Have you been to Fun Palaces yet?

A wonderfully inclusive and community held space, full of exciting, bizarre, unusual, wonderful and fun activities 🌈🏰


As people all over the country are gearing up for the Fun Palaces Weekend 2018, I’m hugely excited to be joining in this year, hosting the first official, LGBTQ+ Fun Palace at The Pleasance Theatre in North London.



The Fun Palace concept is an annual weekend of community-led activity taking place all over the UK and beyond, co-founded by Stella Duffy, it’s in it’s fifth year and is happening nationwide (and beyond) on the 6 and 7 October 2018. 


Fun Palaces are full of hands-on participative activities that anyone of any age can join in with. In the past five years, Fun Palaces have included everything from making DNA jewellery, rock climbing and kayaking, swimming with mermaids, and life-drawing in a butcher’s shop, to robot creation and a science ceilidh. The options are as varied as those who want to get involved and offer a skill to share.


For a while now, I’ve been keen for there to be more LGBTQ+ all inclusive spaces which take into account the intersections, neurodiversity and mental health, as well as spaces for the LGBTQ+ community that aren’t centred around alcohol, drinking and partying – as many are.


I myself have previously struggled with queer scenes being so incredibly focussed around bars and clubbing, which suits some, but many of us don’t necessarily always want to be in those environments and for lots they can be problematic. As I started to think more about the space I wanted to open up, it became obvious to me that it could be a Fun Palace!



Fun Palaces are already known for being inclusive spaces: in 2017, 64% of maker teams included someone from an ethnic minority, 28% of maker teams included disabled people, and 16% of lead makers identified as LGBTQ+, so when it came to thinking about what kind of space I may want to open, it seemed natural and fitting that it should be a Fun Palace. 


So this Fun Palace will be no different in terms of inclusivity to the others, but invites the LGBTQ+ community to come together in holding a space for others to come and enjoy. And although our Fun Palace is LGBTQ+, you absolutely don’t have to identify as LGBTQ+ to help us make it, or attend, it’s as much for allies as it is for our community!



So far at our Fun Palace we have Mad Poets Speak, an inclusive poetry and writing drop-in running throughout the day. There’s a drag king 'n queen puppetry making session, a workshop on Inner Queer Heroes. Den building. A costume and dress up section, and more!


Still we are absolutely looking for more people to bring things along, so if you have an idea for a participatory activity/workshop/happening please do get in touch: [email protected].


And if you don’t, but fancy coming a long to join in on the day, then we would absolutely love to see you there. Our Fun Palace is wheelchair accessible and free to come to, but if there's anything else we can do to support your access needs for the event, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 


And if you don’t happen to be near London, check out your nearest Fun Palace, which will be a wonderfully inclusive and community held space, full of exciting, bizarre, unusual, wonderful and fun activities. (Count us in! — Team DIVA)


For more info on Fun Palaces click here, to find your local Fun Palaces event click here.



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