JOAN Littlewood was a proper visionary and one of the most controversial and influential theatre directors and drama teachers of the 20th Century.

Born in 1914, she was a great believer in theatre and community and happened to establish her Theatre Workshop in Kendal in 1945.

Apparently, Kendal High School provided the setting for the first performance by Joan's touring collective.

She's regarded by many as the mother of modern theatre and her devoted her life to putting the community at the heart of all her work.

In the early 1960s, Joan and her friend, the architect Cedric Price, developed an ambitious scheme for something they termed the Fun Palace, a concept that built on her idea of how to make ordinary lives more fun.

The idea was to repurpose an unused and unloved six-acre riverside area on the Isle of Dogs, in east London, providing a whole raft of arts and crafts, music, entertainment and learning opportunities, so visitors could play an instrument or listen to music, read or recite poetry, learn how to create an artwork, watch an edifying documentary, or simply have a few drinks and watch football on a big screen.

Joan's vision was never realised as London County Council refused permission.

However, in 2013, artists Stella Duffy and Sarah Jane Rawlings revived Joan’s groundbreaking idea and in 2014 established Fun Palaces: a free, nationwide campaign for culturual democracy that as they describe it "promotes culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture."

On Sunday, October 6, Kendal's Brewery Arts Centre hosts its very first Fun Palace.

From 11am-3pm, the free event celebrates the unique skills and passions of local people run by, for and with the local community. Those going along can take part in a host of free activities for all the family including Stage Science where people can learn how to make theatre blood and fake booze with Claire Dunk; Do the Doodle, joining movement director Zoe Leigh Gadd and Corisande for a fun movement and poetry session; Howl where people can have a giggle in a laughter workshop. Also featured will be Puzzling Mysteries where you can learn about creating the ultimate murder mystery and interactive puzzles with Highly Suspect.

There will be 5X5, a short film making workshop with Stuart Sutton; Go Potty, a beginners pottery session with Amy William and in Heroes, all can make their own superhero masks and capes with Kate Reid.

There will also be a Mix it Up session where you try your hand at spinning those discs and DJ with Ian Trickett and there's Shed 1 for those who would like to join Andy and Zoe Arnold-Bennet and learn about how they make their gin.

Not forgetting, Where’s My Igloo, where you can get creative with the Brewery's drop-in draw and its own Igloo competition and win tickets to one of its performances of Outside The Igloo in December.

Plus, there will be a free screening of Joan Littlewood's iconic Oh What A Lovely War!

Miriam Randall, the Brewery's CEO and artistic director said the like Joan the Brewery puts the community at the centre of what they do. "And we’re excited to be opening our doors for our first Fun Palace with a day that brings together art, science, craft and technology but above all people to create and connect in a friendly environment."

For full details of the Fun Palace programme go online at or pop along to the information desk in the Intro Bar on the day to sign up.

Registration for all the workshops will be open from 10.30am on the day and places are allocated on a first come first serve basis.