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Today I went back to the old Eurostar terminal at London’s Waterloo. It immediately brought back memories of boozy fashion press trips to Paris, when I worked in a different job…
This trip was much more wholesome. This summer, one of the old Eurostar platforms is being transformed into a stage. Above it, a huge tunnel-like canopy will keep most of the noise of the station out, and provide the backdrop for an exciting, site-specific children’s theatre show: The Railway Children.
The star of the show is Stirling Single, a real steam locomotive, which’ll appear from a tunnel at a dramatic moment, pulling a carriage, its pistons gleaming, atmospheric steam adding to the theatrical tension. I can’t wait.
Other sections of the old Eurostar station are being transformed for the show too. So while you’re waiting for the play to start, you can browse an exhibition all about E Nesbit’s original book, the history of the railways, the Railway Children Charity, and the setting of the play: Yorkshire.
While you might think older railway sites like Shunt at London Bridge would’ve been a better fit for a story published in 1906, I think The Railway Children Live at Waterloo Station will make excellent use of the space. And there’s certainly something to be said for using a more modern site: nightly audiences of around 900 will be able to choose from 1,800 Eurostar toilets! A luxury you don’t often get at the theatre in London…
It sounds like it’s going to be one of the family theatre events of the summer.