From sneak previews of the newly restored Moat Brae House to a CrocRock! Carnival, Dumfries is gearing up for a 10-day celebration of its JM Barrie heritage and of young people’s storytelling.

The Dreams for the Future Festival, from 24 November to 2 December, celebrates Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 and will feature events and activities for all ages involving storytelling, music, theatre and more.

It is a “thank you” to Dumfries and Galloway for its support in the restoration of Moat Brae House – where Peter Pan began – before it opens to the public next spring as Scotland’s National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling.

Dreams for the Future offers a foretaste of the opportunities it hopes to provide for the region’s young people in years to come.

Festival highlights will include Mutiny! (1 December) when members of the JMB Creatives (Moat Brae’s group for under 26s) plan to grab Captain Hook’s jealously guarded keys and give members of the public a sneak look inside the house.

There will also be the CrocRock! Carnivalin the town centre ahead of the annual Dumfries Christmas lights switch-on and an evening of theatre called Staged, the Take Flight Lecture.

Simon Davidson, Moat Brae’s Centre Director, said:“The people of Dumfries and Galloway have been fantastic in supporting our long campaign to save Moat Brae and give it a new future at the heart of the community.

“We, and the JMB Creatives, want Dreams for the Future to be a celebration of young people’s storytelling, of Dumfries, of Moat Brae House and our links to Peter Pan and JM Barrie. It’s great that we can do all this during Scotland’s Year of Young People and to give people an idea of everything that Moat Brae has to offer when it opens to the public in 2019 as the new Scottish National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling.”

Moat Brae was saved from demolition nearly 10 years ago. Its transformation is intended to help with the regeneration of the town by creating jobs and attracting visitors from all across the UK and beyond.

It also aims to inspire children and young adults, providing them with creative opportunities of all kinds. One of the attractions of Dreams for the Future will be the chance to meet and join a creative writing workshop led by leading children’s author Cathy Cassidy.

The Moat Brae team is working closely with a series of partners including Dumfries Academy to organise Dreams for the Futureevents. The CrocRock! Carnival, themed round the crocodile that was Captain Hook’s arch enemy in Peter Pan, and lights switch on (2 December) is being organised jointly with Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Vice Chair of Nithsdale Area Committee, Provost Tracey Little, said: “We are delighted at the partnership between Moat Brae and Dumfries & Galloway Council at this year’s Christmas Lights switch-on. This year’s event will include some spectacular performances in the lead up to the lights being switched and there will be lots to do for all the family.”

Dreams for the Futureis supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund, managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Dreams for the Future as part of the Year of Young People celebrations. The JMB Creatives are playing a central role in designing and delivering these brilliant events providing a sneak preview of the magical world of Moat Brae – it is fantastic to see young people directly contributing to Scotland’s position as the perfect stage for events in this special year.”

  • To book for any of the Dreams for the Future events online go to you can pop into the Midesteeple Box Office, and for further information see the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust website at

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Notes for Editors

About PPMBT 

  • The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust (PPMBT) is creating a visitor attraction, at Moat Brae House in Dumfries, which is expected to host 45,000 visits a year contributing £1.3 million to the local economy.
  • Children from across the region, and far beyond, will have a wonderful place to visit and play, and enjoy a year-round programme of creative events and activities.
  • The centre will open in spring 2019 and will be a place to discover children’s literature and storytelling across many eras, countries and cultures. The grounds will be reinvented as a Neverland Discovery Garden.
  • J M Barrie played at Moat Brae when he was a pupil at the nearby Dumfries Academy in the 1870s and later described his time in Dumfries as ‘the happiest days of his life’ and the garden as “enchanted land to me – the genesis of that nefarious work – Peter Pan”.

PPMBT will create: 

  • Exhibitions telling the story of Moat Brae and its links with J M Barrie 
  • A specialist education and learning suite 
  • Rooms where visitors can develop their creative potential through interactive activities
  • A café and shop. 

The Neverland Discovery Garden will have Peter Pan and Neverland-themed interactive features including: 

  • A pirate ship 
  • Mermaid’s Lagoon 
  • Performance space 

… and much more.

  • Moat Brae is expected to (directly) create more than a dozen new jobs while another 19 FTE jobs could be created indirectly as a result of the extra spending by visitors.
  • Major contributors to the project include Dumfries and Galloway Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, the Robertson Trust, the Wm. Grant Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Foyle Foundation, the Binks Trust and many other private trusts and individuals.

About J M Barrie and the Trust 

  • Author and playwright J M Barrie lived in Dumfries from the age of 13 to 17, and played in the garden at Moat Brae. His first work of fiction was a “log book” recording the games of pirates and adventure that he played there under the name of “Sixteen String Jack”. He attended the nearby Dumfries Academy and enjoyed his first experiences in staged productions at Dumfries Theatre Royal.
  • J M Barrie returned to the town and on being awarded the Freedom of Dumfries, he described his childhood there as “the happiest days” of his life.
  • The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust was set up in 2009 to save Moat Brae House and garden from demolition and to celebrate its international literary connection as ‘The Birthplace of Peter Pan’. * For more information log onto the Trust website * Follow on Facebook and twitter@ppmbt
  • For more information please contact Cathy Agnew 01387 255549 / 07796 176124 or Catherine Colwell 01387 255 549/07793 488 439.

About EventScotland 

EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit Follow EventScotland on Twitter @EventScotNews.

EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland. For more information about VisitScotland see www.visitscotland.orgor for consumer information on Scotland as a visitor destination see

About Year of Young People 2018

  • A global first, YoYP 2018 is a part of the Scottish Government’s themed-year programme which focuses on celebrating Scotland’s greatest assets.
  • A year-long programme of events and festivals are taking place across the whole of the country for all ages to enjoy, led by EventScotland part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. More information at
  • Dreams for the Future is supported by the Year of Young People 2018 Event Fund, managed by EventScotland, part of the VisitScotland Events Directorate. EventScotland is working with the events and festivals sector to develop an exciting portfolio of Year of Young People 2018 public-facing events which provide opportunities for young people to express themselves through a wide range of activity.
  • Local authorities, schools, youth groups and organisations are running their own YoYP 2018 activity. Search #YOYP2018 on Twitter for the latest news.
  • Young people co-designed the Year. A group of young leaders, Communic18, lead on all key decision making. More than 380 Ambassadors are championing activity.
  • The Year is delivered in partnership between the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and EventScotland – part of the VisitScotland Events Directorate, Young Scot, Scottish Youth Parliament, Children in Scotland, YouthLink Scotland and Creative Scotland.
  • More information can be found at, searching @YOYP2018 #YOYP2018 on Twitter or by emailing [email protected].

About Creative Scotland 

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit Follow us @creativescots and

About the Heritage Lottery Fund 

Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.