An all-star cast from stage and screen have come together to record a new audio edition of J.M. Barrie’s timeless classic Peter Pan:The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up including Kit Harington, Alex Jennings, Alex Kingston, Joanna Lumley, Helen McCrory, Jennifer Saunders, Juliet Stevenson, David Walliams and Zoe Wanamaker.
Abridged by Martin Jarvis, who also reads and introduced by Michael Morpurgo, this unique edition is sold in aid of The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust in Dumfries and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, which was bequeathed the rights to Peter Pan by the author in 1929.
Originally written as a play, the much-loved story of the boy who could fly and his pirate adventures in Neverland with the Lost Boys and the Darling children, was first published as a novel, Peter & Wendy, in 1911. The book has gone on to sell over 85 million copies in 29 different languages, as well as being made into 13 films. Peter Pan has become a cultural icon symbolising youthful innocence and escapism.
Actress and TV presenter, Joanna Lumley, who played an instrumental role in the new audio edition and is Patron of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust said:
“He haunts us all: Peter Pan has never grown up and has never let us forget him. His shadow found in a drawer by Tinker Bell trails round the corners of our eyes. As I now know, like a grown-up Wendy, that most of our lives are lived in our minds, this strange, thrilling, charming and unsettling work beckons children and adults alike into the world of make-believe, without which our lives would be intolerable. A host of stars has gathered to read the story aloud; their gift to the charity is a gift to us all. The Peter Pan Moat Brae House fires our imagination and draws us into the world of Neverland.”
Barrie lived for some five years of his childhood in Dumfries, South West Scotland, where he spent the ‘happiest days’ of his life playing imaginary pirate games in the ‘enchanted land’ at Moat Brae, which he later described as his inspiration for the Neverland adventures in Peter Pan. After a ten-year restoration project, the house and garden opened in June 2019 as a new visitor attraction and a National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling to inspire reading, play and imagination.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: An abridged audio edition
Published 5th November 2020 by The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s charity
Running time: 2 hours 12 mins approx.
Available on CD (RRP £8.99) and digital download format (RRP £6.00).
Distributed by Penguin Random House
75% of each audiobook sale will be shared equally between The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust (Registered Scottish Charity Number SC041382 and Company Number SC363695) and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (Registered Charity Number 1160024 and Company number 09338724).
About J.M. Barrie
James Matthew Barrie was born in 1860 in Angus, Scotland, one of 10 children from a family of weavers. In 1873 he moved to Dumfries to live with his older brother Alick and attended Dumfries Academy. It was here that he developed his love of theatre and literature. His first play, written and performed when he was 17, was called Bandelero the Bandit and his first work of fiction was a ‘log-book’ of the games he played in the ‘enchanted land” at Moat Brae.
After graduating from Edinburgh University in 1882, Barrie moved to London to work as a journalist. He published his first novel, Better Dead, in 1887 and a string of popular novels set in Scotland followed, including A Window in Thrums (1889).
After some success with fiction, Barrie began writing plays in the 1890s. His play, Walker London, a comedy poking fun at the institution of marriage, received critical acclaim. He himself married in 1894 to actress Mary Ansell, but the couple later divorced.
Barrie would often take long walks in London’s Kensington’s Gardens, where he met the five Llewelyn Davies brothers, who it is said were the inspiration for him to write Peter Pan. Childless himself, Barrie later became the guardian of the boys after the death of their parents.
Barrie was made a baronet by George V in 1913 and a member of the Order of Merit in 1922. In1929 he gave the rights to the Peter Pan works to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, which to this day continues to benefit from them.
J.M. Barrie died in 1937 and was buried in Kirriemuir, Angus.
About Moat Brae:
There was a house with a rambling garden leading down to a river, where a boy and his friends played as pirates in an imaginary world of adventure.
The boy grew up to become the author J.M. Barrie and the games he played with his school friends Stewart and Hal Gordon provided the inspiration for Peter Pan, one of the most famous children’s stories ever written.
Years later, Barrie was to recall those happy times:
“When the shades of night began to fall, certain young mathematicians shed their triangles, crept up walls and down trees, and became pirates in a sort of Odyssey that was long afterwards to become the play of Peter Pan. For our escapades in a certain Dumfries garden, which is enchanted land to me, was certainly the genesis of that nefarious work – Peter Pan.”
The garden belonged to Moat Brae, – a listed Georgian townhouse in Dumfries, in South West Scotland. Privately owned until 1914, when it became a nursing home until 1997, after which it fell into disrepair.
In 2009 The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust was set up to save Moat Brae from demolition and preserve its literary and historic heritage for future generations to enjoy.
After ten years of careful restoration and with the support of Patron Joanna Lumley, public and private trusts, funders and an army of volunteers, the Trust’s vision was realised and the next chapter in Moat Brae’s history began.
Among the key partners are National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Castansa Trust, Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government, Dumfries & Galloway Council and Creative Scotland and The Robertson Trust. There have also been many other funders and donors including private trusts and individuals. The ten year project has also captured the hearts of many supporters and valued volunteers within the Dumfries & Galloway community as well as from across the UK and internationally.
The house has been restored to its former glory, and the garden – Barrie’s ‘enchanted land’ – reinvented as the Neverland Garden, a magical place of exploration and discovery complete with pirate ship, fairy bower and mermaids’ lagoon.
In June 2019, Moat Brae opened to the public as a National Centre for Children’s
Literature and Storytelling, to promote imagination, creativity and play, welcoming children, families and visitors of all ages and from all around the world to the place where Peter Pan began.