MOAT BRAE - the return to Neverland!
Writing this post brings me great joy as it marks a little bit of wish fulfillment. Moat Brae was a place I wanted to take this show almost as soon as I had committed to producing it. Those of you who have read earlier blogs will know that the road to this show has been full of coincidences, signs and nudges (sometimes shoves) in the right direction and may remember me referencing Moat Brae before, in the post 'Neverland- Then and Now'.
It was when I was playing Peter Pan, in Dumfries in 2014 that I first heard about a 'certain Dumfries Garden', which J.M.Barrie used to play in with his friends as a child and which he affectionately refers to as an 'enchanted land' and the 'genesis' of his Peter Pan. Back in 2014 I knew they were attempting to restore Moat Brae for the community so when I set out to adapt this origin story I knew I wanted to take it back to the place where Neverland had first formed in Barrie's mind.
In my previous post , I mentioned that the four years that passed between finding the story and starting to produce this play was significant in more than my own readiness and it is now that I can reveal that it could not have been more perfect, as when I approached Moat Brae I discovered that, after years of fund raising and work, they were actually due to open, as a 'National Centre for Children's Literature and Storytelling' in the early summer of 2019 and were willing to let us preview our play at their magical site as part of their opening season.
What they have created in a sprawling town house and Gardens in Dumfries is a celebration of literature and imagination, there are things to explore and interact with in every room and visitor participation and creativity is encouraged. Likewise, the gardens, which run alongside the banks of the river have a huge pirate ship to play in and lots of secret places to discover.
We are so lucky, after our London Preview, which was only a stones throw from the Kensington Gardens (where Peter's journey to Neverland is set), to bring the show to preview at the place where J.M.Barrie first set his imagination off in the direction of that magical land which has enchanted and delighted children and the young at heart for generations. We could not ask for more.