A Peachy Production of a Roald Dahl Classic

A Peachy Production of a Roald Dahl Classic
Westmark Staff

Teamwork is the central theme of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach—and it was the key to success for Westmark’s recent stage adaptation of the classic children’s novel. 

For the two-night engagement, the Middle School theater artists worked together to mount a gorgeously heartwarming production. Performing on a "thrust" stage in Lund Auditorium—that is, a stage that extends into the audience—the actors brought the story to life amidst the crowd. Custom-designed puppets, creative props, and dramatic lighting added even greater dimension to the scenes.

The Middle Schoolers were supported by Upper School theater tech students, faculty and staff, and a crew of designers, builders, hair and makeup artists, production assistants … and Westmark parents of course! Leading the way was the play’s director and Westmark Theater Arts teacher, Margot Fitzsimmons. Ms. Fitz remarked, “James and the Giant Peach is not merely a story: it’s a celebration of courage, collaboration, friendship, and the triumph of the human spirit. It reminds us that even in the face of life’s unpredictability, a sense of belonging can be found. It’s like Westmark in that way!” 

Trace the theatrical adventure, both on stage and behind the scenes, in this slideshow. And check out what's coming up in this year's Theater Arts season

Crew members operate shadow-puppet rhinoceroses backstage during a staging for James and the Giant Peach.

Backstage, Upper School tech crew members operate shadow-puppet rhinoceroses that escape from the zoo and leave James Henry Trotter in need of a new family.

Two actors onstage in costume during the play James and the Giant Peach.

One of the play's Grand Storytellers narrates how James falls into the care of two cruel aunts, Spiker and Sponge, portrayed by two large-scale puppets.

Green spotlights surround two actors onstage during the play James and the Giant Peach.

Seeking to flee a miserable life, James accepts a bag of magical green worms from a mystery man, who promises they'll change her life for the better.

A group of actors in costume surrounded by wooden scenery during the play James and the Giant Peach.

But when the magical worms burrow into the earth, a peach on a nearby tree grows giant. James eventually crawls inside and meets a group of insects.

A group of actors on stage, in costume surrounded by wooden scenery.

Trapped inside the peach are (L–R) Glow Worm, Old Green Grasshopper, Centipede, James, Ladybird, Spider, and Earthworm.

Two actors look at another actor while onstage during a play.

When the peach is cut loose, its occupants embark on a journey together and team up using their unique strengths. Glow Worm can illuminate the fruit's interior!

Stagehands hold up a large prop of a fish during the play James and the Giant Peach.

Three Middle Schoolers puppeteer a ravenous shark, which endangers the peach once it reaches the sea. But James and the insects soon take flight!

A stagehand holds a prop while standing next to an actor during the play James and the Giant Peach.

A second Grand Storyteller explains that a ship's crew has spotted the peach up in the air, hoisted by seagulls using threads spun by Spider.

Three actors in sailor costumes onstage during the play James and the Giant Peach.

The ship's Captain and first and second officers can't believe their eyes: a giant peach aloft in the sky!

Stagehands with hats that look like clouds appear onstage during the play James and the Giant Peach.

Cloud-Men pose new challenges for the peach, throwing hail at the flying fruit. But James and the insects ultimately prevail by way of courage and collaboration.

Three crew members with headsets sit at a table behind the scenes during a play.

Teamwork is a central theme of the story ... and the basis for the play's success! Behind the scenes, the Middle School Tech Crew supported the actors on stage.

Cast and crew of the play James and the Giant Peace pose together in front of the camera.

Congratulations to cast and crew!