Forget past performances of Peter Pan on stage or screen because Threesixty Theatre’s new stage production of PETER PAN at Tyson’s Corner Center is an imaginative performance that turns traditional theater upside down thanks to unique elements that are done in a true theater in the round. The story may be J.M. Barrie’s but Threesixty features 20 actors who perform on round elevated stage and above it as they fly through the air using the world’s first 360 degree CGI (computer-generated imagery) as the backdrop.
My 9 year old son and I attended the opening night performance of the Washington, D.C. premiere and loved every minute of it. While he’s no stranger to theater, the combination of traditional theater on a round stage plus the cool factor of the CGI images projected overhead along with actors whose feet are on the ground one second then flying through the air the next made for an exciting show.
Peter Pan by Threesixty Theatre is in Washington, D.C. until August 16th before heading to Houston and Dallas this fall and winter. Catch it this summer between trips to the pool summer camp, and vacation because it’s simply spectacular.
4 Things Families Need to Know About Threesixty Theatre’s Peter Pan
#1— Run time
From start to finish, Peter Pan is a total of two hours long with a 20 minute intermission about an hour in. A few actors come out about fifteen minutes prior to the start of the performance singing songs to entertain the audience.
#2— Factors to consider when thinking about if this show is right for your kids
According to press materials, the performance is designed for ages 5 and up and while every child is different, it’s important for parents who are on the fence about going to know the following:
- Parents with kids who scare easily should know that Mr. Darling is quite stern. The character shouts to send Nana outside, threatens to send away the children, and sips from a flask in the first scene.
- If loud noises and flashes frighten, there are flashing lights and booming cannons with balls that fly right at you (thanks to the CGI imagery) as Peter, Wendy, John, and Michael arrive in Neverland.
- There are also three deaths in the production. SPOILER: A pirate is killed by Captain Hook in the third scene and although she was saved by Peter once, Tiger Lily later perishes. Audience participation helps brings back a beloved character towards the end succumbs to poison meant for Peter and it’s heartwarming to see children and adults alike helping to revive her.
#3— Best seats
While there’s no bad seat in the house thanks to the performance on a round stage in a round theater, those who select seats in the first row will be tilting their heads to look up at the elevated stage throughout the performance or may get a crocodile head leaning over the stage that might be too close for comfort! For seats that are more at eye level, buy tickets beginning at row D. We had tickets for section B, row H that was about halfway up and they were perfect. Unlike Cirque du Soleil performances, none of the seats in the theater had obstructed views thanks to well placed lights and soundboards above the various entrances.
#4— Where is the theater? Where do I park?
The official address is 8200 Watson Street in McLean but it’s in a lot behind Crate and Barrel and Café Deluxe down the street with Silver Diner on the corner. If you have a pre-show meal at Silver Diner like we did, ask if you might be able to park there to save yourself a trip back across the street to repark the car at the designated Tyson’s Corner garage. The kind manager let us park at the back of the lot which made for an easy exit at the end of the show. The designated Tyson’s Corner garage is free and an uphill walk to the theater. At least it’s downhill when your kids are most tired at the end of the show! Otherwise nearby event parking is $25.
8 Things to Do Before Seeing Threesixty Theatre’s Peter Pan
Now that you’ve bought your tickets, build some background knowledge in your kids about the story and venue to get them excited about the performance by doing any of these 9 things.
#1— Read the book
Peter Pan – The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up was created by Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie. One night, Peter flies into the London nursery of the Darling children, Wendy, John and Michael, teaches them to fly and leads them to the magical Neverland, “second to the right and straight on till morning,” where they live with Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and meet the notorious Captain Hook. This story has been adapted many times but there’s nothing quite like the original that’s perfect for reading in book form, on an eReader ($0.99 on Amazon), or listening to as an audio book (available from Audible via Amazon for free or $9.99) on a road trip or carpooling to and from camp this summer.
#2— Learn about author J.M. Barrie and the history of Peter Pan
While kids may be familiar with the story, how much do they know about the author and what inspired the tale of Peter Pan? Here’s a brief history to get your family started!
James Barrie never had his own but spent a great deal of time playing with the children of his good friends, Sylvia and Arthur Llewelyn Davies. He loved to create skits for the children’s entertainment. It was while writing and acting out skits with the Davies children that Barrie developed the characters and plot he would use in the writing of the full-length play version of Peter Pan.
Barrie also drew his inspiration from the boys’ parents. He modeled Mr. Darling after the young lawyer, Arthur Llewelyn Davies. Mrs. Darling was based on the refined, nurturing mother Sylvia Davies. After Sylvia and Arthur’s early deaths, Barrie adopted their five boys.
The play has strong roots in the reality of Barrie’s life. Like Peter Pan, Barrie was a boy who refused to grow up. He took such elements of life as his awkwardness with – yet dependence upon – women, his love of children, and his own longing for childhood, shaping these elements into one of the most beloved stories of all time.
Barrie came up with the last name Pan based on Greek mythology. Pan was the Greek god that symbolized natural forces. Pan was the ancient god of forest, flocks, and shepherds. Peter’s enchanted Pan-side granted him the power to remain a child forever.
#3— Watch a Peter Pan themed movie
Most are familiar with the classic Disney movie version of Peter Pan even though the Common Sense Media review calls it “occasionally a disturbing, violent story” with “some very dated racist and sexist stereotypes and themes.” This movie is rated for ages 5 and up and would provide an interesting compare/contrast for older children who are able to discuss similarities and differences in the movie and theater production after seeing the live show because there are vast differences. Hint: The songs in the Disney movie are uniquely Disney and Threesixty’s Peter Pan has a musical score of it’s own.
Other ways to view Peter Pan include the three other movies: Peter Pan in 1924; the Steven Spielberg version, Hook in 1992 (available through Amazon Instant Video to rent or buy); and most recently, Peter Pan in 2003. Coming this October, Pan is another movie based on J.M. Barrie’s story.
#4— Talk about where the story takes place
While the majority of Peter Pan takes place in fictional Neverland, it starts and ends in the Darling’s home in London. Use the performance as an excuse to incorporate a little geography. Show them where in the world London is on a map or globe and then take a virtual field trip to see the city with Rick Steves with his London: Mod and Trad video that is just over 25 minutes long. Kids will have fun flying with Peter over London especially if they can spot Trafalger Square, Tower Bridge, and Westminster Abbey among other popular destinations.
#5— Take a virtual field trip to the theater
A 360 degree circle can be hard for a young audience members to conceive of even if you tell them it’s a circle. A more concrete way for kids to understand is to watch this timelapse video of the theater construction.
This helps even the youngest children understand the space that they’ll be in. Older kids will love knowing that the entire interior is lit with more than 15,000 square feet of Hi Resolution video that immerse both cast and audience in a virtual Neverland!
Or watch this quick one minute video from WTOP that takes you inside Peter Pan 360 to see the fully constructed theater space.
#6— Talk about how this production is different from others have seen in theaters
Aside from the theater-in-the-round aspect, tech savvy tweens and teens will appreciate the following trivia about Threesixty Theatre that features:
- The world’s first fully 360-degree projected backdrop for live theatrical performance largest surround CGI (computer-generated imagery) venue in the world
- 12 projectors, delivering 360-degree projection
- 10 million pixels
- 15,000 square feet of CGI
- 400 square miles of virtual London were rendered
- 100 computers took four weeks to create the images (it would have taken 8 years for a single computer to render)
#7— Go behind the scenes of Peter Pan through their social media channels
Older kids who are savvy users of social media might enjoy a look a behind the scenes with cast photos on Instagram, tweets that link to news features about the show, or Facebook posts that feature production trivia and exclusive video clips. Follow PeterPan360Tour on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or hashtags #PeterPan360 and #NeverGrowUp.
#8— Discuss proper theater behavior
From start to finish, the performance is approximately 2 hours (the first act is approximately 60 minutes with a 20 minute intermission before the 40 minute second act) which can be a long time to sit. Before you go, talk about how to be a good audience member including using a whisper during the performance, being still to not disturb others around you, silencing your cell phone and not using it during the performance. There are no photos allowed once the performance begins but fun selfies outside with posters are encouraged to be shared with Threesixty Theatre’s social channels.
Washington, D.C. Area Performance Dates and Times
Tickets for Peter Pan in the Threesixty Theatre start at $25 for weekday performances and at $35 for weekend performances and are on sale now for shows at the following times between now and Sunday, August 16:
- Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 pm
- Saturday at 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, and 7:30 pm
- Sunday at 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm
- There are a limited number of Thursday 10:30 am performances available and a special holiday schedule is set for July 4th weekend.
Ticket Discount: SAVE $10 on select tickets to see Peter Pan during these dates and times:
- Tuesday – Friday 7:30pm
- Thursday 10:30am performances: Tickets only $65.00 and $40.00 (Reg. price $75.00 and $50.00)
- Saturday 7:30pm and Sunday 5:30pm performances: Tickets only $75.00 and $55.00 (Reg. price $85.00 and $65.00)
Use offer code PPMOM when purchasing tickets at Ticketmaster.com to redeem your savings! *Limit 6 per order. Offer not valid on Premium Seating, $45, or $25 seats. No double discounts. Additional fees apply.
Premium and VIP ticket packages are available. Tickets are available for purchase on site at the Threesixty Theatre box office, online at peterpan360.com or Ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster retail location, or by calling (800) 745-3000. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more by calling (877) 407-8497. For more information, visit peterpan360.com.
Enter to win a set of two tickets in a flash giveaway!
To enter, leave a comment about who your favorite Peter Pan character is and why OR why you’re excited to see the show. All comments must be received by Sunday, July 5 at 5 pm.
- Winner will receive a set of two vouchers (good for a total of two tickets) to a show within the first 4 weeks of the show for select performances.
- Vouchers will be mailed (winner must provide their address by July 6) and must be redeemed in person at the box office and are subject to availability.
- For best seats exchange as soon as possible.
- Each voucher is valid for a specific range of performance dates.
- These dates cannot be altered or exchanged for other dates. Dates available are clearly stated on the voucher.
- Vouchers are not valid for VIP or Premium Seating
Our family received complimentary tickets to attend Peter Pan but all opinions are my own with feedback from my young theater-goers! Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.