Fun Palaces ACE Award Press Release

On the weekend of 4 & 5 October 2014, in arts centres and museums, marquees and school halls, parks and high streets, something remarkable will occur: a vast communal celebration of arts, culture and sciences quite unlike anything that has come before.

This extraordinary event, presented by the Albany and Fun Palaces, has been made possible with the support of £196,470 of public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Exceptional awards programme.

Marking the 100th birthday of Joan Littlewood, one of the Twentieth Century’s most significant theatre directors and cultural innovators, Fun Palaces will bring to life the vision she created with Cedric Price for spaces linking arts and sciences, entertainment and education, a campaign of culture at the heart of all of our communities.

Visit one of more than 80 Pop Up Fun Palaces across the country, online and overseas; immerse yourself in an interactive treasure trail, learn the secrets of Victorian magic, go underwater dancing in your local Lido, make art with your food, watch cardboard robots battling it out on the high street, create your own Fun Palace game on your mobile phone, or join an epic walk between two of the Fun Palace sites…

Fun Palaces brings together over 80 partners (and counting!), including Joan’s own Theatre Royal Stratford East, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Roundhouse, Turner Contemporary in Margate, Gladstone’s Library, York Cocoa House, Brockwell Lido, Old Bexley CofE Primary and a Canadian radio station, as well as a Digital Fun Palace, in one of the most ambitious creative collaborations the UK has ever seen.

Fun Palaces belong to everyone and can be created by anyone.  Each is driven by the five core principles that underpinned Joan Littlewood’s vision:

  • Fun Palaces are FREE
  • Fun Palaces are LOCAL, with community involvement, engagement and participation at heart
  • Fun Palaces are INNOVATIVE, finding new ways to bring the arts, culture and sciences together
  • Fun Palaces are TRANSFORMATIVE, intending to transform the place/spaces they take place in: they transform the makers, and they transform the participants
  • Fun Palaces are ENGAGING: Fun Palaces are about full participation. Sitting and listening is fine, as long as they also include opportunities to have a go.

“This is not just an event, it is a movement, shouting that arts and culture belong at the heart of the nation. As the Olympics did for sport, Fun Palaces could show that arts, culture and science are also core passions for Britain.”
Stella Duffy, Co-Director, Fun Palaces

“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”
Joan Littlewood and Cedric Price on their vision for the Fun Palace

“Fun Palaces is a great project that places engagement and participation at its heart. With more than 80 Pop Up Palaces set in communities across the country, it will give a significant number of people the opportunity to immerse themselves in a wonderful mix of arts and science. Underpinned by an initial partnership of more than 80 organisations, it shows great ambition to break new ground and to innovate around audience engagement and we are delighted to be able to support this project.”
Joyce Wilson, Area Director, London, Arts Council England