The National Theatre’s Peter Pan is holding a relaxed performance on Saturday 21 January 2017. We spoke to Lois Chimimba, who plays Tiger Lily, about the show, and putting on a relaxed performance.
Can you tell us a little about this production of Peter Pan, and your role in it?
In our version of Peter Pan, we have tried to keep as much of the content of all the Peter Pan literature as possible. The play, the novel, the short stories that he appears in, all of which tell us a little more about this such well known, and well loved, character. But there has been a real sense of ‘play’ in the rehearsal room, so we have been lucky enough to devise and shape the piece around the actors and musicians that we have in the room. I hope it will be different from any version you have seen before. There is flying and fighting, and puppets and music. The show is really full of fun, but also doesn’t shy away from the pain and melancholy that also features in the tales of Peter Pan. I’m playing Tiger Lily. We are veering away from the traditional ‘Tiger Lily archetype’, and we are getting our teeth into who she might be. So far, she’s independent and tough, and knows Neverland like the back of her hand. I’m also cast as lost boy ‘Slightly’. He is studious and efficient, so a lovely contrast to Tiger Lily for me. The piece is fast and very energetic, so we are all kept very busy, all of the time.
The cast of Peter Pan (Photo Steve Tanner)
How does a relaxed performance differ from a non-relaxed performance?
Relaxed Performances are designed to have a more supportive and less formal atmosphere. There are often little changes made to sound and lighting cues. And any audience noise is treated with a more relaxed attitude. The theatre sometimes has a ‘quiet area’ outside the main auditorium space, in case anyone wants to leave for a while then re-join us. For the performers though, the show doesn’t change particularly much. We might meet the audience post-show, still in costume. That’s a really lovely privilege, so we look forward to it. We want to welcome everyone to our show.
Captain Hook (Anna Francolini) and pirates (Photo Steve Tanner)
Why do you think relaxed performances are important?
I think I speak for many when I say I believe in ‘theatre for all’. It can be such a special thing to see a performance; no one should have to be excluded from that.
The Pirates (Photo Steve Tanner)
Why should people come and see this production of Peter Pan?
You must come and see us! The show is so full of play and wonder; of heart and pain. The music is expert. There is plenty of flying. And the cast are so lovely to work with in the rehearsal room, I have no doubt they will win you all over on the stage. We want to share our story with you.
John (Marc Antolin), Michael (John Pfumojena), Wendy (Madeleine Worrall) and Peter Pan (Paul Hilton) (Photo Steve Tanner)
If you could stay any age forever, what age would it be?
If I had to stay one age forever, think I’d stay 18. Old enough to do whatever I wanted (mostly), but young enough for my mum to still be a major player in my life. Washing done, dinner on the table, hugs when necessary. Whilst still being able to claim that I was a ‘grown up’. Right now, I still don’t feel like a grown up, but I do have to wash my own clothes, I doesn’t seem fair!
Tiger Lily (Lois Chimimba) (Photo Steve Tanner)
And finally, which Neverland gang would you be part of?
Well according to The National Theatre’s Peter Pan quiz, I’m a mermaid. I’m not certain what that says about me, but I think I’m happy with it!
The mermaids in Peter Pan (Photo Steve Tanner)
Thank you Lois!