Joanna Lumley visited Moat Brae in Dumfries to see the restoration work on the house where Peter Pan began and attend the launch of the Dreams for the Future Festival.

The actor and author is Patron of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust (PPMBT) and has helped raise £5.8 million to restore the beautiful Georgian house and garden which opens next spring as the new National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling.

Dreams for the Futureis a pre-opening festival giving a foretaste of what Moat Brae will offer and is part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018. It features a series of events from 24 November to 2 December.

During her visit Joanna met young people including some who are helping organise the festival and who are members of Moat Brae’s young people’s group, the JMB Creatives. She became the first person to use the brightly coloured Storytelling Chair, and read Peter Panto the young people.

Moat Brae is where the teenage JM Barrie and his friends played the games that inspired Peter Panand his ideas for Neverland.

On Saturday night Joanna was due to be guest of honour at a festival event called Staged– an evening of drama, music and dance at Dumfries Academy, where JM Barrie went to school from 1873-8.

Joanna said:“It’s wonderful to see the way Moat Brae is being brought back to life and given a new future that will make it a place of fun and inspiration to generations of children and young people. And it’s really exciting for me to be able to see the impact Moat Brae is having, even before it opens, by creating this festival where young people are able to develop and use their talents.”

Dame Barbara Kelly, Moat Brae’s PPMBT Chairman, said:“The house is an important part of our cultural and literary history and our dream of turning it into the new National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling is on the verge of coming true.

“We are delighted to have Joanna here to see all that’s been achieved and to have her as a guest of honour at the festival launch. Dreams for the Futureoffers a glimpse of our plans for the years ahead and the way we want children and young people to be at the heart of everything we do.”

Staged included:

  • Barrie’s Legacya play by the Dumfries Academy drama club that was set up by Barrie and his friends.
  • Another short play called The Reunionby 16-26 year olds with additional needs (who are part of the Dumfries Arts Awards Programme).
  • The first fully staged production since the 1870s of Barrie’s first play, Bandelero the Bandit, which was presented by The Theatre Royal Junior Guild of Players.
  • The world premier of music by young composer Patrick Dupuy called Peter Pan Moat Brae performed by Dumfries and Galloway Schools Ensemble with a dance performance by Dumfries School of Dance.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said:“We are delighted to be supporting Dreams for the Futureas part of the celebrations for Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018. It is great to see young people already playing such a central role in the pre-opening events at the future National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling, Moat Brae is set to be a fantastic new international visitor attraction for Dumfries and Galloway, and indeed Scotland.”

Dreams for the Futuretakes place from 24 November to 2 December (see attached document for further details) and is supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund, managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

  • 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

Picture by Colin Hattersley

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Notes for Editors

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