Photo By Nick Spratling

Storm on the Lawn celebrates the wonder of childhood in a new production of PETER PAN performed in the stunning outdoor setting of the Ball Court in the grounds of Prior Park

The Theatre Royal Bath’s annual Storm on the Lawn production will see more than seventy young people aged 12 to 21 years creating one of Bath’s biggest outdoor summer events as a brand new open-air staging of the iconic play PETER PAN is presented at the Ball Court in the grounds of Prior Park College from Wednesday 22nd August to Sunday 26th August.

Following a wide range of successful productions of classic and contemporary plays over the past fourteen years, Storm on Lawn 2012 focuses on J M Barrie’s classic adventure Peter Pan – which coincidently featured prominently in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. Amy Leach directs a new production of the stage adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird.

Ever since Peter Pan appeared at Wendy Darling’s nursery window and took her off to Never Land, J M Barrie’s best-loved story has delighted and thrilled generations of theatre-goers with its wonderfully dream-like locations and charming characters including Tinkerbell, Mr and Mrs Darling, Nana, Tiger Lily, Smee and the fearsome Captain Hook.

Storm on the Lawn, the Theatre Royal’s annual three-week performance and production school, has brought together a large company of young performers and budding technicians with company members hailing from Somerset and Wiltshire, including Bath, Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Wells, Chippenham, Westbury, Devises and Swindon, as well as two cast members from London and South Wales.

The 2012 company has worked with director Amy Leach and the egg theatre’s professional team to create a magical land of fantasy and fantastical storytelling in the glorious setting of the eighteenth century Ball Court in the grounds of Prior Park College.  The full cast also spent two days working with Aidan Treays, an experienced freelance Movement Director, whose many credits include Finding Neverland, the hit semi-autobiographical film about J M Barrie and his inspiration for Peter Pan which starred Johnny Depp. Aidan has choreographed stage productions in the West End and on Broadway. He also worked on the Theatre Royal Bath’s epic community production of Ben Hur in 2010 and teaches dance at the Drama Studio London.

Director Amy Leach, said, “It’s a real privilege to be working with such a talented, focused and enthusiastic group of young people. Everyone is working so incredibly hard and Peter Pan promises to be a magical performance celebrating the importance of the imagination and of storytelling.”

As well as giving young performers the chance to shine on stage, Storm on the Lawn will once again provide opportunities for young people to gain valuable experience backstage too. Eleven teenagers aged from 14 to 19 years have signed up to learn about wardrobe, lighting, sound and stage management as they work behind-the-scenes.

Director Amy Leach and Musical Director Oliver Birch are also the Artistic Directors and co-founders of the multi award-winning, En Masse Theatre Company, who have twice received Fringe First Awards. Described by The Guardian as “one of the country’s most exciting theatre companies making work for younger audiences”, En Masse Theatre are regular visitors to Bath’s egg theatre with a reputation for producing original and innovative work for young people and their families.  In 2010, En Masse created and performed a new show, The Animated Tales of Shakespeare for Bath’s Shakespeare Unplugged Festival at the egg theatre.

Amy Leach returns to Storm on the Lawn after directing Storm’s praised productions of Grimm Brothers’ Circus in 2009 and Oliver Twist in 2010.  An Associate Artist of the National Youth Theatre, Amy also directed Wilde Tales in Bath this July, working with the egg’s Young People’s Theatre.

Musical Director Oliver Birch has composed original music for Peter Pan. He returns to Storm on Lawn after writing Storm’s 2009 production of Grimm Brothers’ Circus. In Bath, he also adapted the recent YPT production of Oscar Wilde’s Wilde Tales at the egg theatre. Oliver writes and composes all of En Masse Theatre’s productions. As an actor, comedian and musician, he has written and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and performed in the West End and on Broadway.

Associate Director for Peter Pan is Bath-based Feargus Woods Dunlop. As well as working with the Natural Theatre Company, Feargus wrote and performed in acclaimed, new commission, Silly Songs of Shakespeare for the Shakespeare Unplugged Festival 2012, which is now set to tour nationally. Last summer he was Assistant Director for Storm’s staging of The Comedy of Errors.  Design for Peter Pan will be created by Anna Michaels who has previously designed the egg’s Young People’s Theatre productions of Book Labyrinth, Richard III and the Young American Season.

In spite of its tempestuous title, over the past fourteen years since Storm on the Lawn was first staged, out of more than ninety outdoor performances, only four have ever been completely lost to the weather.  Once again, the atmospheric grounds with views across the beautiful Bath landscape will be open an hour before the show for audience members who would like to picnic.

Storm on the Lawn presents PETER PAN from Wednesday 22nd August to Sunday 26th August in the Ball Court at Prior Park.  To book tickets contact the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844, the egg reception on 01225 823 409 or book online at www.theatreroyalorg.uk