It was a dark and dreary night when a collection of cyclists, dressed for the occasion and wrapped up against the cold, pedalled their way into a creepy Holland Park. They were there to meet Lord Oberwain, and listen as he told the tragic tale of his wedding.
This was of course no ordinary bike ride. The Ballad of Lord Stanley Oberwain was an inventive twist on theatre, not only taking it out of it’s traditional home and staging it on the streets of Kensington and Chelsea, London, but also inviting the audience to cycle between locations with the cast. Scroll down for our gallery of images from the event.
A social bike ride with a difference!
Organised by Bikeminded, an initiative by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council aimed at getting more people cycling, it’s the third theatrical halloween ride they’ve organised. They also run a number of other cycling events and activities, from bicycle polo to film screenings to social tea and cake rides.
Why theatre? Bikeminded hope that using a twist on the traditional social ride, combining it with theatre, will entice more people to join in, and – with any luck – discover just how amazing cycling is, and keep doing it.
The ride itself was perfectly pitched. After meeting under a lamppost in Holland Park, and an introduction from Lord Stanley himself, we set off across streets, parks, commons and lanes, stopping at various dramatic locations to hear the next part of the ghostly tale.
The pace was gentle, and the ride brilliantly organised. A supporting group of friendly cycling instructors ensured everyone stayed together, no-one was left behind, and even helped the large group navigate junctions by holding back cars until all riders had passed.
Exquisite Folly Theatre, who specialise in ‘unusual theatre in unusual places’ were the people responsible for bringing Lord Oberwain and his brides to eerie life. Bikeminded and Exquisite Folly have worked together before, on a Second World War themed cycling murder mystery, and an Alice in Wonderland ride. Let’s hope this inventive collaboration continues.
If you’d like to keep up to date with what Bikeminded have planned for the future, check out their website.
If you missed out on the drama, or want to relieve the experience, check out our gallery below and enjoy.