People from Buckfastleigh to Plymouth and from two years old to 80 enjoyed Dartington and Totnes’s own Fun Palace, one of 100 Fun Palace events across the world.
Over 200 people played, performed and learnt something new in this collaboration between KEVICC, The Dartington Hall Trust, Park School, Soundart Radio and Somerset street band Tongues of Fire, which took place on October 8.
One highlight was Schumacher College’s tutor Stephan Harding’s circular walk through the earth’s 4.6 billion year history using the streets of Totnes as a real-life measuring device. Harding explained to over 25 people how the Earth was formed at the Methodist Church, photosynthesis appeared in Leechwell Gardens, and multi-cellular life appeared in the Civic Square almost two billion years later. Notably the industrial revolution arrived only 0.03mm from the end of the walk, leading to the changed climate that now challenges us, he said.
Meanwhile, eight musicians started a new Dartington-Totnes street band led by Tim Hill of Tongues of Fire, and KEVICC Folk Club (KFC) performed an ‘open to all’ jam in the Methodist Church which thrilled over 100 people. KFC said: ‘Thank you so much for inviting us to play! It was such a rewarding experience to bring the music we have worked on in school at KEVICC into the community in Totnes. They seemed to really enjoy it. It was great to see people dancing!’
Radio producers SoundArt provided radio equipment for 20 children to experiment with sound and record their own stories. Park School ran a sensory play session for over 20 children and Teacher in Charge Amanda Bellamy said: ‘Playing with the under 7’s and their families at the Fun Palace was indeed lots of fun! It was very exciting to know that this free national event was happening all over the country with many different communities. What a great way for local organisations to connect and build relationships for the future.’
‘It was great to see the Totnes Dartington Fun Palace come to fruition,’ said The Dartington Hall Trust artistic director, Bill Gee. ‘Lots of hard work by the collaborating organisations and volunteers meant that over 200 people could enjoy the activities throughout the day.’
Conceived of in 1961 by theatre director Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price, Fun Palaces aim to create a ‘university of the streets’ or ‘laboratory of fun’, based on Littlewood’s motto of ‘everyone an artist, everyone a scientist’ – find out about other events at www.funpalaces.co.uk/