Birmingham Stage Company

The Palace

26 June 2006

Sunday at the Palace was as delightful as any day could be. The atmosphere inside the Palace walls was relaxed and peaceful. It had a strange calm, surrounded as it is by the busiest roads in London. And so unfolded one of the most wonderful days one could imagine. Our company were in great form, performing excerpts from THE JUNGLE BOOK for hoards of children (and Trevor Nunn). I spent most of my time wandering around soaking up the atmosphere of the place. Even with more than three thousand people enjoying the grounds, this amazing place remained idyllic. Meeting the authors of some of the country’s finest children’s work was an amazing treat – and I confess I’ve always wanted a good look at Her Majesty. She is quite something – charging through the crowds with an intense concentration on what she picks out to engage with and an easy ability to pass by the rest! I stayed for the BBQ in the evening and met the man who arranged and paid for much of the event - Peter Orton. Quite apart from the extraordinary treat he has given two thousand children, he has done something extremely important – bringing children into a special area where they have never collected before and putting them first. They so rarely are in this strange country of ours.

When the buggy took me back to the gates, I was suddenly aware of the outside world over the walls. "It's still there", I said to the driver.

Inside those walls, it was easy to forget.

One could not have wished for a better day.

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