Cardboard boxes, chaos and crazy dance moves captured on a cracking film saw Hackney Marsh crowned 2015's London Adventure Playground of the Year. Around 120 children from adventure playgrounds, schools, and play streets across London descended on the Prince Charles Cinema in the heart of the West End, to see the films they had made about the places they play up on the big screen. It was the 15th year that London Play has staged the event, and with awards in five categories up for grabs plus an overall winner to be announced – the anticipation was palpable.
The Hackney Marsh film featured fire, dancing, lots of improvised games with recycled materials, dancing, dressing up, water slides, dancing, obstacle courses, bouncing, swinging and – oh yes – some dancing. “This film captures the essence of barely controlled anarchy that is adventure play at its best,” the judges said. “Lots of improvisation, creativity, craziness and freedom with play workers praised by the children for their ‘immaturity’ – now that’s a compliment!” Children from the 2014 winning playground at White City, who chose the winners, handed over the top prize to a jubilant Hackney Marsh group. One of the young award recipients said that the best thing about the playground is: “Freedom and the chance to do what you want.” The victory was even sweeter given that the group has narrowly missed out on the top prize for the past few years’ running – winning in nearly every category but never the main award.
Anisa, age 9 said of Hackney Marsh: “You get to be as creative as you want, you can make new friends and there is plenty to do and you can never be tired of doing it.” The winning prize will enhance the playground further with a new structure, designed and built by APEs Adventure Playground Engineers with the help of the children, including £500 worth of free materials. "