Amie Taylor, our new producer (and past Fun Palace Maker) shares a blog on making fun for the Adults.
When was the last time you made a pom-pom, or a shadow puppet or looked at something through a microscope, or learnt some new dance moves, wrote a song or collected leaves to make leaf rubbings or built something out of lego? (And did it for you, not because you were encouraging a child to do it?)
Hopefully the answer is not too long ago, but with the last 15 months being the way it has, life has been a lot more serious for the vast majority of us. Some of us have been separated from usual and vital support networks, isolated or lonely, some have been juggling home school and a full time, or part time job, some have had the stress of no work; as well as uncertainty, and grief.
One of my jobs is to deliver drama and arts programmes in schools and in April I returned to working in schools after over a year away and it was brilliant. One thing became very clear, very quickly; every single teacher I spoke to (which was about 16) requested that the children have fun. After everything they’ve been through, fun was necessary above everything else. Hurrah!
But over the past few months, it has made me think, if we’re all busy making fun for the kids… who is making fun for the adults? Because we absolutely, definitely need that to happen.
I am a true advocate of fun and silliness for adults, I think it’s so important, as is learning new things – both of which Fun Palaces are perfect for. I also think some adults sometimes find it hard to have certain kinds of fun; it was from running shadow puppetry workshops for two years running at Brockwell Lido Fun Palace that I saw just how often the kids get pushed forward while the adults stepped back. I’d invite the adults to join in too, and a lot would politely decline, but some would join in, and get really in to it. I mean, the kids they came with would have long since wandered off to another part of the Fun Palace, and they would still be going, trying to perfect the lacy design on their shadow puppet butterfly’s wings. I think as adults there are far fewer opportunities for us to get lost in making something, or learning something or sharing something; those moments where we enter our flow state, but it’s so vital that we do.
And of course the kids can join in too, or even better; they could play a part in creating fun for adults. Maybe they’ll teach you how to make a Tik Tok video, build a city in Minecraft or run a relaxing Pop It session to help the adults de-stress (don’t worry if you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, I’ve had to google all of these things in the past couple of years myself to figure out exactly what they are!) Joan Littlewood said, ‘ask the kids’ – which is perfect; I work with a lot of kids, and I genuinely would entrust the very vast majority of them to run the country. There’s also something very important about the intergenerational connection that happens when the kids teach us things – a role reversal; and it’s especially brilliant when it doesn’t just happen within families but in the wider community.
So, who is making fun for the adults? Well, the first weekend this October (1st, 2nd, 3rd) might be a chance for all of us to make sure the adults have some fun too, by making Fun Palaces; creating plenty of opportunities and spaces in which adults can get arty or sciencey, or both (at the same time?). And if you’re an adult visiting a Fun Palace in October, take up the space that is there for you to have fun; I have always believed that many more brilliant things happen when adults step inline with the kids, rather than aside for them. If you haven’t yet signed up a Fun Palace, but want to – you can do it here.