Peter and Wendy all set for lift-off

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When stage directors Karina Bygate and Stewart Fairthorne first dreamed up their pantomime version of the classic Peter Pan story, they were determined that Peter and Wendy had to fly.

But how to do it? Even with their own stage it’s a challenge. The Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company might own the Boxmoor Playhouse outright, but space is limited.

“We’ve got to have room for all the backdrops,” Stewart said. “Those are pretty much on stage the entire time.

“Then we’ve got to think about how our actors will enter on to the stage, and how we’re going to fit in all the tech such as lighting.

“With all that, there’s barely room for the stage manager, he gets squished in the corner as it is, let alone having a load of scaffolding clogging up the place.”

The determined duo weren’t going to be put off, though, and Babette Smith and Polly Bloxham, playing Peter and Wendy respectively, will fly through the air when the curtain goes up on Friday.

Karina said: “We could’ve decided to fake it, put them on stilts, or run a bit of cloth over the front of the stage and use shadow puppetry.

“But it’s Peter Pan. I want to wow the crowd. If we were going to do it, it had to be done right.

“Every way we looked at this it was a massive pain

“We’d have these chunks of metal in the wings or we’d need to rebuild the roof or we couldn’t have both of them up there at the same time.

“It took us a while, and a lot of late nights, but we finally managed to work out a way of holding two bodies in the air - and fit it in the limited space we had.

You can see the results for yourself during the panto’s run, which begins on Friday and carries on until Sunday, December 16.

Call 01442 234004 to book tickets, priced £10 for stalls and £12 for tiers, concessions available.

Family tickets for two adults and two children aged 12 and under (tiers only) cost £39.