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The Shakespeare Fun Palace 2016

On Saturday 1 October the second Shakespeare Fun Palace opened its doors to the public.

Lisa Peter

As part of a nationwide celebration of the arts and sciences and of community, we decided to invite many more groups and organisations from in and around Stratford-upon-Avon to join us for another day of free fun for all ages in our second Shakespeare Fun Palace

Even though the weather was less than ideal, we welcomed 491 people on the day, which was even greater than the number who attended our first event in 2015. More importantly, everybody who came left with a smile on their face. We chatted to people from Stratford and from further afield, to families, students and senior citizens, who all enjoyed the variety of the activities and the open and friendly atmosphere on the day. 

Fun Palaces 2016

The Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Shakespeare Centre was packed full of all sorts of arts and science activities, from trusted dressing up boxes and quill writing to more exotic things like Warwick University’s ‘plague corner’. There was a gardening corner with herb planting and miniature garden making, supported by a display of Tudor knot garden patterns; dig boxes where visitors could learn about archaeology and eco facts; a display of our Saxon hoard; make and take activities including lavender bags, crowns, ruffs and pop-up puppets; sonnet wizardry; and Shakespeare speeches delivered by one of our acting troupe. As if all of that wasn’t entertaining and informative enough, we had a number of partners who supported the event and shared their enthusiasm with our visitors, both outside on Henley Street and inside the Shakespeare Centre.

We would like to thank WarwickUniversity Life Sciences Outreach team for their informative display about the plague and other infectious diseases – and above all, the raucous fun of catapulting “plague-infected” jelly babies over the walls of a toy castle; Kate the storyteller from Kate’s Storytree, who came back after her stint at the Shakespeare Houses during the summer to volunteer her skills; StratfordArtshouse Drama Club, who were absolute troopers and performed Macbeth’s final battle in the pouring rain out on Henley Street (in their view exactly the right weather for that scene); the Renaissance Dancers and Shakespeare’s Morris, who kept us entertained and shared some steps with our visitors; Stratford Stagecoach, who performed their Shakespeare version of Rupert the Bear on Henley Street (this time during a sunny interval); and Mad Science, who dazzled us with their special effects as they set the Shakespeare Centre on fire, shot smoke rings through the Wolfson Hall and finished their show with an overflowing bucket of dry ice; and last but not least Blueberry Balloons, who once again supplied us with a fabulous balloon arch in front of the Shakespeare Centre to help us draw the attention of passers by.

All of this would not have been possible without the support of our many volunteers and staff members who were absolutely on board with the idea and helped out in lots of ways to make the day a success. 

As to how our visitors felt on the day, we thought we’d let them speak for themselves:

Fun Palaces Visitor Feedback