Yes I know, it’s ages since I’ve written a blog, and I’m not really writing a blog now (this is more a copy of the invitation I wrote on Monday with a bit of an intro), but I’ve been Chaosbabying (ooh, look at the lovely pictures!) and Fun Palacing and Expectations-ing (here’s the info about the fundraiser) and yes, also writing (slowly), and so there hasn’t been a lot of time for blogging. But those of you who read me regularly will know the the Fun Palaces project is my Big Thing, and here’s the invitation to the first chance to begin to be part of shaping it. It is free. It is open to all. It wants input from as many as are interested. And if that’s you, then that’s great. (We’re also planning that Stratford East will live-stream at least some of the Open Space, so if you’re not in the UK, or not in London, or not in East London, then at least you can hopefully share in some of it.)


An invitation from Stella Duffy and Sarah-Jane Rawlings to an Open Space on 7th October 2013 about Fun Palaces 2014

Dear Fun Palaceer

Fun Palaces – What Are We Going To Do and How Are We Going To Do It?
Book Onto The Fun Palace Open Space – Book Here

Why am I getting this invitation?
Perhaps you’ve already said you want to make a Fun Palace on 4th & 5th October 2014. Or maybe someone else thinks you might want to make a Fun Palace. Or you already run your own version of a Fun Palace and we’d love you to join our inter/national celebration of arts, sciences, public engagement and Joan Littlewood’s centenary. Or maybe because the very idea of a Fun Palace sends you running away in horror – which means you’ll have some great ideas about how we might make them work for everyone. Everyone is welcome, and please share this invitation with anyone you think should be there.

What is a Fun Palace?
Based on Joan Littlewood and Cedric Price’s 1961 idea, it is a welcoming, inclusive space sharing arts, sciences and learning. It’s fun. It might have music, theatre, lectures, dance, tutorials, playing, sitting down, lying back – whatever you want. It is created with and for local people, for all ages. It is free, with public engagement at its heart. It can happen in a village square, a theatre foyer, a museum corridor, a school canteen, it might take over an entire venue or a street, it might be a small tent in a field. Every Fun Palace will be as unique as the people making it and its locale.
More about Fun Palaces

Why have we been working for free on this project since January?
Because between us we’ve been working in the arts for over fifty-five years and we’d hoped it would be different by now. Because we still believe culture can change the world. Because we know the economic realities and the politics and the just-keeping-going are exhausting, all of us working so hard in our own way – maybe it’s time to do something TOGETHER. We need you in this campaign with us. Many of us believe that arts and culture could do more. That the arts and sciences could work together better than we do now. That it’s time for a culture of share, not show. The Fun Palaces weekend will give us a chance to stand up for culture and shout about it as the heart of our communities. And that weekend will lead to change, to the goal many of us already have – of full engagement, of true inclusivity, of the difference being made. (And six months before the next UK general election is quite a good time to shout – yes?)

What will we do on 7th October 2013?
There are already over 150 theatres, arts centres, companies, organisations and individuals signed up to be part of the project. This is our chance to work out what we want our Fun Palaces to be, how we can help each other, how we can feed our brilliant, collective ideas, and begin to take concrete action toward making them happen, and how we might link our Fun Palaces – both digitally and physically. It is also an opportunity to see who isn’t in the room and who else we need to invite.
And it’s a chance to talk about the things that haven’t even occurred to us yet.
We expect there will be several people at the Open Space who worked with and knew Joan Littlewood and Cedric Price, so it’s also an opportunity to find out more about the original idea, what we can take from it, where we might diverge for the 2014 versions.

If I/we want to make a Fun Palace, does it have to be in the UK/in a theatre/in a building/inside?

What is Open Space?
At an Open Space event, the agenda is called on the day by the participants, nothing is off the agenda, and all ideas and issues raised will be dealt with, by those in the room, as long as there is interest in doing so. (And just like in a Fun Palace, the interest of one person is as valid as the interest of all!) A document with reports from all the discussions will be created, during the event, and shared openly with anyone interested.
More about Open Space

The detail :
Time : 10.30am – 5.30pm (ish)
Date : Monday 7 October 2013
Venue : Theatre Royal Stratford East
Cost : free
Booking information :

We’d love you to join us,
Stella and Sarah-Jane