Is there an elephant in the fun palace?

On Sunday 5th October, 130 institutions of art and science across the UK took part in creating temporary Fun Palaces based on the needs of their community, to offer fun and creative activities to the public. What is a Fun Palace I hear you ask? Well it dates back to 1961, when a young lady called Joan Littlewood an architect Cedric Price, conceived the Fun Palace as a ‘laboratory of fun’, ‘a university of the streets’. She wished it to be a temporary and movable home to the arts and sciences that would welcome children and adults alike. This wasn’t possible in 1961; it is possible now and was very possible on Sunday. Where 3 exhilarating Fun Palaces took part in the Greenwich borough alone I was delighted to attend the fantastic Fun Palace being held in Greenwich’ Rothbury Hall by an amazing street arts academy under Emergency Exit Arts (EEA).

From 1-5pm I had the pleasure to enjoy all the interactive activities that EEA offered from riding a gigantic, life size, shiny metal elephant to taking part in slightly odd yoga class alongside hundreds of members of the public. Not one activity lacked effort or creativity and it was lovely to see the younger members of the public, the children and babies, be able to get stuck in. The energy was alive this was mainly due to the positive and enthusiastic youth of the street arts academy. As I watched the young people display their talent through putting on small drama sketches, free-style rap battles and stand-up comedy I began to become very interested in why these young people had such a passion for the arts and how they managed to be such positive role models within their community.

I managed to speak to a few of them who were very polite during their long day of performing. I firstly spoke to Olivia-Hope Butler, 17, who when asked – Why do you attend the EEA street arts academy? Answered, “I come to EEA almost every Thursday to rehears for street shows like fun palaces, it gives me a chance to express myself and relax from school.”

I also managed to speak to Yasmien Mereb, 18, who is also a young actress from EEA. When asked why did you want to be involved in a street arts academy? Replied, “EEA offers loads of fun and exciting opportunities for young people to take part in and plus I think it will help me gain experience because I want to be an actress when I’m older.”

After speaking to these inspirational young people I began to be more interested in EEA its self. So I managed to speak to one of the artistic directors Alex,29. We spoke about the past and future productions that EEA has to offer and what it means to young people that take part. It really seemed like the young people from this Street Arts academy feel really strong about bringing life and orginality into their local commuinity. It was an absolute pleasure to spend my day a Rothbury Hall and i must say everyone surely did enjoy themselves. As i was told EEA have alot more productions taking place this year and our welcome to new talent but as for in the future, i'm sure everyone involves with this theatre production company have a bright future head of them.

Written By Armani Quarrington-Gray, Townley Grammar School For Girls