Finding ‘a Neverland like no other’ at Lighthouse


A Neverland like no other, the rugged isle of Portland – a jewel in the Jurassic Coast – is to star in a new production of Peter Pan developed in part at Lighthouse by Dorset-based company SISATA.

The four-hander play is set to tour the UK in August including a date at Moat Brae, the birthplace of Peter Pan, at the National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling in Dumfries, before its final stand at Lighthouse on 18 and 19 September. 

“Before that we’re also hoping to stage an immersive outdoor performance on Portland in Church Ope Cove, which is just a beautiful, magical location,” explains writer-director Charmaine K. 

“If we get the funding, the plan is for that to be a full community production with Lost Boys, Mer-Creatures, pirates and smugglers played by local people. Last year’s production of The Tempest was included in the b-side festival and made such an impact we felt we had to try to build on that momentum.” 

Working alongside the company – Anna Takashima (Tink, Mrs Darling), Poppy Hardwicke (assistant producer), Sophie Powell (Wendy), Jake Baker (Pan), Alastair Braidwood (MD, Hook, Mr Darling) –Charmaine is setting out to harness the spirit of the original novel and explore a range of current issues, from the climate emergency, to culture wars that pit young and old against each other. 

“There are lots of issues that have been used to cause division on Portland – the Bibby Stockholm, the waste incinerator. The camps seem to split along age lines and sometimes between those whose families have lived on Portland for a long time and relative newcomers.  

“At its heart, Peter Pan is a story about when and how to grow up, about the energy and innovation of youth and the strength and wisdom of experience. If we want to have a good future, a proper future as grown-ups, we have to work together to balance the two. We love casting members of the audience in our productions because it breaks down barriers, but the spirit and the characters created for our Utopian adaptation on Portland are universal.” 

Dorset is further referenced by the crocodile puppet based on the massive, fossilised skull of a pliosaur found at Kimmeridge and in the costumes created by Performance Design and Film Costume students from AUB. 

“We had 30 students join us to explore their ideas for the costumes and it was brilliant,” says Charmaine. “They’d never worked on their feet standing up before with live actors and it was wonderful to see them engaging with the company and dressing the actors for publicity shots using old costumes and scraps following the designs for guidance.” 

With much still to be decided – the script is only in the very earliest stages of development and the company has yet to really discuss music and accompaniment – there’s a lot to do, but things often run much more smoothly when working in a space like the Sherling Studio at Lighthouse. 

“We feel really nurtured here by an organisation that supports local artists to make work in an environment that brings its own special atmosphere. Working here, it’s a professional space and it just has a really good feeling. It’s very energising.” 

:: For details of how to help fund please contact 


Photos by Mirek Lucan

Peter Pan in development

AUB students fit Tink
Matching designs from page to stage
Students meet the cast
Sophie Powell as Wendy
Alastair Braidwood as Hook
Anna Takashima as Tink
Jake Baker as Pan