You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Peter Darling: Prime moppet mover on stage

Youth Impact Report 2012: Stage Lights

Peter Darling never thought he’d get tagged as the go-to stage choreographer for kids. But that’s how it’s turned out, now that his Tony- and Olivier-winning work in “Billy Elliot” has been followed up with “Matilda the Musical.”

The tuner version of Roald Dahl’s story about a precocious young girl opened to raves in London last year and will get a Broadway transfer in the spring. As choreographer, Darling oversees three teams of nine youngsters each, plus four actresses who share the title role, all between the ages of 8 and 12. (Exact casting specifications for the U.S. incarnation are still being hammered out.)

“I think of them as small adults, really,” Darling says of his young collaborators. “They find any kind of lyrical movement difficult, but they’re exceedingly good at very fast movement and they’re fantastic at learning very quickly.”

Darling comes into rehearsal with a lot of the kids’ dance moves already set. And that’s because he’s found strong boundaries are important in helping young performers feel secure.

Even after “Matilda,” working with kids will continue to be a habit for him: Next up is the West End premiere of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” another story that features a central crew of kiddie characters.

“Sometimes people go, ‘Gosh, how do you bear it?’?” he says. “But they bring out good qualities in me.”

Impact: Darling choregraphs moppets in “Matilda the Musical,” the London tuner getting a Broadway transfer in the spring.
Next: After “Matilda” in New York, the London world preem of the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” stage musical
Cause: Terence Higgins Trust and Crisis, a U.K. homeless charity

Return to the Youth Impact Report 2012 >>

More Voices

  • profiles theatre Sexual Harassment

    Sexual Harassment in the Theater: How Chicago Fought Back

    Peter Darling never thought he’d get tagged as the go-to stage choreographer for kids. But that’s how it’s turned out, now that his Tony- and Olivier-winning work in “Billy Elliot” has been followed up with “Matilda the Musical.” The tuner version of Roald Dahl’s story about a precocious young girl opened to raves in London […]

  • TV Television problems Expenses Placeholder

    Netflix Has Secret Weapon in Hollywood's Multibillion-Dollar Arms Race

    Peter Darling never thought he’d get tagged as the go-to stage choreographer for kids. But that’s how it’s turned out, now that his Tony- and Olivier-winning work in “Billy Elliot” has been followed up with “Matilda the Musical.” The tuner version of Roald Dahl’s story about a precocious young girl opened to raves in London […]

  • sweeney Todd Barrow Street Theatre

    Commercial Off Broadway Isn't Dead -- It's Turning Into Broadway

    Peter Darling never thought he’d get tagged as the go-to stage choreographer for kids. But that’s how it’s turned out, now that his Tony- and Olivier-winning work in “Billy Elliot” has been followed up with “Matilda the Musical.” The tuner version of Roald Dahl’s story about a precocious young girl opened to raves in London […]

  • Edie Windsor Appreciation

    GLAAD President Reflects on Edie Windsor's Impact on LGBTQ Community

    Peter Darling never thought he’d get tagged as the go-to stage choreographer for kids. But that’s how it’s turned out, now that his Tony- and Olivier-winning work in “Billy Elliot” has been followed up with “Matilda the Musical.” The tuner version of Roald Dahl’s story about a precocious young girl opened to raves in London […]

  • Game of Thrones

    Networks' Streaming Apps Make Minimal Revenue Impact (For Now)

    Peter Darling never thought he’d get tagged as the go-to stage choreographer for kids. But that’s how it’s turned out, now that his Tony- and Olivier-winning work in “Billy Elliot” has been followed up with “Matilda the Musical.” The tuner version of Roald Dahl’s story about a precocious young girl opened to raves in London […]

  • Avatar

    3D Shows Enduring Value, Delivering Entertainment Not Found at Home (Guest Column)

    Peter Darling never thought he’d get tagged as the go-to stage choreographer for kids. But that’s how it’s turned out, now that his Tony- and Olivier-winning work in “Billy Elliot” has been followed up with “Matilda the Musical.” The tuner version of Roald Dahl’s story about a precocious young girl opened to raves in London […]

  • Spotify hand changing free to fee

    Why Spotify Should Ditch Its Free Tier, Add Streaming Fees

    Peter Darling never thought he’d get tagged as the go-to stage choreographer for kids. But that’s how it’s turned out, now that his Tony- and Olivier-winning work in “Billy Elliot” has been followed up with “Matilda the Musical.” The tuner version of Roald Dahl’s story about a precocious young girl opened to raves in London […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content