By Francesca Fenn, May 27 2015 07:42AM
By Margie Skinner
Last Wednesday I went with my daughter to see Peter Pan at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. I hadn’t been to this theatre for years and it was nice to be back in such a magical place, to see a magical play!
Although the day had been chilly a cheerful evening sun tickled us with warmth as we left Baker street tube and walked past (in my opinion) a rather tacky looking Madame Tussauds towards Regent’s Park. It really was a beautiful evening as we entered the park’s Inner circle and we strolled companionably, marvelling at how London can change from chaotic to peaceful in just a 5 minute walk.
On arrival at the theatre we partook of a delicious Regents park burger meal and I had my first Pimms of the summer, whilst sitting in the sun people-watching, and anticipating the evening ahead.
This theatre was founded in 1932, by Sydney Carroll and Robert Atkins, initially as a temporary structure for the showing of a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. It was such a success that the following year a full season of theatre was launched, and the life of Britain’s oldest professional permanent outdoor theatre had begun. Now a registered charity, the theatre attracts over 140,000 people for each year’s 16 week season. There is just something enchanting about being around a stage in the middle of the park, completely uncovered (save for the tiered auditorium with its very long theatre bar).
This production sets the story in a WWI Field hospital, which cleverly morphs into the Darling’s nursery as the military nurse becomes Wendy. As Neverland transforms into no man’s land there are clever parallels between Peter Pan and The Lost Boys, and those men, and many boys who were lost in the Great War.
Peter Pan, and indeed his creator J M Barrie are fascinating characters. In our book 'STEP OUTSIDE Kensington Gardens and Beyond' we visit Peter's statue in another of London’s wonderful green spaces. So if you are thinking of visiting open air theatre in London this year then I would recommend this production, and if you precede it with a visit to Kensington with our book, then you could have an absolutely Peter Pan-tastic day!!