This paper explores the evolution of J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan over the past 110 years, and how each manifestation represents the historical and social context of the period for which it was created. After discussing Barrie's biography and how his life impacted his creative choices, this paper considers three time periods in the story's evolution: the first decade, 1904-1914, when the story was originally developed on stage and in print; 1914-1954, when the story changed as it was portrayed on screen and in new interpretations on stage; and 1954-2014, when the story has seen the most change, with an opening in the copyright, allowing for a musical, new films, new literature and Disney franchises. Through analysis of the three primary media through which Peter Pan has been depicted—the stage, the page, and the screen—and the performers and companies that developed each project, one is able to gain insight into the audience for whom the production was created. Over the past 110 years, the story has changed from Barrie's original concept and texts, both in media and in tone. Each manifestation of the story retains elements of the original, but also incorporates the current interests and context of the society in which it is presented, and so the story never grows old.


Schilling, Hayden




Cultural History | Literature in English, British Isles | Other Film and Media Studies | Other History | Social History | Theatre History


Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, theatre history, film, literature

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Rebecca F. Roper