Cast fly high in unforgettable Lower School production - St Albans High School for Girls


Cast fly high in unforgettable Lower School production

Date Posted: Thursday 09 March 2023

High flying students brought the Lower School production of Wendy & Peter Pan to life last week, in an ambitious retelling of JM Barrie’s classic tale. 

Over 100 students and staff were involved as actors, stage crew, musicians and assistant directors in Ella Hickson’s contemporary, feminist interpretation. 

Drama teacher Mr Bhantoa said: ‘I’ve worked on many productions before, but the sheer scale of Wendy & Peter Pan was a new experience for me. It certainly tested my admin skills! I thought the aerial work and the choreography of the flying would be my biggest challenge – and it was challenging – but it was actually so much more of a joy than I expected.’

STAHS students and staff – including members of the Classics, Physics, Music and Marketing departments – were trained in the safe operation of the flying equipment by a team from High Performance Rigging & Productions. Mr Bhantoa said: ‘The safety of our students was of course our priority, but I was determined to make it both safe and fun, and I certainly think that our airborne students delivered the wow factor on the night.’

JM Barrie gifted the rights of Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1929, and Mr Bhantoa set out to continue this connection by appealing for donations to GOSH, with £2,850 raised so far.

He added: ‘I am hugely proud of everyone involved in Wendy & Peter Pan. From pirate ships to live piano music, flying to fast-paced stage combat, this production was a beast to tackle and I often found myself completely forgetting that the students involved are 11 to 14-year-olds, not professional actors.

‘As I said to the audience on the final night, it’s great to work in a school which supports so unapologetically this level of creativity and theatricality. All children, except one, grow up – but directing Wendy & Peter Pan has made me feel like a kid again.’