THE STAGE DIRECTOR ASSISTANT
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; peterpanarena.com 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.