A new, specially commissioned version of J M Barrie’s classic Peter Pan is to be the first in-house production of a summer family show at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch. The script is by Vicky Ireland MBE, the music and lyrics by Steven Markwick, the direction by Bob Carlton, the design by Norman Coates and the choreography by Hannah Welch. The cast is drawn from the theatre’s own resident cut to the chase… company of actor-musicians.

“There doesn’t seem to be enough high-quality live children’s entertainment in our region so, as a producing theatre serving East London and Essex, we very much wanted to redress the balance by staging a show that many families can enjoy during the summer months”, says Carlton, who is the Queen’s Theatre’s artistic director. He aims to develop an in-house programme of children’s theatre and thereby expand its family audience base beyond regular pantomime-goers.

Ireland has adapted many children’s classics, stories by A A Milne, Kipling and Roald Dahl among others, as well as creating original work. She also has a considerable following through her work on children’s television. Her version of Peter Pan runs between 26 May and 16 June with ticket prices between £12 and £21; family tickets are also available.

The autumn season has also been announced. It begins with a revival of Carlton’s own Return to the Forbidden Planet, a rock’n’roll musical which won awards first time around. That’s between 25 August and 22 September. It’s followed by Shakers (28 September to 13 October) by John Godber and Jane Thornton, whose plays are immensely popular with the Queen’s Theatre audiences. The Steven Canny and John Nicholson adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles is from 26 October to 17 November.

Theatre-goers who book for all three shows can receive a 40 per cent saving on the cost of their tickets (%15 for each show) through the Jump the Q season saver. This year’s pantomime is Jack and the Beanstalk, running from 1 December until 12 January. Booking for this has already opened and panto patrons can net themselves a further 10 per cent discount on Peter Pan tickets..