Tim Maddren plays Peter Pan in the pantomime, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, to excited audiences at Sydney’s State Theatre July this year.
What was is it like auditioning for this role?
I happened to be overseas when Bonnie Lythgoe produced Aladdin at the State Theatre in 2015. But my wife, Steph Maddren, was able to see it. Steph has been a supporter of Bonnie for many years; Steph was a contestant on the first season of So You Think You Can Dance? and attributes this to kick-starting her dancing career.
After seeing Aladdin, Steph was effusive that I audition for Bonnie’s production of Cinderella the following year. Sure enough, six months later, I had a ball auditioning for Bonnie and her team, alongside Jamie Hadwen’s Cinderella.
Performing in Cinderella was fantastic, I didn’t want it to end. Bonnie and Chris’ shows are the perfect mixture of fun and laughter, all wrapped in a special theatre magic. After this experience with Bonnie, Chris and the team, I couldn’t wait to work with them again!
How did you find out that you had secured the role?
My friend Cam puts on a weekly Taco Tuesday night at his house. A large group of us were there wearing shirts that read, ‘Forget the siesta it’s time to fiesta!’, when I got the message from Chris offering me the role. I leapt around the room and Cam even gave me permission to have the last taco (huge honour). I then replied to Chris with a gif of Peter Pan leaping about with joy.
I was so excited – it’s one of those roles I’ve always wanted to play and I can’t wait.
You have played many wonderful roles; do you have a special way to remember lines?
It’s not a nice feeling when you realise your audition for a show was only as good as your line recall on the day. I mention auditions because in stage shows I usually know my lines by early rehearsals. I really don’t like it when line-drops and hesitations get in the way of what I want to do. I relate it to trying to fly with a broken wing.
I’ve worked with lots of people who just blink at the page and their lines are in their head. For me, I take I while. Most of the television shows I’ve worked on have had small casts so you have dialogue to learn. This can sometimes mean the production only goes as fast as you can memorise.
My special tip to learning lines is to do it just before bed. I tried this after a neuroscientist friend of mine told me that memory test subjects recall information better if they study the information just before going to sleep the night before, and this really helped me.
Do you think there will be some Hi-5 in your rendition of Peter Pan?
Hi-5 was unique as I played ‘myself’ on the show! I would like to say my actual name is Peter Pan and that I can fly, but alas. Fans of Hi-5 may see some correlation. A lot of the children who watched Hi-5 are now old enough to enjoy Peter Pan so it will be cool to meet them again and it kind of feels like I’m continuing their induction into the magic of live theatre. But this time, instead of wearing nappies, they’ll probably be carrying smartphones and fidget spinners.
Do you have a favourite scene you can’t wait to perform?
My first scene in the show has everything. It gave me goose bumps reading it for the first time.
And the moment I judge Hook (Todd McKenney) on his dancing ability will be a joy to perform!
Any surprises we can expect within the show?
I really shouldn’t be giving this away, but as a Living Local exclusive I’ll tell you: I will actually be flying!
How do you relax between shows?
Last year in Cinderella the cast came down with an obsession for Pokemon Go. Between shows we would be touring around the CBD and certain parts of the theatre chasing Zubats and Pidgeys.
I shared a dressing room with Peter Everett so was also treated to some great home-cooking.
Your wife is also a performer; do you often practice roles with each other?
Strangely, we haven’t performed alongside each other much. However, in 2015, Steph was the choreographer for a television series I shot in Abu Dhabi. I felt so lucky having her as our choreographer as I have a kind of ‘unique’ dance style, so Steph made me look like a far better dancer than I actually was.
This year we also performed a pas de deus in a show we produced together, which was very special for me.
Has your son watched Peter Pan yet or will this be his first time?
Banjo’s a big fan of Hi-5. When it’s on, I sometimes stand beside the TV and imitate myself on the screen. Watching him compute why there are two perky versions of me in front of him is very funny (for me).
He has only seen me perform live once, and that was last year in Cinderella. Bonnie and Chris do these fantastic performances of their shows called ‘relaxed performances’. A ‘relaxed performance’ means anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable going to the theatre under the usual circumstances can go to a performance where the house lights are only dimmed to 50% and no-one cares how much noise you make. If you want to walk around the auditorium whilst the show is on that’s cool too.
These performances were awesome for Steph and me last year. It meant that 6-month-old Banjo could come to the theatre and we didn’t have to get a babysitter.
So, I can’t wait to spin his mind when his father starts flying in front of his eyes!