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December 6, 2019

Seven Facts You Might Not Know About Peter Pan


In 1904, the magical tale of Peter Pan made its theatrical debut and, from then on, we’ve all wished we had our own little pocket of fairy dust.  

Though we may not be able to help you fly, let us instead sprinkle a little wisdom with seven facts that you may not know about Peter Pan.

1. Peter wasn’t always dressed in green.  

Though most people often think of Peter Pan completely clad in a green outfit, Barrie’s original outfit was in shades of tan and brown.  

This greener image came about after Disney’s 1953 film adaptation of Peter Pan and has remained ever since.  

2. Safety Dust. 

The magical fairy dust that makes you fly was a late addition to the Peter Pan story, having been added to keep children safe when they began hurting themselves whilst trying to fly.  

3. Peter Pan was a real boy… 

Or inspired by one, at least!  It’s believed that Barrie based Peter on his adopted son, Peter Llewellyn Davies.  

This Peter, however, did grow up, going on to become a publisher who worked on titles including P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins.  

4. The first Peter on stage was played by a woman. 

English actress Nina Boucicault was the first ever Peter Pan. At the time, children weren’t allowed to perform on stage after 9pm, and it was also believed that an adult man would not accurately reflect Pan’s forever young appearance.  

5. The copyright for Peter Pan is owned by Great Ormond Street Hospital. 

Having supported GOSH for many years, in 1929 Barrie gifted his copyright of Peter Pan to GOSH. In a surprising move in 1988, the House of Lords ensured that this would be the gift that kept on giving by adding a special clause in the UK’s Copyright Designs and Patents Act. This change means that the hospital will forever continue to receive royalties from Peter Pan.

6. Origin of the Wendy House.  

The Wendy House that most of us would have played in as children was based on the house built for Wendy in the play by the Lost Boys. 

7. Peter isn’t so different from a Greek god. 

The character of Peter Pan bears numerous resemblances to a Greek god also named Pan. In Greek mythology, Pan is known as being the god of the wild, of shepherds and their flocks, and of hunting music, and is also a friend to the nymphs. Much like Peter Pan, he is often depicted playing the pan flute or panpipes too.  

You can experience the magic of Peter Pan by reading the play, or share it by putting on your own performance.