On Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th October 2014, The Mill was transformed into a Fun Palace for a weekend of creativity and celebration. Over two fun-filled days, children and adults participated in a range of activities and helped to mark the centenary of the birth of theatre director, Joan Littlewood (1914-2002). The event, inspired by Littlewood’s Fun Palace idea of the arts being placed in the centre of communities to encourage everyone to be creative, was a great success.
“Joan Littlewood would have been very proud of The Mill and its Fun Palace weekend,” Beverley Harknett, a volunteer reporter at the Mill, reported. As part of the weekend, children constructed a giant elephant, made shadow puppet jungle animals and invented stories using the Story Machine, created costumes for a jungle parade, and turned their hand to badge making. The Garden Room at The Mill was turned into a Drawing Room as local artists expertly guided people of all ages to draw on the walls that had been covered with drawing paper and turned into an artist’s sketch pad. Describing the collective drawing effort, Monica Capelastegui, a volunteer gardener and mosaic artist at The Mill said, “The result was a massive piece of community self-expression and it was enormous fun.” Other activities included having the opportunity to sing in three local community choirs and experience the process of performing music. Adults and children were invited to write their favourite memory of Walthamstow on a postcard to share with others. “The memory wall was one of the highlights of the event,” Beverley said. “The memories shared were often amusing, sometimes poignant, and always told with an affection for the local area.” Reflecting on the event, Monica stated, “The atmosphere of the weekend was creative and bubbly and everybody was really happy. Walthamstow is an exciting place to live.” The Fun Palace, a legacy left by a creative woman with community spirit, was a weekend of art for all.
Look out for the Fun Palace Retrospective coming up “The Fun Palace that WE made!”
A chance to re-live and build on the Fun Palace weekend – an exhibition of “memories”, drawings and photographs – plus various chances to add your own . You can watch The Mill Guide to Making an Elephant and buy an elephant mug as a special gift……27 November until 7 February