TWO school playing fields in a pair of villages near the city featured an outdoor theatre premier in a UK first.

Last weekend, The Queen's Knickers delighted audiences in Hayton and Castle Carrock.

A collaboration between three local theatre professionals, the 20-minute performances were the outcome of weeks of planning by Maya Shimmin from Heads Nook.

When the final year student's last term at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama ended due to coronavirus, she went home. Despite worrying she may ave to put her career ambitions on hold, she was determined to do something creative with her time and got in touch with neighbouring professional actors Grace Kirby and Isabella Brownson.

Maya said: "My course at Central was all about making theatre and doing drama work anywhere apart from theatre buildings.

"I wondered if we could do something locally, outdoors and on a small scale for young children and families, that would bring a bit of joy and light relief to these dark times."

With this in mind, Grace came up with the idea of adapting the picture book, The Queen's Knickers by Nicholas Allan.

Grace explained: "You only have to say 'knickers' to get a laugh and when you start rummaging in Her Majesty's drawers you can have some right royal fun."

Grace and daughter Isabella played Phyllis and Dylis, the about-to-retire Royal knicker-maker and her scatter-brained apprentice.

Isabella said: "You won't find these characters in the book. It's a very loose adaptation but true to the spirit of the original, which is cheeky and charming and a bit naughty.

"Phyllis is looking forward to retirement because she's always wanted to make the trip of a lifetime to Nicaragua, but first she had to design a batch of new knickers for the Queen and things aren't going well."