London’s Regent’s Park is home to a beautiful outdoor theatre situated in the famous inner circle, just a short stroll from the Baker Street and Great Portland Street Underground stations. You fancy taking in a play while catching the last of the day’s sun, so what better than a trip to an outdoor theatre?
Located in an oasis of calm away from the hustle of the nearby West End in Queen Mary’s Gardens, the incredible Regent’s Park Open-Air Theatre is surrounded by parkland. Established in 1932 by Sydney Carroll and Robert Atkins, this stunning arena was initially built to host Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and was one of only two theatres that remained open during World War II. Despite such scenic surroundings, you are still at the mercy of the temperamental British weather. The Met Office is contacted prior to a performance to determine the immediate forecast, offering as much notice as possible of an impending downpour. However, you are advised to pack an umbrella, just in case. Of course, in the summer, it is much less likely to rain, and you’re feeling confident the good weather will hold out. You check what is on and find to your delight it’s J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
You arrive in plenty of time and take a moment to absorb the calm atmosphere before you sit down. As the performance begins, you start to feel at one with nature, the birdsong, the wind rustling through the trees, and the smell of freshly-cut grass add to the exhilaration you feel. You’re blown away by the kaleidoscope of colour on display in this no-expense-spared production, but the setting is no longer a few miles away in a Kensington nursery. You’re now immersed in the battle trenches of the Somme during World War I.
Before long, the magnificent outdoor theatre comes to life, as khaki-clad soldiers fasten and unfasten Peter Pan as he whizzes through the air on a barely-disguised wire. As you watch the story unfold, you’re drawn deeper and deeper into the wild adventure and taken on a fun-filled romp through the reworked tale of the boy who wouldn’t grow up—a truly spellbinding event.