The Enchanted Palace
Opens at Kensington Palace, 26 March 2010 (until June 2012)
From March 2010, Kensington Palace will become the Enchanted Palace in a unique multisensory exhibition combining fashion, performance, and dazzling spectacle to reveal Kensington's magnificent State Apartments in a magical new light.
Independent charity Historic Royal Palaces is undertaking a £12 million major project to transform Kensington Palace by 2012. During this transition, acclaimed UK theatre company WILDWORKS will cast a spell over the palace, creating a mysterious and atmospheric world for visitors to explore, and bringing the hidden stories of the historic royal residence dramatically to life.
In the sumptuous State Apartments, leading fashion designers Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest, Stephen Jones, Boudicca, Aminaka Wilmont and illustrator/set designer Echo Morgan will each create spectacular installations in collaboration with WILDWORKS, taking inspiration from Kensington Palace and the princesses who once lived there - Mary, Anne, Caroline, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret and Diana. These extraordinary contemporary designs will be displayed alongside historic items from the Royal Collection and Kensington Palace's Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, together with two dresses worn by Diana, Princess of Wales and Princess Margaret.
The complex and mysterious world of the royal court will be opened up through spectacular installations, interactive theatre, intimate storytelling, soundscapes, haunting film projections, and a series of intriguing clues hidden throughout the historic rooms, revealing tales of love and hate, surprise and sadness, secrets and jealousy.
Each room will have a powerful story to tell about Kensington Palace's former royal residents and the life of the court - a world within a world, with its own time and rituals.
Historic Royal Palaces Curator Alexandra Kim commented, "This is an innovative animated exhibition, set against the backdrop of the magnificent State Apartments, and offers a truly unique opportunity to discover the hidden stories of Kensington Palace. Featuring specially commissioned contemporary fashion installations woven into fascinating tales from the palaces history, The Enchanted Palace will enable visitors to explore the extraordinary lives of Kensington's former royal residents."
WILDWORKS Producer Bill Mitchell said, "We have found the stories of the palace incredibly inspiring, they're like true fairy tales - the rebellious princess who was so universally loved that, when she died in childbirth, London ran out of black mourning fabric; the little sickly prince who played peashooters with his uncle, the king; the court that kept a wild feral boy as a pet; the young princess who wept for three days when told she had to marry a man twice her age; the two friends who had a quarrel that caused deaths, changed the fortunes of great families and the map of Europe. Its such rich material for art and theatre - to be exploring these stories in the rooms where they took place is thrilling."
The Enchanted Palace is inspired by the £12 million major project that will transform the visitor experience at Kensington Palace by improving accessibility, introducing new education and community facilities, reconnecting the palace with the surrounding park through new public gardens, and enabling us to present exciting exhibitions inspired by the palaces rich past and unique collections. This project, Welcome to Kensington a palace for everyone, will be completed by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces in June 2012, in time for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.
For more information, factsheets, images or interviews, please contact Ruth Howlett at the Historic Royal Palaces press office: 020 3166 6338/6166 or
A press preview of the Enchanted Palace will be held on 25 March 2010.
Notes to editors
Welcome to Kensington -a palace for everyone is a £12 million major project to transform Kensington Palace by improving accessibility, introducing new education and community facilities, reconnecting the palace with the surrounding park through new public gardens, and enabling us to present exciting exhibitions inspired by the palaces rich past and unique collections. Major works will begin in June 2010 and are scheduled for completion in June 2012 in time for the Queens Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.
Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors. These palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. We believe in four principles. Guardianship: giving these palaces a future as long and valuable as their past. Discovery: encouraging people to make links with their own lives and today’s world. Showmanship: doing everything with panache. Independence: having our own point of view and finding new ways to do our work. www.hrp.org.uk Registered charity number 1068852
WILDWORKS is an international theatre company, based in Cornwall.
WILDWORKS produces unique landscape theatre in challenging places and with extraordinary communities. Our productions have been sited in old quarries, derelict mines, working fishing quays, abandoned department stores, dockyards, a Napoleonic citadel, the Green Line in Nicosia… We have worked with gospel choirs, drama groups, local artists, surfers, tea dance regulars, North African migrants, cake-makers, ex-miners, a young hip-hop group, abseilers and a Hells Angels chapter.
Drawing its power from community, WILDWORKS integrates music, dance and theatre. We use everything: food, stunning imagery, action, film, music and text to tell our story. Narrative is at the centre of our work. We bring the seeds of a story to a site and weave in the strands that tie people and place together.
As a company we are drawn to stories that are both epic and intimate, human stories that can touch and resonate with audiences across barriers of language, age and nationality.The strength of the work lies in the fusion of a strong sense of place, the power of people and the most distinct theatrical imagination. Audiences all over Europe have responded with delight and no small sense of awe to this work.
Some files are provided in PDF format - you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files.