On Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October, The BedPop Fun Palaces are returning to Bedford, once again bringing a marvellous mash-up of art, science and culture to eight town-centre venues. Absolutely everyone is welcome, so find out more about what’s in store with our handy guide
What is a Fun Palace?
Fun Palaces it’s a nationwide initiative to encourage hands-on experiences in art, science and culture. On the first weekend of October, hundreds of Fun Palaces will simultaneously pop up in venues throughout the UK – including Bedford – offering free activities to people of all ages. Originally conceived by theatre director Joan Littlewood and the architect Cedric Price in 1961, it was their dream to create a space where people in the community could come together to celebrate arts, science and culture. Their original blueprint said:
Choose what you want to do – or watch someone else doing it. Learn how to handle tools, paint, babies, machinery, or just listen to your favourite tune. Dance, talk or be lifted up to where you can see how other people make things work. Sit out over space with a drink and tune in to what’s happening elsewhere in the city. Try starting a riot or beginning a painting – or just lie back and stare at the sky.
DOWNLOAD THE BROCHURE WITH THE FULL TIMETABLE HERE!*
Where can I find the BedPop Fun Palaces?
This October there will be eight Fun Palaces popping up in Bedford. You can find lots of exciting stuff going on at the Higgins, Bedford Central Library, the Panacea Museum, John Bunyan Museum, St Cuthbert’s Hall, Rogan’s Books and the John Bunyan Community Boat.
All the action takes place from 10am – 5pm on Saturday and from 11am – 4pm on Sunday.
How can I take part?
Every single event at the BedPop Fun Palaces is free to take part in, so come along to any (or all of the venues) over the weekend and get stuck into whatever takes your fancy. Some events do need to be booked in advance, so pick up a copy of the BedPop Fun Palaces programme, download a copy from bedpop.co.uk or head to Eventbrite.co.uk and search BedPop Fun Palaces for the full list of bookable activities. Booking opens on 19th September.
There are dozens of FREE events to take part in this year, from engineering challenges to streetdance, immersive theatre to graffiti plus app coding workshops and science demonstrations. There’s a floating Fun Palace hosted by artist Anne-Marie Stijelia aboard the John Bunyan Community Boat, demonstrations of the Enigma machine at Bedford Central Library and an entire venue dedicated to Engineering at St Cuthbert’s Hall. The Fun Palaces will be the first events to take place in the newly renovated Basement at the John Bunyan Museum. This year’s list of collaborators includes Bletchley Park, Lockheed Martin, the Open University, Culture Challenge, Biddenham School and Bedford BookFest among others.
“Thanks to sponsorship from Colworth Park, You Can Book Me, the Harpur Trust and Culture Challenge, plus Arts Council funding we’re able to offer even more events for free this year,” said Erica. “The success of last year’s Fun Palaces event drew families into Bedford town centre to discover their hidden talents. With lots more to take part in, we’re certain to inspire even more of Bedford’s budding artists and scientists.”
Events can be booked at Eventbrite.co.uk by searching BedPop Fun Palaces.
BedPop Fun Palaces programmes can be found at cultural venues, cafes, restaurants and libraries around Bedford.
*Please note that some activities may be subject to change – check the Facebook/website.