Friends of Regent's Park Newsletter 91

Chairman’s round-up

We are all looking forward to the start of the new Royal Parks: this is to be a charity, taking over roles from both the Royal Parks Agency and the fundraising Royal Parks Foundation. It is still forming its board of trustees, and is about to launch.

Just before Christmas, TfL announced that the Cycle Superhighway CS11 would go ahead from Swiss Cottage, but that they were delaying for six months the decision about whether to close four of the park gates for most of the day (except between 11am and 3pm). So if you have strong views or indeed alternative suggestions of how to ensure safe cycling on the Outer Circle, feel free to let me know- ideally by email.

We continue to try to reduce the damage that the high speed rail (HS2) works will cause if it occupies part of the Zoo car park. Thames Water is already aiming to use it for work relaying the water main, and has cut down 8 small trees in preparation, but HS2 will take over for some 16 years unless another Lorry Holding Area can be agreed.

This newsletter as ever covers a great range of activity in the park, as well as historical pieces. We are sad to record the deaths of two key figures Jennifer Jenkins, in the development of the Royal Parks, and Richard de Ste Croix, an early Chairman of the Friends.

Ianthe McWilliams, Chairman

Congratulations to Stephen Crisp, our vice chair, and head gardner at Winfield House. He has been made Associate of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society. This is only awarded to those who have rendered distinguished service to the practice of horticulture during the course of their working career. The number of Associates of Honour may not exceed one hundred at any one time. We are lucky to have him working with the Friends

The waterfall Queen Maryís Garden

Primrose Hill café

The provision of a permanent café to replace the van which sometimes appears near the Primrose Hill playground will be welcomed by many. Remembering to take drinks and snacks to the playground was always necessary in the past and fortunes used to be spent on ice creams purchased through the hedge from the Mr Whippy van man. Permission for the new facility is proceeding through the planning process. The café is to be incorporated in the existing lavatory block with outside seating areas on either side overlooking the playground and the ‘adult gym’ respectively. It is not clear to me from the drawings how well the café will be seen from pathway. The main clientele seems likely to be those using the playground and the gym. It is to be hoped that the café attracts at least a fraction of the multitudes visiting the top of the hill as well, including those arriving by coaches on Prince Albert Road. It would be wonderful if construction could take place in time for this summer.

The original scheme can be seen at catering-kiosk. The revision is the introduction of a half hipped roof to the extended roof section, reducing the glazed area at the gable ends so that the building retains more of its original outline and appearance when viewed from the outside.

A reminder to members: one of your many benefits is a discount at the cafes in the park - please suggest that any acquaintances and neighbours not yet lucky enough to be a Friend to join without delay!

Alison Kemp, committee member

Cartoon of the gymnasium in Primrose Hill by William Taylor entitled Professor Voelkickups school for the instruction of Gentlemen of all ages 1825

Remembering Jennifer Jenkins & Richard de Ste Croix

Dame Jennifer Jenkins

Regent’s Park and the rest of the royal parks owe a great debt to Dame Jennifer Jenkins, who died at the beginning of February at the age of 96. Her achievements in public life were many, for example, working with Michael Young to set up the Consumers’ Association, chairing the Historic Buildings Council for England and then chairing the National Trust. Then in 1991 she accepted the Conservative Government’s suggestion to lead a review of the royal parks, in particular Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. At the time, there were pressures for development including an indoor riding school for civil servants and the parks, except for their brilliant flower beds, were in many respects dishevelled and unloved.

Independent as ever (and she was a Labour supporter, while her husband Roy became a Liberal Democrat), Jenkins turned down at least some of the names suggested for the reappraisal and included Dame Elizabeth Chesterton, a well know architect and town planner, John Drummond, then in charge of the promenade concerts and Terry Farrell (since knighted), an architect known for his prominent buildings but also his concern about the ways cities, especially London, work.

One day I received a letter from Sir George Young, then Environment minister, asking me whether I would be interested to become a member of the review group and also take on the paid role of writing its report. I contacted the relevant civil servant and remained in this dual role for about five years. Our first report on the two parks led to consideration in due course of all the London royal parks, which are still in the Queen’s ownership as right of Crown but devolved by Act of Parliament to government for management.

Jennifer held our meetings in the Old Police House in Hyde Park over a light lunch which enabled busy prominent people to participate without losing too much of the working day. Very quickly it was decided we should visit New York, Paris and Germany to see what we could learn. In Central Park, for example, we found out that local people and businesses were donating substantial contributions to maintenance and taking on the responsibility of caring for particular areas. Also volunteers were well and enjoyably organised, for example, in clearing leaves in the fall/autumn.

Back in London, Jennifer and the group worked up a list of areas to investigate within the parks and each member took on one subject area on which to report and make recommendations. In this way, we only relied on the civil servant clerk to the committee for background documents, for example, on the law and current pressures. John Drummond, for example, produced a policy framework for events. Susan Ware, another architect member, assessed the condition and potential of lodges, many of which were unoccupied. I examined signage, appalling at that time, and the potential for interpretation. After discussion of the individual submissions, I would draw up a draft text for the main report including detailed recommendations.

After Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, we moved on to St. James’s, Green and Regent’s Parks, then Greenwich, Richmond and Bushy. Our recommendations over time included the immediate creation of the Royal Parks as an agency, the need to employ skills other than specialists in horticulture, a framework for events, modern well kept signage, modernised and occupied lodges, the removal of traffic from the road in front of Buckingham Palace, the creation of a world heritage site at Greenwich. Special points in Regent’s Park included the replacement of the outdated Bernhard Baron sports pavilion, the introduction of pay and display parking to discourage commuters, who were then using the park for access to work in central London, and permission for taxis to ply for hire in the park. We also suggested the creation of a visitor and education centre and the possible transformation of the green houses into a winter garden if the necessary sponsorship could be found. Jennifer, with her wealth of experience, always wrote the sections on management and finance.

The positive impact of the first report, was nearly lost when we suggested that dogs should be kept on leads in Kensington Gardens, though allowed to run free in Hyde Park. The furore was enormous with a photograph in the Evening Standard of massed dog owners and their precious progeny. From then on, we were ultra sensitive.

The parks had been starved of funds and were managed out of a couple of rooms in the Department of the Environment. The new agency moved into the Old Police House and for a while the Government increased the grant to about twice recent levels. Then austerity set in and the Royal Parks found it necessary to raise more and more money by staging events as well as from franchises such as contracts with catering companies. At the end of this March, the process goes even further as the agency is to become a charity and will eventually have to raise most of its resources except for government requirements.

As it was, the Royal Parks review helped raise the public prominence of parks generally and many have benefited from Heritage Lottery Fund awards, even if the latest House of Commons report has continued to shy away from the need to make parks a statutory responsibility.

Jennifer was a very special person. She had grown up with a public service background in that her father was town clerk (the equivalent of chief executive officer) at Westminster City Council. She was not interested in celebrity, but in achievement, making things happen for the better, which they did when she took part. Jennifer continued to be interested in the royal parks, its politics and progress and until just over a year ago, we would meet occasionally for lunch. I am fortunate to have known and worked with her.

Judy Hillman, Patron

Richard de Ste Croix

Longstanding Friends of Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill will be sad to hear of the death of Richard de Ste Croix, who was very involved with the early days of the Friends.

The London Business School had been commissioned to assess the feasibility of setting up a non-profit organisation for the future protection of Regent’s park. In 1991 Richard, who lived very close to the park and was a successful solicitor working for Bristows, was invited by founders Peter Catto and Ben Whitaker, to join in running the newly formed Friends of Regent’s Park. Richard soon became Chairman, and held this post until 1998.

The main reason for setting up the Friends had been opposition to the plans to privatise some of the Park services, which the park had previously managed for itself.

The early Friends had annual meetings with the Minister for the Environment, and subsequently the Secretary of State, and to start with there were pledges to maintain funding levels. Only from about 1995 did the Government funding start to creep down, and for example the apprenticeship scheme got cut (although there are now apprentices again).

One of the early campaigns was to protect the park from a request by the zoo to acquire an extra 16-20 acres. Richard as Chairman successfully resisted this, and Friends demonstrated in the park - holding hands around the area in question.

The Friends campaigned to improve park amenities: for example potholed paths were renewed, sculptures and monuments were restored -including the Ready Money Fountain (which is once more under scaffolding).

Primrose Hill was initially disregarded by the Friends and it was late in Richard’s day that it was included in the Friends’ remit, and the title was amended accordingly.

In 1998 he was succeeded as chairman by Valerie St Johnston, who had acted as secretary while Richard was chair.

Richard was widely known and will be much missed by his many friends and Friends.

Ianthe McWilliams, Chair

Re-establishing the Regent’s Park views

Everyone knows that Regent’s Park has to be the prettiest park in London, with its combination of cream coloured terraces, ornamental gardens and beautiful open green spaces. But perhaps only those who know it well and look at it carefully are aware that its picturesque splendour is no chance happening. In reality it is a gigantic stage set where everything you see has been very carefully placed; each palatial terrace, tree planting and vista arranged to create the maximum dramatic effect.

Well that, at least, was John Nash’s original vision as the master planner of this most theatrical of London’s royal parks. Predictably, in the 1820s, as construction progressed, not everything turned out as Nash would have liked it. Some builders and house owners just wouldn’t play ball with his new ideas or simply did not appreciate the effect he was trying to achieve. And in the almost two hundred years since the first work began to create the park, much else has changed, with even nature itself taking its toll on Nash’s grand plan.

If the key features of Nash’s Regent’s Park are the stunning views within its landscape, it is clear that those features have been developing some problems. Views that once showed off the carefully laid out rustic parkland from the windows of the surrounding terrace houses have become occluded. Outward vistas from the parkland to the grand palaces on its circumference have become overgrown. Instead of having planned views through the tree plantings, each acting as a window that links the architecture with the surrounding landscape, whole terraces are now vanishing behind thick belts of vegetation. The great green stage curtains at Nash’s Regency theatre have been slowly closing, shutting-off one of London’s greatest architectural and landscape set pieces from its appreciative audience.

It is not that there are too many trees – what park in the middle of any large city can have too many trees? It is just that some of the trees have been allowed to creep into those spaces where they were not designed to be and, in a park whose landscape is an entirely designed set piece, being in the wrong place can risk ruining the entire dramatic effect.

A range of slow and unplanned processes have done their work on our strategic views. Some larger forest tree species have been planted in the terrace gardens with the best of intentions, but without thinking ahead to the problems they would inevitably generate. There are many trees that have just arrived on the wind and grown unplanned in the gardens or have been planted in the parkland without too much thought for the big picture. They may look good close up, but are out of place when standing back and looking from across the park. Regent’s Park was always the archetype of big picture design, and it demands big picture thinking for its ongoing care and maintenance. So how might the spectacular green stage set that is Regent’s Park be best managed to preserve the original design impact, while maximising its appeal to all of us who love our trees?

One way might be to assess carefully what is actually happening, over time, to the park’s landscape; to take stock and then to find ways first to recreate something of its full visual impact, then to preserve it. A starting point would be to understand the original design vision and then to get an appreciation of which views in the park’s landscape might be the most important. In some cases tower blocks and glassy offices have muscled their way in to ruin views of the once glamorous stucco terraces - so these may not be easily be repaired. In other cases, it might be possible to develop landscape management plans which would find ways of slowly reopening the strategic vistas by easing the tree plantings back to where they belong.

See how the views of Cumberland Terrace have become obscured...

cumberland terrace 1831
The terrace as shown in the panorama by Richard Morris of 1831

cumberland terrace - winter
Recent winter photograph

cumberland terrace - summer
Recent summer photograph

Royal Parks’ recent tree strategy recognises and analyses the issues about the park’s important views, while the CEPC is developing its own landscape strategy, with the help of landscape expert Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, that looks at the tree plantings in the terrace gardens and seeks ways to reduce their impact on those views.

The aim of both organisations over time will be to see a reduction in tree numbers blocking strategic views while ensuring that, taken as a whole, the park gets more trees not fewer, all planted in the right places. Preliminary discussions about such a strategy have already taken place with Westminster City and Camden Councils, involving both tree and planning officers, and the Conservation Area Committees. So far these ideas have been generally well received, a reception that will encourage further planning and discussion with park stakeholders. Although no one should expect an overnight success, we might hope that those important Nash views will slowly reveal themselves back on stage; something we can all applaud.

Max Jack, Director Crown Estate Paving Commission

Not the archers’ pavilion!

archers lodge
The Archers’ Lodge near York Bridge, Hullmandel c.1840

The pavilion shown in the previous newsletter behind the archers was not created for archery – it was built for the Skaters. The archers, members of the Royal Toxophilite Society, had their own much superior pavilion, located to the left of the picture on the bank of the spur of the lake which extended under York Bridge. It was a grand structure like a baronial hall with a balcony overlooking the lake. It had cost some £4000 to build and furnish in 1834. Webster in his 1911 book on the park suggests the hall was built on old foundations dating from a farmhouse of the old Marylebone Park or an outbuilding of Marylebone Manor House

In Victorian times there were three Royal Societies with leased land in the park. The Zoo gained their triangular site at the northern end of the Broad Walk in 1826, where the noise and smell of the animals would cause least disturbance to residents n the terraces. The Toxophilites had six acres between the Inner Circle and the lake spur in 1834 and the Royal Botanic Society took over the eighteen acres of Mrs Jenkins’ nursery within the Inner Circle in 1838.

The Skaters used to conduct their sport on the main lake, but there was a disaster in 1867 when the ice broke up and several people were drowned. They then came to an agreement with the Toxphilites to lease their archery ground during the winter for fifty guineas a year and to form an ice-rink on it by flooding the area. They built their own pavilion at the west end in 1879; this is the one in the picture and it forms the basis of the tennis courts’ office and café today.

After the First World War there was a move against exclusive use of areas of the park by privileged minorities. The Toxophilites had their lease terminated in 1921 and moved away, first to the burial ground of St George’s Hanover Square located in Bayswater and then in 1967 to Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire. The old park shooting ground was laid out as tennis courts, managed by St Dunstan’s home for war-blinded officers living in St John’s Lodge. The Royal Botanical Society lost its lease in 1931 but did not survive, since it had become a social club for local residents without their own gardens who did not continue to support the Society with the prospect of having to travel beyond the park for a party or picnic. The Conservatory built by Decimus Burton for the Society’s tropical plant specimens was demolished and the park superintendent of the time persuaded the Empire Rose Growers Association to advertise their products by giving him thousands of rose trees. Queen Mary was a frequent visitor and graciously consented to allow her name to be used for the now famous Rose Garden. The Toxophilites’ hall remained in use as a store, but was bombed in WW2 and no trace remains.

Roger Cline

Big changes afoot

By the time this newsletter is published, Colin Buttery, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Parks at time of writing, will be Director of Open Spaces for the City of London. Colin has led the Parks Directorate at the Royal Parks for twelve years and so has been a major player in the transformation of the organisation from a government agency dependent on grant in aid to its new status as a selffunding public corporation with charitable purposes. As reported in the last newsletter this change is due to happen on 1 March. The Royal Parks Agency will merge with the Royal Parks Foundation and will be called the Royal Parks. Some of the income will still come from government but as a payment for services supplied under a contract, not as a grant. There should be no obvious signs of this change to the majority of park users, but the parks will have greater freedom, one example being the ability to budget across financial years which will should lead to more efficient and effective management. The new charitable public corporation will be increasingly self-sustaining - the principle is simple: we continue to do what we currently do, only better. For more information see: new-charitable-body-to-manage-the-royal-parks

Nick Biddle, Regent’s Park Manager

Police News

Introducing Rebecca England - our Dedicated Park Police Officer

rebecca england

Dedicated Park Officer (DPO), Rebecca England is the extremely dedicated new police person for Regent’s Park & Primrose Hill. Since arriving in September (after working in Hyde Park, and before that in Bexley) she has already made a big difference.

Each royal park has a DPO, whose role is to be the police eyes and ears in the park, enforcing park bye laws, including speed control and cyclist safety. She can call upon other Metropolitan Police officers when she needs them, and often works in Regent’s Park with team members based in Hyde Park. She arranged for the policing of the large numbers of people on Primrose Hill on Guy Fawkes Night and New Year’s Eve, both of which were remarkably peaceful.

Her main priorities are set by the Parks Police Panel which Rebecca has reinvigorated - inviting in security representatives from the local businesses - the Zoo, Regent’s University, the Crown Estate Paving Commission (CEPC) as well as representatives of cyclists, canal users, dog trainers and, of course, your very own Friends. This quarter’s priorities are trade vehicles, speeding, parking, and anti-social dog behaviour. But she covers the whole range of offences.

Rebecca works with experienced cycling group leaders on the Outer Circle to change behaviour among cyclists who jump red lights or who do not have lights on their bikes. Westminster council safety department provided free ‘get you home lights’ (worth £1 a set), which she has handed out to 22 cyclists caught in the park between sunset and sunrise without lights. A first offence generates a warning letter, and their details are entered on a database. If there is a second offence they would get a £50 fixed penalty fine. In addition 23 cyclists were caught jumping red lights, getting a £50 fixed penalty notice straight away.

Rebecca also enforces the car parking regulations: no one is supposed to park before 9am, but 84 people have been fined £40 for doing so - often drivers idling on the Outer Circle when early for appointments or deliveries whether in the park or outside. Trade vehicles without authority to be in the park get warning letters (even if they have bought a parking ticket). Rebecca warned 32 vehicles in a two week period, and second offences lead to a £50 fine. She also targets taxi drivers and Addison Lee drivers who park up in the Inner Circle to have their lunch, without buying a parking ticket.

Rebecca and her colleagues wear hi-vis yellow jackets when issuing parking tickets (80 in the last quarter), to help put people off offending! 52 vehicles were reported for speeding above the current 30mph limit on the Outer Circle. Rebecca targets speeding vehicles at least twice a week.

Rebecca now wears a video camera. This is turned on as she approaches any suspect; she is required to tell the person that it is on, and that it may be used in evidence. Rebecca has a mandatory duty to follow up any evidence of rough sleeping, to help identify vulnerable people who can be referred on to other services. She speaks to the park’s ground staff when she arrives each morning to check whether they have spotted anything she should investigate. An extreme example last summer was when 28 Romanians were found sleeping in the Avenue Gardens. Rebecca called in the help of a Romanian-speaking police liaison officer.

Other policing includes stopping cyclists in non-cycling areas; checking whether professional dog-walkers have their licences (a requirement since the last month); anti-social behaviour; dogs off leads in the areas they are not supposed to be (e.g. Queen Mary’s Gardens). She checks up on personal trainers who also need a licence to operate in the park. She is even hunting a mystery bird feeder, who dumps huge piles of curried rice by the lake in the early mornings - which is not good for the birds! Feeding the birds can affect their habits - some herons have stopped migrating because they are being fed too much here, and the resultant interbreeding is leading to deformities.

Rebecca held a coffee morning for 120 people in the café by the rose garden, and is trying to get to know as many people as she can. The more people recognise her, the more people are likely to tell her about things that may cause them concern.

She works with the Hub at weekends, talking to team managers, trying to educate them to prevent thefts of kit or other things left around by sports players. She is also trying to educate people not to leave litter: the fine is £60 for littering.

Rebecca works long shifts either 7-4pm or 2-11pm: normally she does four days of afternoon shifts, three days off and then a block of early shifts. For early shifts her day starts at home in Kent at 4.30am to go by train to Victoria. She must visit her base in Hyde Park (a 20 minute walk, or bus) for a daily briefing on priorities and any overnight crimes. Then the 274 bus or a bike ride to Primrose Hill to check on personal trainers, or perhaps a road safety initiative; 90% of her day is then on foot or bike ‘generally being nosy’ She checks behind bushes, talks to people and observes. When she writes reports, (longhand - often 20 minutes’ worth for a five minute encounter) she will normally do that outside a cafe, so she can still be seen and be observing. It seems the Met needs some updating technologically. She has a radio, but is expecting a mobile phone soon.

She returns via Hyde Park to submit her paperwork to her sergeant. Sometimes she has even slept at Hyde Park (no beds provided). But if there are no arrests or unusual things to follow up, after a late shift she gets home about 1am.

Any 999 or 101 calls will normally be handled by the royal parks pool of officers (eight teams of five to cover all the royal parks).

Ianthe McWilliams, Chair

In the Gardens

Gloucester Gate Playground Refurbishment Project

Work to transform the playgrounds from their 20th century “bits of kit in safer surfaces” format into places that inspire play in its many forms has been focussed on Gloucester Gate Playground for some time. After a period of consultation with users and reviewing possible design approaches, an outline scheme has been arrived at which meets the brief catering for a wide range of ages and abilities. There is still much work to do but plans are shaping up well -look out for updates in the next newsletter.

Hanover bridges

The blue bridges which cross from either side of the mainland onto Hanover Island in the north west arm of the lake near the mosque are due for renovation. Work is scheduled to start in early March and to be completed before the end of the month. This will of course mean significant diversions for pedestrian users of that route. Advanced warning notices and maps will show alternative options. Every effort will be made to minimise the time during which the bridges are out of action.

The Tennis Centre

Resurfacing of the courts will be completed by early April. A planning application has been made to Westminster City Council to refurbish and reopen the disused toilet block as a public convenience with shower and changing facilities. Internal works to the pavilion are also proposed. Do not forget that Friends have a discounted rate of 20% at Will to Win, the tennis pavilion, for off-peak court bookings and snacks.

A new borehole

Work began in early February to drill a second borehole in Regent’s Park. The ground water will be used for irrigation and to provide much needed fresh water to the southern arm of the lake which will significantly improve water quality there.

Nick Biddle, Regentís Park Manager

Planting on Primrose Hill

The theme of the three British native plantations which proved successful on the north-east flank of the Primrose Hill has been extended into a walkway, softening the stark white wall boundaries behind the properties in Elsworthy Terrace. The planting with gentle undulations was completed at the end of February and the protective chestnut fencing will be removed as soon the trees and shrubs are established. Three oak stump benches without backs will be added to consolidate the planting. There are over 7,000 plants in the walkway from twenty-five different, mainly British,species of trees and shrubs including the Irish strawberry tree Arbutus unedo. Pyracantha has also been incorporated which, although not native, was already present on the hill and is a useful evergreen for the nectar and fruit it provides for wildlife.

Mark Bridger, Assistant Park Manager


For the diary

Events in the Park

Sunday 7 May 2017 11am Two wonderful walks for the Friends 1 - An early morning walk with our bird man, Tony Duckett. We meet at the Bandstand at 8am and will finish around 11am. Tony says that if it is fine we might see a northern wheatear! To book a place please email Anne-Marie Craven (Newsletter link below) and leave message with your contact details.
Thursday 25 May 2pm Two wonderful walks for the Friends 2 - A walk with the tree man, Paul Akers We meet for a start at 14.00 at the main gate to Queen Mary's Garden opposite Chester Road. To book a place please email Anne-Marie Craven (Newsletter link below) and leave message with your contact details.
Sunday 30 April 2017 9am Big Fun Walk - North London Hospice Starts at East Finchley tube station through Regent's Park where sandwiches will be provided, and finishes at Storey's Gate, Westminster Registration closes Thursday 27 April
* correction *
Saturday 13 May 2017 11am
St John's Hospice Walk in the Park A fundraising walk through Regent's Park starting and finishing at John and Lizzie's hospital and hospice. Register costs £10 at st-john-s-paint-the-park-pink-walk-london
Saturday 11 June 2017 3-5pm Help the Heroes band Come to the Bandstand - Help the Heroes band will play on the Park bandstand.
The Friends have agreed to meet the cost of the park's fee to make this possible
14-18 June Taste of London Taste of London is set to transform Regent’s Park into a foodie wonderland with 40 of London’s most exciting restaurants, brand new features, re-imagined masterclasses, delectable drinks and live entertainment. Read more, get tickets at

Open Air Theatre

For more information and to book tickets

Friday 19 May - Saturday 1 July On The Town. Music by Leonard Bernstein, Book and Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
First preview: 19 May.
Performances: Monday - Saturday @ 7.45pm (gates 6.15pm) Thursday & Saturday @ 2.15pm (gates 1.15pm) No matinee 20 or 25 May Tickets £25-55
Friday 7 July - Saturday 5 August A Tale of Two Cities. A new play by Matthew Dunster, adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens. Directed by Timothy Sheader.
First preview: 7 July.
Performances: Monday - Saturday @ 7.45pm (gates 6.15pm) Thursday & Saturday @ 2.15pm (gates 1.15pm) No matinee 8, 13 or 15 July Tickets £25-£48.50
Monday 17 July - Saturday 5 August Oliver Twist created for everyone aged six and over. Oliver Twist created for everyone aged six and over. Adapted by Anya Reiss from the novel by Charles Dickens Directed by Caroline Byrne
Press Performances: Sunday 23 July (1.30pm) and Monday 24 July (1.30pm)
Performances: Monday - Friday @ 1.30pm (gates 12.30pm) Saturday @ 9.45am (gates 9.15am) Sunday @ 10am & 1.30pm (gates 9.30am & 12.30pm)
Extra 10am performance on Wednesday 2 August & Friday 4 August (gates 9.30am)
No performances on Thursday All ticket £18
Friday 11 August - Saturday 16 September Jesus Christ Superstar Jesus Christ Superstar. Lyrics by Tim Rice Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Director Timothy Sheader
Performances: Monday - Saturday @ 7.45pm (gates 6.15pm) Thursday & Saturday @ 2.15pm (gates 1.15pm) No matinee 12 or 17 August
By Special Arrangement With The Really Useful Group Tickets £25-55

Open Air Theatre Previews

Early Bird: £5 off price bands A - D during previews of On The Town and A Tale of Two Cities when booked before 27 April (previews £2 off thereafter).
Premium Packages and Band E tickets: £2 off all previews of On The Town and A Tale of Two Cities. Groups 10+ £5 off price bands A - C. Valid all performances, excluding Oliver Twist created for everyone aged six and over and excluding all Saturday Evening performances. A £4.50 transaction fee applies. This applies on top of the Preview and Early Bird Preview pricing, but excludes Premium Packages.
Senior Citizens Matinees £22.50 best available (excluding Premium Packages), weekday matinees (cannot be combined with any other discount or concession). U18 £25 best available (excluding Premium Packages), all performances excluding Saturday evening (cannot be combined with any other discount or concession).

Friends of Regent's Park & Primrose Hill are offered a discounted price again. Tickets for £25.00, which are bookable in person at the Box Office. These are available to purchase from 2 weeks prior to the performance. Excludes Saturday evenings, and a maximum of 2 tickets per transaction.

The full performance schedule is available at

open air theatre


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Site created on Friday 25th February 2011, last edited Thursday 27th April 2017.
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