"Choose what you want to do ... dance, talk or be lifted up to where you can see how other people make things work. Sit out over space with a drink and tune in to what’s happening elsewhere in the city. Try starting a riot or beginning a painting – or just lie back and stare at the sky." (Fun Palace, 1961)
In 1961 Joan Littlewood and the architect Cedric Price conceived a revolutionary venue, housing arts and sciences, encouraging engagement and debate. The Fun Palace was to welcome all, especially children and youth. It was never built.
We aim to bring that 1960s vision into the 21st century in a weekend of events, locally curated and attended. We believe public participation is the key to great communities and so, on 4th & 5th October this year, there will be pop-up Fun Palaces across the country, each one created by that community, linked by the website and the Digital Fun Palace.
There are already over thirty planned Fun Palaces on the map, from Theatre Royal Stratford East to Ormesby Hall National Trust in Middlesbrough, from the RSC to a primary school in Bexley, from a Canadian radio company to the Birmingham Pen Museum.
Each Fun Palace will be self-generating, self-organising, and self-funding, with five guidelines ensuring a little of Joan’s spirit at the core:
FREE: Fun Palaces are free.
LOCAL: Fun Palaces have community involvement, engagement and participation at heart. To make a Fun Palace you agree to ask local people what they would like to do.
INNOVATIVE: Fun Palaces find new ways to bring the arts, culture and sciences together.
TRANSFORMATIVE: Fun Palaces intend to transform the place/spaces you are working in, they transform the makers, and they transform the participants. We expect to be different after we have engaged with Fun Palaces.
ENGAGEMENT: Fun Palaces are about full participation. Sitting and listening is fine, as long as we also include opportunities to have a go.
This is not just an event, it is a movement for engagement. If you, or any of your networks would like to join us, we’d love to hear from you. We want to make this together.