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First Student Theatre Production in Belmont’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher,’ Opens this Weekend

To match the grandeur of the newly opened Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Belmont’s Department of Theatre and Dance will put on one of its largest shows ever produced, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” opening this weekend.

Adjunct Theatre Instructor and Show Director Shawn Knight said this prequel to Peter Pan has something for everyone. The audience gets a look into how “Boy” becomes Peter Pan, insight into the character of “Black Stache” before he turns Captain Hook and even an introduction to Wendy’s mother.

“No matter what age you are or what you like in theater, this show will speak to you,” said Knight. “This show is designed to be done in as many ways as you can imagine. It has been performed by more than 1,500 companies in the last three years, and I dare say none of them are identical because of the creativity the piece grants you.”

Senior theatre performance major Sam Costantino, playing “Boy/Peter,” had the chance to play the character in high school but realized this would be a chance to re-learn the character under a completely new approach. “I’ve loved getting to know ‘Boy’ again. He is essentially an abused orphan who doesn’t know where he belongs or who he is – he doesn’t even have a name. But you watch his experiences with the unique individuals that come into his life throughout the show and see him form a new ‘found’ family,” he explained.

behind the scenes tour
Left to Right: Costantino, Bassett and Denike talk about the show and the work behind the scenes to make it happen.

Although students were presented with new challenges due to the sheer size the hall (which can hold nearly three Troutt Theater stages – one of the halls Belmont students have used in the past), since the piece is written to be adapted to the needs of the company, it was the perfect fit to show off the features of the Fisher Center in a grand way.

Between mermaids rising from the orchestra pit, a utilized fly system and a Marley floor serving as a boat dock, much creative thought went into the set design and how it could enhance the story and the space. Professor Paul Gatrell and the 14 student cast members worked together on the set pieces, all on wheels to create extra movement across the vast stage. The star of the set is a four-story pirate ship that sails across the stage throughout the production.

Senior theatre performance major Andrew Bassett, playing “Mrs. Bumbrake,” said the cast and crew on this show is unlike other productions he has been a part of in the past, noting how the atmosphere always feels collaborative and supportive.

Junior theatre directing major Tori Denike, working as assistant director on the show, agreed.

“The story is something we, as college students, can closely relate to as we make the transition away from childhood into adulthood; from our home environment and into our own ‘found families,’ which is something I think just about everyone goes through in their life,” Denike explained. “I’m really excited for people to see themselves represented on stage through the characters of the show. With such a wide range of personalities, everyone can find themselves in this story.”

Costantino continued, “The writing is incredible, and as a result, you lose yourself in this sweet, childlike story and the raw emotions the kids feel – beautiful extrapolations of how we feel as adults. We are more complicated, but you get to relax and let go of that for two hours.”

The show will run Friday – Sunday at various times. Visit the Belmont Box Office website for tickets, which range from $10-25.

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