Illustration by Emily Medley

Everybody loves a good popup. We would queue round the block for renaissance-themed speakeasies, and salivate over Moroccan-style hickory-smoked artisanal hotdog vans. If entertainment in London’s twenty-teenage years have been defined by anything, it has been this 6-week window format of culinary and beverage innovation which has become so predictable. It is flitting, if hollow. Well this popup initiative is different. Regular readers will perhaps be disappointed with a lack of photos of mouth-watering plates of artistry, but bear with us, for the project discussed in this post is just as intriguing, and might even spur one or two of you into action on the first weekend in October. Fun Palaces is a popup project with principle.

I cannot tell you a huge amount about the 100+ popup Fun Palaces which will emerge across the UK, and reach as far as Iceland and Canada on 4-5 October. I cannot tell you because their form, content and context lie in your hands. Fun Palaces is an initiative seeking to strengthen communities through creativity. Channelling the vision of Joan Littlewood and Cedric Price – in the year of what would be the 100th anniversary of the former’s birth – Fun Palaces were originally supposed to be spaces where communities might come to perform, learn, teach, relax, or really engage in anything, so long as it was fun and creative. 2014 sees an eccentrically wide range of Fun Palace locations and activities, from physics lessons in Brockwell Lido to Murder Mystery in Birmingham. Fun Palaces 2014 will even transcend physical space, as several online communities have formed to take part electronically.

The aim is to build communities, not just audiences, and those behind the project believe absolutely in the power of creativity that so often lies dormant in each of us. “Everyone an artist, everyone a scientist”; so Joan Littlewood believed, if everyone was only given the chance. Fun Palaces were her and Cedric Price’s idea for “laboratories of fun” and “universities of the streets”, and if any of this sounds as interesting as it should, then make sure to visit for information about local initiatives which have already signed up. Of course, if there isn’t one in your area that appeals to you, then sign yourself up to create one, and get in touch with others in your area. Get inspired, get creative, and above all have some fun!

More information here:

Written by a Thoroughly Modern Man, James Bomford.

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