Most people are familiar with the story of Peter Pan and there have been countless movies, TV shows and theatrical productions that have focused on the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up in one way or another.
Whether it’s the animated tale from Disney, last December’s live production on NBC starring Allison Williams, or movies like Hook and Finding Neverland, Peter Pan is a classic tale that is told to the delight of both children and adults, time and time again.
Only now, Peter Pan can be seen like never before.
Charlie Burnell, founder and executive producer at Threesixty Entertainment, came up with an idea for a Peter Pan show that rises above the rafters in a specially designed 100-foot high Threesixty Theatre under a tent that utilizes 10 tons of rigging, lighting and sound equipment.
“Doing this production in a temporary structure comes with technical and logistical challenges, so we had to learn many new skills. We weren’t just hiring a theater, we were building a theater,” Burnell says. “Plus, we wanted the flying to be unhindered and wanted to give clear sightlines to the audience. We didn’t want to upstage the live actors with video but we wanted to feature the flight from London to Neverland in a way that’s never been done before.”
Thanks to the world’s first fully 360 cinematic projection for live theatre performance and the largest surround CGI touring venue in the world, the show is performed up in the air, “in the round,” and all around, creating a truly unique environmental theatrical experience. Plus, the entire interior is lit with over 15,000 square feet of Hi Resolution projection so that both cast and audience are immersed in a virtual Neverland.
James Richardson, the show’s tech director, notes there are so many little details in the show that it took 100 computers four weeks to create all the images of the production.
Seeing all that inside a big-top tent, he says, is something that needs to be seen to be believed.
“We do transform into a theater, but the reality is that we are in a parking lot in the middle of Tyson’s Corner,” Richardson says. “The tent was designed specifically for this concept of show. It allows us to do the flying and special effects we need to tell the story and have that 360-video projected onto the tent.”
Here’s a look at how the tent came together in Tyson’s Corner
Burnell is best known for producing the 2006 sold-out London premier of Anthony Minghella’s Cigarettes and Chocolate and the 2003 One Knight Only starring Judi Dench and Helen Mirren.
He began envisioning the concept of what would evolve into Threesixty in 2006.
PETER PAN IN THE 360
June 24 – August 23
The Three Sixty Theater
Tysons Corner Center
1961 Chain Bridge Road
Tuesdays thru Sundays
Tickets: $25 – $100
Tickets or call 800-745-3000
“I started playing around with the idea of doing a very high-tech family show in a big structure in a landmark location in London,” Burnell says. “We didn’t have a title in mind, but I was sitting at my desk one Sunday morning and it dawned on me that Peter Pan would be a good one to do and Kensington Gardens would be the place to do it.”
After all, the park is the setting of J.M. Barrie’s book, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, a prelude to the character’s famous adventures in Neverland.
Still, Burnell wrote down his idea with a question mark at the end, because he knew how hard it was to get into the Royal Parks. He spent the next few years making his dream a reality and in 2009, Peter Pan opened in the striking setting of the Threesixty Theatre at London’s Kensington Gardens.
Since then, Peter Pan has played to positive reviews and plenty of oohing and ahhing all over the world.
“This show is for people 5 to 105; it truly is an all-age show,” Burnell says. “We have seen lots of families come out and we have J.M. Barrie to thank for that, because Peter Pan speaks to all ages. Children will see a swashbuckling adventure and adults will see a deep and heartbreaking tale. We expect the actors to deliver the depth of the story that J.M. Barrie wrote.”
Performing at Tysons Corner will be: Daniel Rosales (Peter Pan), Stephen Carlile (Captain Hook/Mr. Darling), Liam Fennecken (Smee), Annapolis native Sarah Charles (Wendy Darling), Scott Weston (Michael Darling), John Alati (John Darling), Jessie Sherman (Tinker Bell), Hannah Jane McMurray (Mrs. Darling), and Andreas Wyder (Bill Jukes/Skylights).
Rounding out the cast are Mark Curtis Ferrando, Megan Godin, Ryan Halsaver, Adam Kezele, Gabe Martinez, Elisa Penello, Porsha Putney, Joshua Redfield, Taylor Simmons, P. Tucker Worley, and Dan Wilt.
Tickets start at $25 for weekday performances and $35 for weekend performances and are available for purchase online at peterpan360.com or Ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster retail location, or by calling 800-745-3000.