Fun Palaces 2018 kicks off this weekend

Fun Palaces © Helen Murray
Fun Palaces © Helen Murray

An international campaign that maximises engagement with culture kicks off today and runs over the weekend from 4-6 October. Fun Palaces, the brainchild of writer and theatremaker Stella Duffy, places culture at the heart of the community via two days of arts, science, craft, tech, digital, heritage and sports events and activities. The ethos behind Fun Palaces is that all activities are run by, for, and with local communities. The emphasis in on activities being “free, local, inclusive, hands-on, and YOURS”.

Some 417 Fun Palaces will be taking place in the UK and beyond including 30 Fun Palaces in Australia, three in New Zealand, and one in Indiana. Norway has joined in with the scheme and launched their own platform at

Stella Duffy, co-founder of Fun Palaces, said: “We are thrilled at the interest in Fun Palaces work across the board – both as a campaign to genuinely share access for all to create culture ­– promising a far more inclusive cultural and community landscape in future, and as an opportunity for every community to shine a light on the amazing activities they already do, the amazing people they already are.”

Fun Palaces © Helen Murray
Fun Palaces © Helen Murray

The scheme was first launched in 2014 to celebrate Joan Littlewood’s centenary and has since grown in scope. The 2017 edition hosted 362 Fun Palaces made by approximately 13,750 local people with 126,00 people taking part.

Just some of the highlights for 2018 are Fun Palaces at Sadler’s Wells, London, celebrating their 20th Anniversary with Fun Palace workshops in Reggaerobics and Bollywood, plus a retelling of the history of Sadler’s Wells via a performance from the Nonsuch History dancers.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra launch their first ever Cornwall Family Orchestra in Bodmin in their Fun Palace on 7 Oct. 

Bedford will host special tours of the cemetery as part of city wide Fun Palaces and activities programme.

The University of Bristol will host a virtual escape game made by researchers exploring human movement patterns.

While the first ever dedicated LGBTQ+ Fun Palace will take place at Pleasance theatre in London.

Supporters include the Wellcome Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Ambassadors Programme, with some funding coming from the Big Lottery funds in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. @funpalaces | #funpalaces