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Ballet Gets Hooks Into Peter Pan

Media release
30 September 2003


"This is a treasure trove of a show...stunning dancing, wondrous music and fantastic design with a shipload of special effects" - Sunday Star-Times

Young at heart, the Royal New Zealand Ballet launches into an exuberant whirlwind of dancing, flying and fighting for The Lotto Season of Peter Pan.

During the ballet, audiences follow Peter's exciting adventures from the Darling family's nursery to Neverland - home to the mermaid's Lagoon, the Lost Boy's lair, Hook's evil pirate ship and a ticking crocodile.

Peter Pan is the company's final production in its 50th anniversary year. With choreography by Russell Kerr, design by Kristian Fredrikson and Captain Hook danced by Sir Jon Trimmer, Peter Pan brings together three artists whose involvement stretches back to the very first years of the company's existence.

Kerr, 73, captures the youthful spirit of Barrie's swashbuckling tale with a playful combination of theatre and classical dance.

"This ballet bridges generation gaps and brings to life a host of idiosyncratic characters in a story that is timeless," he says.

"Life can never be the same after living for so long with Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinker Bell, Mr and Mrs Darling, Michael, John, Lost Boys, Hook, Pirates, Tiger Lily, Redskins, Mermaids and a Never bird."

Last performed in 1999, Peter Pan was a huge hit with audiences. Kerr says he is pleased to revisit a work that given so much pleasure.

"There is the luxury of knowing that audiences greeted the original production with bursts of approval, so the choreographic structure is already established. The important factor in reviving a production is to ensure dancers explore each characterisation afresh so that performances will have that same sense of spontaneity that was so captivating in the original. I so look forward to seeing Peter Pan the ballet come to life once again through the artistry of the truly gifted Royal New Zealand Ballet."

The production is an all-New Zealand affair. Designer Kristian Fredrikson is a New Zealander now based in Sydney, and composer Philip Norman, lighting designer Joe Hayes, along with Russell Kerr, call Christchurch home.

Kerr is this country's pre-eminent ballet choreographer, and a former artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Earlier this year, he was one of ten inaugural recipients of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Award.

Since designing his first ballet for the company in 1963, Fredrikson has gone on to become an internationally acclaimed, award-winning theatre practitioner. His Edwardian picture-book design captures the flavour of the original story and brings it to full Technicolor life.

Norman's inventive orchestral score brims with colour and energy. Rhythmic, melodic and dynamic, the marriage of music and action is a highlight of this world-class production.

Kerry Marshall, Presiding Member of The New Zealand Lotteries Commission, says "The New Zealand Lotteries Commission is proud to help the Royal New Zealand Ballet bring this production to eight centres nationally. Our Lotto sponsorship of Peter Pan is a small part of the overall contribution made to the arts by New Zealanders who regularly buy Lotto. Of the $118.5 million in Lotteries profits returned to the community during the 2002 financial year, $20.3 million went to Creative New Zealand to support dance, music, drama, and other arts, throughout New Zealand."

The Lotto Season of Peter Pan tours Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch, Napier, Palmerston North, Auckland, New Plymouth and Hamilton (full booking details follow).

The Lotto Season of Peter Pan Choreography: Russell Kerr Music: Philip Norman Costume and set designer: Kristian Fredrikson Lighting design: Joe Hayes Based on James Barrie's play


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