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The People’s Palace of Possibility

28 October 2019

If we do not believe that we can do something, then that is the most secure guarantee that we will not be able to do it.

Christiana Figueres

Imagining alternatives has become an urgent matter. One which requires playfulness, honesty, fear, hope and silliness in equal measure. The People’s Palace of Possibility is an attempt to answer this need.

Rose and Reuben happened upon the Palace, discarded and partially destroyed in the basement of the Nation’s Library and they were – in their own words– “bloody excited and flippin’ relieved!”. The original creators of the Palace had left it in a heap of cardboard and decaying wood and yet Rose and Reuben could see that it still might offer a way of capturing the visions of citizens and, for building something new together. Quick as they could, they dragged it out into the light and began to sort through all the items abandoned inside: the hastily daubed questions in 10ft letters, fragments of audio declaring the value of utopia and national manifestos, and clay model towns. And as they sorted, they realised that this was a half-built Palace, one which needed reviving and reopening – to offer a space to reimagine the future. And that is exactly what they did.

This was in May of this year, and they have been carrying the Palace along with them ever since. On the 7th November, Rose will open the Palace doors in Lancaster. A series of boxes recently discovered suggest that there may have been a Palace ritual created and performed by the original Palace Citizens. To unpick this and enable us to create one to carry forward with us, we will be joined by Dr Emily Spiers (Lecturer in Creative Futures, Lancaster University) and Sue Gill (of Dead Good Guides) to help us.

Creating the future we want requires belief; it requires copious imagination; it requires us to recognise those who have come before; and it requires collective action. The Palace’s doors are open – will you join us?

The People’s Palace of Possibility will open at The Gregson at 3pm-5.30pm on the 7th November. There are a few places left; to enquire please email charlotte@lancasterarts.org

Rose and Reuben are the protagonists of this piece, conceived by Malaika Cunningham, artistic director of The Bare Project. Alongside this she regularly works with other theatre companies including Invisible Flock and Cardboard Citizens. She was a co-founder of the Sheffield Creative Guild. Alongside her artistic work she is studying for a PhD at the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (University of Leeds).

For more information about this project and The Bare Project please visit: https://thebareproject.co.uk/the-peoples-palace-of-possibility/

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