A day away with the fairies

Neverland comes to Kensington Gardens in London to mark the centenary of Peter Pan

JM Barrie, the creator of
Peter Pan, lived on the edge of Kensington Gardens, and it was while walking his dog in the park that he got the idea for his story about a boy who refuses to grow up. It was also where he met the Llewelyn-Davies boys, who were the inspiration for the Darling family.

JM Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, lived on the edge of Kensington Gardens, and it was while walking his dog in the park that he got the idea for his story about a boy who refuses to grow up. It was also where he met the Llewelyn-Davies boys, who were the inspiration for the Darling family.

It's fitting therefore that to celebrate 100 years of Peter Pan - the first performance of the play was in 1904 at the Duke of York's Theatre, London - Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, which was bequeathed the copyright to Barrie's classic fairy tale in 1929, will transform Kensington Gardens into Neverland. The charity aims to raise £30,000 towards the Tinker Bell Play Area in the hospital's new Medical Daycare Centre.

"We have never before organised an event on this grand scale," says Jessica Brandon, the main organiser of the event. "We are creating so many different areas in the park to bring Peter Pan to life that it has taken us all year to organise. You can't just pick up the phone and order a tepee," she explains. "We have hired 70 actors and over 100 volunteers will be re-enacting scenes from Peter Pan all around the park."

As well as a picnic, a map will lead treasure seekers to the Fairies Winter Palace, where Tinker Bell will dance with her fairy friends. "The trees have been decorated with 240 hanging mirrors, 200 feathers, many butterflies, wind chimes and colourful materials. There are also 35 log seats where you can sit in a fairy circle with giant Triffid-type flowers," Brandon says. The Pirates Camp, on the edge of the Round Pond, will be filled with treasure chests and pirate dancers, who will teach children sword-fighting with play swords. At Tiger Lily's settlement, there will be Native American dancing around totem poles.

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the dandy star of Changing Rooms, will appear dressed as Captain Hook and has designed his own interpretation of Hook's galleon, The Jolly Roger. "My passion for Peter Pan is, I fear, erring on obsession," he maintains. "In designing Captain Hook's galleon I have tried to stay broadly faithful to the Edwardian feel of the tale."

The Darling family in period costume will be having a picnic to the strains of an old-fashioned brass band, as real-life nannies - volunteers from Chiltern College in Reading - promenade with their prams along the Nannies Walk wearing traditional uniform.

The last stop is the underground home of the Lost Boys, a series of tunnels, created out of piping covered with tarpaulin and camouflage netting, that boys and girls can crawl through. The Lost Boys' den is made from oversized umbrellas draped with netting.

"Throughout the day, roaming actors and volunteers will pose as characters," says Brandon. "And if you look carefully you may even see Peter Pan pop out from behind a tree."

Peter Pan: Kensington Gardens, London SW7 (Tickets 020-7916 5678; £10, or £35 for a group of four people), 17 July, 11am to 5pm

Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood

'Whether he left is almost immaterial'TV
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before