so exciting for everyone.”

There are four performances over the weekend of Friday, August 25 at 6 p.m.; Saturday, August 26 at 2 and 6 p.m. and Sunday, August 27 at 2 p.m. Be sure to note the earlier time of the evening performances to accommodate the fading light in the evenings.

In case of severe rain, the show will be moved to the theatre at the Opera House on Broadway.

Tickets at the Box Office at 87 Broadway and the Information Centre on Buena Vista at Highway 10; by telephone 519-942-3423 or online:

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