Putting the people back into the People’s Palace

Artists and academics from Queen Mary, University of London are inviting local communities in East London to take part in an open discussion about the future of the historical People’s Palace.

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The People’s Palace
The People’s Palace

The Long Table event, ‘Putting the People Back in the People’s Palace’, is looking to encourage an open discussion with the local community. The forum will consider using the Palace as an innovative venue that would be dedicated to the development and presentation of contemporary performance practice.

It is part of a week-long event, entitled ‘Outside Air’, featuring stand out performances and dialogues from Peggy Shaw, Ernst Fischer, Ron Athey and Lois Weaver, Professor of Contemporary Performance Practice at Queen Mary. Those involved in the project hope to create new audiences, with a particular emphasis on engaging local audiences in East London.

The event has been conceived by Professor Weaver, who will also host the discussion. She said: “Art and culture needs space to grow and the People’s Palace is perfect for that.  Drawing inspiration from its history as a meeting point for health, education and entertainment, we are looking forward to its rebirth as a centre of excellence for the arts in London’s East End.”

The People’s Palace is located on Mile End Road and forms part of the College campus. It was originally established in 1887 to bring education and entertainment to the East End of London but was destroyed by a fire in 1931. After being rebuilt in 1937, the Palace was used as a performance space until it was acquired by Queen Mary in the late 1950s.

Independent Cultural Broker Peter Jenkinson OBE believes this discussion is an excellent opportunity to involve the local community. “This is surely the moment to re-investigate models and mechanisms for reconnection, community building and the shared expression of disparate voices as arguably represented by the notion of the People's Palace,” he said.

The Long Table discussion will take place on Saturday 13 March at 3pm. It will literally be a very long table set up with chairs, microphones and refreshments where anybody is welcome to come to listen or to speak. For more information please contact Rose Sharp on 020 7882 5196 or by e-mail.