Fun Palaces take place on the weekend of 4th and 5th October 2014. You’ll find them in theatres, libraries, museums, and public spaces around the world. They give people the chance to take part in the exciting business of art and science, wherever they live. Thanks to the wonder of time zones, Parkes will be the first Fun Palace in the world to open its doors.
Theatre director Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price came up with the idea of Fun Palaces in the UK, back in the 1960s. They imagined “a laboratory of fun” that would serve as a pop-up community venue for both art and science.
The Parkes team will give the concept an Aussie spin, drawing on their tradition of immersive and interactive play. In previous years, Parkes’ librarians have organised thrilling zombie sieges and Godzilla battles. I designed these interactive games for Parkes with the idea that young players would generate unpredictable outcomes.
This year we’re putting even more power into the hands of children and young people. Over three days next week, Parkes Library staff will help local kids create their own challenges for the weekend Fun Palace.
Local teens will join library staff in mentoring younger participants, too. We’ve always been keen on the idea of mixed-age play, pitting teens against kids in 2013’s Big Box Battle. It’s really exciting that “graduates” from our previous games are now volunteering their time as Fun Palace mentors.
On the weekend itself, Parkes kids will share their creations with the whole community. There’ll be a special roleplaying event drawing on the inspiration of games like Dungeons and Dragons. There’ll also be a chance for families to try out some of Parkes Library’s greatest hits, including a dinosaur dig and “Paint Like Michelangelo“, plus a few more surprises besides. Many of our activities can be copied at home without fuss or expense, so that the spirit of fun continues beyond the weekend!
As you can tell from the photos, we’re still putting the finishing touches to next week’s event – plus, we aren’t going to over-plan. We want to be surprised and amazed by all the unexpected things our participants devise!
Stay tuned to this blog for more details next week – with a special pre-Fun Palace blog post on Friday 3rd October.
In the meantime, you can find out more about Fun Palaces at the international homepage and visit the Parkes Fun Palace page online.