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Peopling the Palace

Arts and culture festivals based at the People’s Palace, with multi genre programmes of ground breaking experimental theatre, music and dance.

The logo for Peopling the Palace
  • School/Institute/Department: School of English and Drama, AiR Project
  • Subjects: Drama, Performance Art, Film, Geography, Media Arts Technology
  • Audience: General Public

Peopling the Palace was an 8-day Festival of arts and culture in the People’s Palace within Queen Mary University of London.
The event attracted 1300 new visitors from various communities to the People’s Palace with a multi genre programme of ground breaking experimental theatre, music and dance, which filled the hall and brought new audiences to Queen Mary

This festival featured:
• A Poster Exhibition, created by graduate students in the Department of Geography, exploring the context of the People’s Palace development, key people, and activities and its history up to the present day.
• An Intergenerational Tea Dance with Ragroof Theatre (Including GHack’s installation of Sound Mapping London Tea Houses)
• A Social Cinema event including a performance enhancement around the themes of the film Deep End (1970) by the Figs & Wigs theatre company.
• An opening drinks reception in the People’s Palace to launch the Festival.
• A series of three early evening conversations, with invited speakers and the participation of the general public.
• The Film Department/Mile End Films commissioned compilation film ‘Working Day’ was shown throughout.
• (Re) Fresh an evening of intergenerational live art commissions, dialogues and invited performances and top tips for younger artists. Featuring Sheree Rose & Martin O’Brien, Bette Bourne & Paul Shaw, Franko B & Jamie Lewis Hadley, Julia Bardsley & The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein, Tim Etchells & Hester Chillingworth, Scottee, Andy Field and Mel Evans.
• Performances by 2boys.tv from Montreal, Canada as part of a residency for the 8 days: 6 presentations of their performance, Phobophilia.
• Performances by Simon Vincenzi whose company presented 2 performances of  one of the two final pieces in his Operation Infinity Series, Luxuriant.
• 6 performances of Geraldine Pilgrim’s performance, Handbag, with 189 dancers  populating all of the Great Hall to close out the Festival for us in a truly  celebratory performance totally appropriate for the space

The most striking success in this regard was the Intergenerational Tea Dance, in that it not only brought large numbers of people into the campus for the first time, but that it involved real interaction between different people of different ages and background. As a result of this event, the post work conversations brought together an unusual mixture of writers, artists, students, academics and local retired people.

The project demonstrated the capacity to produce large-scale events of this kind, which strengthened existing partnerships and initiated new ones. We also developed further human capacity in production and management, through the professional development aspects of Air Supply, our postgraduate professional development scheme. 25 Air Suppliers contributed to the event, new members of the team were inducted, skills transferred, new relationships with artists forged.

Peopling the Palace is a  collaboration between staff and students in the Drama, Film, Geography and Media Arts Technology Departments at Queen Mary University of London and the Live Art Development Agency. Produced by AiR Project.

This project was funded by a Centre for Public Engagement Large Award. All Large Award projects were asked to produce a poster, giving more details about the project and sharing learning gained from it. You can see the poster for Peopling the Palace here [PDF].

Videos of the event are displayed below.

A report from the event can be found here.

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