A day away with the fairies
Neverland comes to Kensington Gardens in London to mark the centenary of Peter Pan
Thursday 08 July 2004
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
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Technology company Alibaba posts job advert asking for 'stunning' women with qualities of adult film actress Sora Aoi
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
- 4 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner as Jubilee and Jean Grey
American Horror Story season 5: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga
Jorge Luis Borges fan brings his infinite library to life online
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils