London Kensington Gardens and 02 and US Tour
In November 2008 Ben was invited to join Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens as
Director. The project, conceived by the producers Mat Churchill and Charlie
Burnell, was created in a purpose-built £1m tent, which seats up to 1300 people
in the round. The scenic design, created by Bill Dudley, is projected on the
inner surfaces of the tent in 360 degrees, a world first in integrating CGI and
theatre on this scale. Ben brought in the creatives Tanya Ronder (text) Sue
Buckmaster (puppetry) and Fleur Darkin (choreography) to shape the production
that was designed to be as true as possible to Barrie’s heartbreaking vision of
the boy who would not grow up. By staging the production in Kensington Gardens,
the site of Peter’s original adventures, and where Barrie first met the Llwellyn
Davies boys who inspired the story, we brought the piece alive in its original
Ben developed the piece over three weeks of script and aerial workshop in
January and six weeks of rehearsal and technical rehearsal in April/May.
An outstanding cast led by Jonathan Hyde as Hook/Mr. Darling, Ciaran Kellgren as
Peter, Abby Ford as Wendy and Itxaso Moreno as Tinkerbell ensured the success of
the production which married the large scale spectacle of circus arts, CGI and
epic music, with the more intimate elements of storytelling and Poor Theatre
Ben’s first venture into commercial theatre was the second-highest grossing show
of the London summer theatre season and played to over 150,000 people.
It is transferring to the Meridian Gardens at the O2 for a limited six-week
season prior to a 20 month US tour in 2010. A second production is due to tour
New Zealand and the Far East in 2011.