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Lymington artist Will Rochfort looking for models for Los Angeles-bound Peter Pan painting

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A LYMINGTON artist is looking for volunteers to help recreate the 1904 opening night of Peter Pan at Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre next Friday (1st April).

Oil painter Will Rochfort will stage a scene for his forthcoming painting which has been commissioned by a Los Angeles based charity.

The finished piece, which is likely to take two to three months to complete, with feature an audience watching Peter Pan soaring above crowds with glimpses of the backstage crew at work.

Will has been painting full-time since 2010
Will has been painting full-time since 2010

Will said: “It’s a really interesting commission and I’m very excited about it – but it has taken a lot of planning.

“The guy that has commissioned it works in the film industry and theatre, and also runs a charity which takes pieces of art to venues like schools, museums and even prisons. Once I’ve completed the painting it will be touring venues in Los Angeles and New York. It’s a fairly large piece – around 7ft so I need quite a good number of people to pose as the audience.”

"I've bought all the costumes for the Lost Boys and Peter Pan on stage, and I've even made a cannon for the pirates galleon, but now I need my audience."

Will is hoping to find around 30 or more volunteers who would be happy to dress up and act as the audience for the shot at Bournemouth Pavilion on Friday afternoon. He will need to move participants around the theatre to fill each section of seating before taking photos.

Peter Pan, by JM Barrie, opened at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London on 27th December 1904. Audience members included a group of children from a nearby orphanage who were invited to sit along the front row.

Will said “Ideally I would love people to dress in turn-of-the-century clothing but smart suits and dresses work – they just need to imagine they were going to the theatre 100 years ago.”

Will has been painting full-time since 2010 and has sold his work to clients in Saudi Arabia, the US, India, Switzerland, France and across the UK. Many of his images feature classic cars, dance halls, paparazzi and black-and-white copies of the A&T.

He said: “My paintings are snapshots of moments in time, often idealised and always entirely staged using my friends and volunteers as models.

As I’m shooting this on a Friday afternoon lots of my usual helpers are at work so I’m really hoping I can recruit enough people to come along and help out for a couple of hours.”

“I see myself as the director, shaping my chosen scene until I am happy and then using this as a groundwork to start painting.”

Those available to help Will should email willrochfort@gmail.com. For more information on Will’s work visit williamroch-fort.com or follow him on Instagram @willrochfortart

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