PREPARE to be transported to a magical land this Christmas — far, far away.

The Octagon Theatre is staging a festive production of Peter Pan which promises to delight both children and adults.

Join Wendy Darling and her brothers as they explore a world of adventure in Neverland, complete with mermaids, fairies, crocodiles and swashbuckling pirates.

Former Emmerdale actor Christopher Villiers, who plays Captain Hook, said: “It’s Peter Pan but it’s not a panto, it’s a Christmas play.

What we are doing is something far more magical.

“We are asking the audience to come on a journey with John, Wendy and Michael to Neverland and have as big an adventure there as all us.”

Physically, the 52-year-old said it is the most ambitious piece of theatre he has ever done — although he runs marathons with former Emmerdale co-stars Chris Chittell, who plays Eric Pollard, and Tony Audenshaw, who plays Bob Hope.

The actor, who played Grayson Sinclair in Emmerdale from 2006 to 2008, said: “I’m sword fighting, trying to hurt these children, running from a crocodile. I’m the oldest member of the cast by 20 years and I’m throwing myself around the stage like a loony.”

Octagon associate director Elizabeth Newman, director of Peter Pan, said: “I’m pleased we are continuing the Octagon tradition of having a young company of actors performing in the festive show. And we’re having even more this year — a total of 18 local young people (two teams of nine appearing on alternate days) will be performing as Neverland children, mermaids and Wendy’s brothers Michael and John.”

Mr Villiers appeared at the Octagon Theatre for the first time earlier this year, in The Winslow Boy.

Peter Pan is at the Octagon until January 12. Tickets cost £9.50 to £22 with family tickets (minimum two children) available from £48.

■ Read our review of Peter Pan in Monday’s edition of The Bolton News.