The production features young actors
Peter Pan... but not as we know it
By Louise Miles
Norwich Theatre Royal's Youth Company is to perform a sequel to the classic tale of Peter Pan, which will hit the stage from Wednesday, 30 July to Saturday, 2 August, 2008.
Peter Pan: The Search For The Lost Boys is a new musical penned by Norwich playwright David Lambert, with music composed by Andrew Fletcher.
It is the 11th musical to be produced by the team and gives 500 young people the chance to tread the stage and work behind the scenes in one of the region's biggest theatres.
The production is a sequel to the classic book, The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, by JM Barrie and offers an alternative plot to the traditional Peter Pan story.
Tom Cox, 17, will be playing the lead role and says there will be surprises in store for the audience.
"The production features the same characters as the book, but the story is different because it is the sequel to the text," he said.
"There will be a few surprises and it is not what you would expect."
Tom Cox during rehearsals for Peter Pan
Tom Cox, from Thurlton, has been acting since he was eight years old and is excited about appearing on stage.
"I am really looking forward to it. I have never had the title lead and now I have finally got it. I can't wait to perform to a paying audience. My favourite part is when I fly across the stage."
The production will be performed by 180 young people studying at Norwich Theatre Royal's youth company.
Tom Sparkes, who will be stepping out on stage as the notorious Captain Hook, said he's excited to be performing to such a big crowd.
He said: "There is a main cast of over 40 performers aged 16 and over and then there are pools of beginners, intermediate and advanced, which range from eight to 16 years."
"It's a fantastic opportunity to be here… I cannot think of anywhere else where young people get to be in a show and perform to over a thousand people over a period of five nights, it's brilliant!"
Tom, 20, said working in such a big team has been good for making friends.
"It's a competitive business," said Tom
"Doing a production really brings everyone together and there is a fantastic social side to it," he said.
"We all meet up outside rehearsal time and we are all really good friends, which is the best part of it."
The production's most unique aspect is that the young actors will be using real swords in one of the scenes.
Tom, who lives near Bungay, said it has been important to practise this part in the play.
"Me and Tom [Cox], who plays Peter Pan, have got quite a challenging sword fight in the show and we have actually got real swords, so we have got to be careful," he said.
"Although the character, Hook, only has one hand, I would quite like to come out of the show with two!
"We are just going to keep practising it, so we get comfortable with the fact that we are wielding real swords at each other.
"We started out with plastic swords which were quite entertaining because they broke in the middle," he added.
Where are the green tights, Peter?
After the sword-fighting scene, you would expect Peter Pan to have a ladder in his tights, but in line with the play's modern take, Tom does not have to wear the classic green tights.
Instead the costume department has chosen a trendier combination of green shorts and vest, which Tom C is happy about.
Tom Cox and Claire Fowler in rehearsals
"I actually do not wear the tights which is good, but I do have to wear a skimpy pair of shorts with leaves on and a little vest top," he said.
Being on the theatre course has encouraged Tom C to try other things.
He also enjoys writing music and has played gigs at the University Of East Anglia under his stage name of Coxy while Tom S has got his sights on a future in the West End.
"My next plan is drama school and then hopefully onto the West End. That would be my ideal career," he said.
When asked what advice should be given to young people wishing to pursue a career in the arts, Tom suggested that hopefuls should search for their chances.
He said: "Just keep your eyes peeled, ready for opportunities. Look out for local auditions and always go along and try.
"Even if you are unsuccessful on your first audition, you still would have gained audition experience."
The performance will run at Norwich Theatre Royal from 30 July to 2 August, 2008. Tickets start from £5. Call the box office on 01603 63 00 00.
last updated: 29/07/2008 at 17:59