“Courage is found in unlikely places.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien
The week before we set off to New Zealand was spent desperately researching and contacting venues about a project that, although alive in my head, did not yet exist. On one hand this was fine, I'd spent the last three years working on (and sometimes helping write/devise) projects within a matter of weeks... on the other hand it was daunting as many Edinburgh venues had extensive application forms. Tell us about your show? Well, that was ok - 'Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens J.M.Barrie's own prequel to Peter Pan'. How many actors are in your show? ... err ... I wavered; there are a lot of characters in the book but I knew financially I needed the company to be as small as possible for this first project - I guessed somewhere between 2 and 4 - I answered '3'. What is your set like? Ha! I hadn't even begun to think of that in any detail; 'As we are in development for the show we are able to work closely with our venue to design a suitable set'... will they buy that? The week flew by and before I knew it we were flying ourselves to the other side of the world for the trip of a lifetime. I must add here that New Zealand's South Island is, I think, the most beautiful and magical place on earth and over the next 17 days put on a show for us that I'll never forget. As it turned out this first stage of producing really lent itself to the 13 hour time difference: At 7am when I woke up in NZ it was 6pm in the UK all the e-mails from the working day were there for me to look at, but there was no point rushing to answer them as no one would pick them up until the next morning, so I really had time to think as venue offers began to come in. At 7pm when we got to our nights stop and found WiFi again I'd write my responses and they would land in a UK inbox at 8am ready to be picked up first thing. Instead of checking and rechecking my emails for a response I would surrender to sleep and start again the next morning when all the days responses from the UK had arrived. In the meantime we chartered boats on turquoise seas, swam in lakes, saw whales, dolphins and penguins, glaciers and mountains, ancient Moa bones, waterfalls, albatross and kiwis ... real wild kiwis (but that unbelievable experience really is another story). As we traveled across that amazing country I began to see my way to Neverland creatively and practically, the detailed questions on the applications focused my thinking and it was here that I settled on the frame that would wrestle this unruly story into a 60-minute play. After e-mail conversations with a few lovely and supportive venues we settled on ours; venue 9: The Space@NiddryStreet. It turned out that the trip that threatened to halt the whole project a week earlier was where the seed took root and the play we have now began to grow: courage IS found in the most unlikely places and the other side of the world was exactly where I needed to be to kick start this incredible journey.