Child-led Peter Pan play makes the arts accessible to Midland families

Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 6:03 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA)- Midland’s Centennial Park is transforming into Neverland Thursday evening.

Well, at least on stage for The River Fine Arts’ production of Peter Pan.

The production will mark a few firsts for the program, according to Studio Director Lauren Knowles.

“We’ve never done a performance out here at Centennial Park. We’ve never done an outdoor performance period,” Knowles said. “So, the kids are learning. The crew is learning and we’re going to do it all together. It’s also our first community-wide musical. So these kiddos, some of them have been students at the studio before, but some have not.”

The one-and-a-half hour musical is also child-led. Kids aged 4 to 15 years old led the creative direction of the play.

“They made most of the props themselves and they came up with a lot of ideas to add into the show. And I’m really excited to see them perform this tonight,” said Audrey Williams, a teacher at The River Fine Arts.

The play is based on J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan with some modifications, like original music by a staff member. Midlanders are invited to bring a lawn chair and catch the show on the park’s stage.

The musical was free to join and now it’s free to watch. That’s part of The River Fine Arts’ mission to make the arts accessible to everyone.

For the show’s Captain Hook, the character comes with some challenges.

“Well, it’s a huge role because he makes a lot of emotions,” Gatlin Black said. “And it would be difficult, especially with the wig, it can fall off sometimes so you gotta keep rolling.”

Show business comes with a few nerves.

“I’m really nervous at the beginning, but as soon as we get it over with I’m like, I did it. it’s over,” said Victoria McClain, who plays Skylights the pirate.

Fellow actor Norah Dodds feels the same way.

“I’m actually kind of nervous. But it feels really great because I worked really hard and studied my lines,” said Dodds, who plays Wendy.

Attendees will find music, laughter and dancing, all for free at the show that’s set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday.