DOUBLE acts are a staple in entertainment and SODS has a new duo in Heather Cooper and Emma Stow.

They have teamed up for the first time as joint artistic directors of Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society’s production of Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure.

SODS will be presenting the show at the Palace Theatre in London Road, Westcliff in November and Heather and Emma are busy polishing the production.

Heather fell in love with the musical after seeing a concert version in London, while listening to the atmospheric soundtrack hooked Emma.

“We put it to the committee because we knew it would be a good show for SODS,” said Heather. “Everyone just really fits into their roles; it’s like they were made for them.”

Heather and Emma have many years performing under their belts, but it’s the first time Heather has directed, while Emma previously directed Pirates of Penzance for Benfleet Operatic.

“It’s such a complicated show, even though everyone knows the story, so having Heather to work with has been so good,” said Emma, who is also SODS’ chairman.

“She has taken responsibility for the Lost Boys and I’ve looked after the pirates. It’s meant that we’ve both been able to work with those characters, rather than just having a snapshot of the show. I think it has helped keep the energy high, which has been nice and has taken the pressure off.”

Heather added: “I’ve just loved every minute of it. Although it’s been really challenging, it does make you look at things in a totally different perspective and makes you appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes to put a show together.”

Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure is based on JM Barrie’s original play, with music by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewe.

It tells the story of the Wendy, John and Michael Darling and their trip to Neverland with Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, and fairy Tinkerbell.

Along the way they meet the Lost Boys, Tiger Lily and her braves, and do battle with Captain Hook, Smee and the pirates.

“I wouldn’t say it’s just for children; there are elements that are great for children and it’s so magical and atmospheric, but we are showing the darker side, too,” Heather explained.

“Not many people have seen Peter Pan with a full score. The music is so wonderful to listen to. I think that brings an extra layer to the show that will guide everyone through.”

Emma added: “I think it’s like you haven’t seen it before. It’s got elements of all the best versions of Peter Pan, but it’s different and will get you into that warm and cosy feel just before Christmas.”

Pan is played by Ewan Dunlop, with Emma Howell taking her first principal role for SODS as Wendy. Jonny Buxton is playing Captain Hook.

Andrew Walters makes his debut for SODS as musical director, with choreography by Vicky Wyatt and fight scenes directed by Harry Palmer.

Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure is at the Palace Theatre from Wednesday, November 7 to Saturday, November 10 with evening performances at 7.30pm. There are matinees at 2.30pm on Thursday and Saturday.

Contact the box office on 01702 351135 or at for tickets.