Woman & Home - - Behind The Scenes -

The scale of our pro­duc­tion this year is phe­nom­e­nal. For a start we have a Jolly Roger that “sails” through the mid­dle of the arena in front of a 10,000-gal­lon wa­ter wall with the au­di­ence sit­ting all around it. Then there are ae­rial mer­maids, stunt rid­ers, plus a huge seven-me­tre long an­i­ma­tronic, talk­ing croc­o­dile. There will also be the high­est Peter Pan flight ever staged.

We have a cast of 100, with ac­tor and Span­dau Bal­let star Martin Kemp star­ring as Cap­tain Hook, and Mock the Week’s Mil­ton Jones ap­pear­ing as his side-kick, Mr Smee.

There will also be 80 lo­cal child per­form­ers tak­ing part at each venue – that’s 240 chil­dren to get into po­si­tion and teach the steps to! But it’s a chal­lenge that I rel­ish. I have to make sure each child knows what scene they’re in, where ex­actly they need to stand, whether they’re a lost child or a pi­rate, and so on. Our child stars are so bril­liant and ded­i­cated. Some of them are as young as five, and only get a cou­ple of days to learn the show and all their steps. They’re al­ways so pro­fes­sional though.

As stage di­rec­tor as­sis­tant, it’s my job to muck in with just about any­thing and ev­ery­thing. I book dancers, sort out re­hearsal sched­ules and ar­range child per­for­mance li­cences – chil­dren who are still at school need a li­cence from their lo­cal coun­cil to take part in a panto. When it’s re­hearsal time, I go through the scenes with all of the chil­dren.

My own chil­dren, Lola and Wil­liam, aged nine and five, are ap­pear­ing in the panto too. Lola’s done it for the past two years, but this will be Wil­liam’s first time. They’re just com­ing to Leeds and Manch­ester, and I’m go­ing to do Belfast on my own. It’s great to have them with me, and solves any child­care is­sues! Wil­liam and Lola love com­ing to work with Mum. It feels like I’m show­ing them the ropes and pass­ing on a bit of my ca­reer to them. ✢ Peter Pan – An Arena Ad­ven­ture, De­cem­ber; pe­ter­ w&h

“Di­rect­ing 240 chil­dren is a chal­lenge!”

Cap­tain hook takes on a life-size croc

Sarah St Ge­orGe, 41, is stage di­rec­tor as­sis­tant forPeter Pan – An Arena Ad­ven­ture, tour­ing through Belfast, Leeds and Manch­ester. She lives in Brack­nell, Berk­shire with her hus­band and their chil­dren, Lola, nine, and Wil­liam, five.

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