Fun Palaces 2016


Welcome to the Palace of Fun!


The Bureau – Centre for the Arts, is taking part in Fun Palaces, a national festival celebrating art and science activities for all ages.

Taking place in the converted church on Victoria Street, ‘Fun Palaces’ will see The Bureau provide a fun, free weekend of arts, culture and science activities for people of all ages to get involved with on October 1st & 2nd

Our theme for this year’s art and science fun is Bugs! If you want to get involved in any way- maybe giving a talk, or organising a bug hunt, demonstrating an experiment , showing a film or running an activity please get in touch- we are really keen to hear from YOU! ( Even if it doesn’t fit the bug theme!)

There will be also be a cafe with Fairtrade and Organic hot drinks, cakes and snacks available on both days, with the money raised going towards supporting The Bureau – Centre for the Arts.

The Bureau will be open both days from 10am – 4pm.

‘Fun Palaces’ is an annual, free, nationwide celebration of arts and science that helps brings communities together.

Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price came up with the concept in the sixties; they wanted a temporary and movable home for the arts and sciences, open and welcoming to all, labelling it as a ‘laboratory of fun’. The idea could never happen back in 1961 and funa_palaces_a5-rev-2016so it was later brought to life in 2013 by Stella Duffy and Sarah-Jane Rawlings.

The event is becoming increasingly successful. Last year there were 138 local, temporary Fun Palaces across the UK and beyond, made by local people for their own communities.

For more information on the event,

or email


Fun Palaces Micro Commissions


The Bureau Centre for the Arts is a volunteer run arts centre in the old St John’s church, in the heart of Blackburn, whose vision is to create a space for arts and culture in order to provide accessible opportunities and build creative communities.

The Bureau offers a wide range of arts and creative engagement programmes, activities, events and performances for people of all ages and backgrounds from Blackburn and the surrounding areas. The team of volunteer Directors who lead the organisation are passionate about affecting change within the borough in terms of the arts offer and people’s perceptions of what the arts are for and the benefits of their engagement.


The event

At The Bureau Centre for the Arts we will be hosting our second Fun Palace event on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October from 10am-4pm.

Fun Palaces are made by local people for their own communities, bringing together arts and sciences, free and fun, linked by the Fun Palace network

Fun Palaces are a national movement of people who believe in the genius in everyone, in everyone an artist and everyone a scientist, and that creativity in community can change the world for the better.

We believe we can do this together, locally, with radical fun – and that anyone, anywhere, can make a Fun Palace.

Fun Palaces are about creating and making together: they are a space where arts and sciences, crafts and technologies, fun and learning meet, working alongside and working together. They are as much about the process of creating with your community as they are about what happens on the weekend itself.


What we are looking for:

We have four micro commissions of £50 available for the delivery of a 4 hour session on either Saturday 1st or Sunday 2nd October, and may have a little extra available for materials.


We are looking for passionate people in the community who want to run an activity, give a talk, and share their skills and knowledge which is arts or science based. We have a bug theme going on this year so if you have any creepy crawly art ideas, know about the science behind bacteria, or can make a bugging device we are interested!


Your idea needs to fit the Fun Palace guidelines, that each Fun Palace is :

  • Free (for people to participate)
  • Local (ideally made by local people, for local people)
  • Innovative (a space or a place doing something they don’t usually do)
  • Transformative (changes the nature of the place it happened in)
  • Engaging (so there is something for everyone, all ages, all abilities, to DO, not just observe/audience)

How to apply

To apply please email a brief outline of your idea, with any relevant images; your name and age; any relevant experience to


Applications needs to be submitted by Friday 23rd September

You will be contacted about your ideas by Monday 26th September

You must be available on either the 1st or 2nd October to deliver your activity.

Bureau Makeover weekend

Bureau Makeover poster


If you missed the Bureau Clean Up weekender then maybe you can help  out his time? We are calling out to all those who want to support us to come along for one of these two volunteer days and help us out.

We want to present the world with an all new lovely shiny version of The Bureau, but we need your help!

Can you sand, paint, decorate, hang doors, wire, plumb, move boxes, clean, buff floors, organise, garden or generally make things look lovely? do you have a few hours spare that you’d like to give us? Come and join the team over the weekend to revamp The Bureau. There will also be tea, cake and good company.

If you can’t make it but want to support us, we are looking for donations of equipment for the kitchen, cafe and office so please get in touch if you think you have anything we might need, or know a company that will sponsor us with a donation of equipment.

Email for our wish list.

Not able to help that way either? Still want to help out? We are raising money to buy anything else we need here : I love The Bureau!

Paint the Town….. This Weekend!

“Paint the Town….. “is a challenge to artists of all ages and abilities- beginners, amateurs and professionals- to create a painting or drawing in a day with in Blackburn and the surrounding borough along the theme of Old and New.

Artists will need tPaint the town Poster2016o attend The Bureau Centre for the Arts on Saturday 10th September between 9am and 10 am in order to register,  to be allocated an exhibition space and to have their blank canvas authenticated with a date stamp. ( Don’t just turn up at 5pm with some work!)

Artists will then be able to go out into the surrounding area to their favourite location to produce a piece of work.

In case of bad weather we have arranged with some local businesses for an artist to be able to work from their premises. Please arrange this with us as we know how many places are available, and please also support these businesses by buying a tea or coffee from them in return! It is also possible to work within The Bureau itself.

All work will need to be returned to the building by 5pm and there will be a time slot allocated for any framing and hanging of work.

On Sunday from 12-4pm The Bureau Centre for the Arts will be open for an exhibition for members of the public to come and view and there will be a sale of any works that artists wish to sell.

The announcement of prizewinners will be at 1pm, with the presentation date TBC.

The categories are Junior, Senior, Heritage Townscape ( a particular area of Blackburn town centre, and a special prize for the best  image of The Bureau itself.

The exhibition will be open Thursday- Sat 11-4pm until 24th September.

Unsold work to be collected from 4pm-5pm on the 24th.

Bureau Clear Up Weekend

Bureau Deep Clean poster 2


We are calling out to all those who want to support us to come along for one of these two volunteer days and help us out.
We want to present the world with an all new lovely shiny version of The Bureau, but we need your help!
Can you clear; clean; sweep; mop; buff and polish floors; remove partition walls; plumb; wire; carry boxes; or make tea for those who are cleaning? Do you have a few hours spare that you’d like to give us? Come and join the team over the weekend to deep clean and rearrangeThe Bureau. There will also be tea, cake and good company.
If you can’t make it but want to support us, we are looking for donations of paint and floor sealant/ polish, or equipment for the kitchen, cafe and office so please get in touch if you think you have anything we might need, or know a company that will sponsor us with a donation of equipment.
Email for our wish list.
If you miss the Bureau Clean Up weekender then maybe you can help at ou Bureau Makeover weekend on the 17/18th September which will be painting and decorating
Not able to help that way either? Still want to help out? We are raising money to buy anything else we need here : I love The Bureau!

Exciting upcoming Theatre events!

We are fortunate to have two fantastic shows in one week at The Bureau- The Devil’s Purse  on Thursday 7th July at 7.30pm , and How to be a Man on Saturday 9th July at 7.30pm.

TheDevilsPurse (2)

Beguiling, tricksy, highly-strung, and suspiciously helpful – the Little People are waiting in the shadows, beneath your feet, under the tables, and even in the cracks in the walls – and they’re waiting to prove just how hard it is to tell that they are there. On hot summer nights their world is a breath away and on long winter evenings they have far too much time on their hands…

Dominic Kelly, Bridget Marsden & Leif Ottosson fuse storytelling performance and music in a wild journey into the cinema of the imagination. A lost traveler finds himself guided through the mountain mists; a farmer marries an apparently perfect wife; a drunk gambles with a purse that is forever full, and an anxious mother watches her child turn into skin and bone… Come spend some time in the company of Themselves, the Gentry Below, the Good Folk, the sylphs, the sprites, the fairies, and a labyrinth of stories.

Age 10+ £ 8/6

HTBAM 2 (2)How to be a Man. Men are in crisis. They don’t know how to be men; they don’t know what it means to be a man anymore. Now they are trying to find the right path, if it even exists.

How to be a Man is a response to the crisis of masculinity, the realization that being a man can no longer mean what it used to.

Masculinity is examined from the perspective of a white, middle-class, straight western man as he picks at the history and culture that has made him who he is. Using a combination of fictional, biographical and autobiographical stories, one man attempts to navigate the uncertain terrain of modern masculinity.

The is the story of manliness; where it’s been, where it is now and where it could end up.

How to be a Man has been researched, written and is performed by Jon Coleman, a Manchester based artist. The performance has been directed by Josh Coates and Paper People Theatre. It has been made using public funding from Arts Council England and with support from Ovalhouse theatre and Contact.

The Devil’s Purse
The Devil’s Purse

How to be a Man
How to be a Man

Weaver’s Wheel Exhibition


This exhibition is open during the week and Saturday 25th June during the ‪Countryside Comes To Town‬ festival.


Please come along then and find out all about the new family friendly cycle route offering cyclists as well as walkers a fully signed interconnected network of routes crossing rich and varied landscape and circling the town including Witton Park and parts of the canal at Eanam.

downloadThe exhibition shows work that has already begun with local community groups and schools to develop a range of ideas that will help to promote the route, inform riders/walkers and create an attractive colourful multi user route.

Working alongside the Community Rail Partnership and a local artist Alastair Nicholson the route of the Weavers Wheel will be split into themes ranging from recycling, rural, technology, language and sound and a number of art installation will be produced resulting from the community participation.

There is a chance to get actively involved in some of the creative aspects of this whilst visiting the exhibition, and Alastair has his potter’s wheel in the gallery for pottery demonstrations as well as being available to discuss the ‪‎Weaverswheel‬ in general.

HUSH! Workshop exploring voice and gender identity.

This  FREE workshop exploring voice and gender identity  is on TODAY – Saturday 11th June, from 1-4pm and places are still available.


Tristan R. Whiston, award winning artist and performer, and Alex Bulmer award winning writer and lyricist, lead a workshop on the theme of The Journey of A Voice inspired by Hush….?, a new song project exploring voice and gender identity. The workshop will encourage participants to explore their own voice to create performance and text. The workshop will include vocal exercises, singing and writing. It is aimed particularly at LGBTQ communities but ANYONE is welcome to come along and join in. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.
This workshop will culminate with a performance at June’s Artspace.

A cafe will be open for refreshments.

For the people who are interested in attending this event and so we have an idea of participants, please send your name to:

Alex Bulmer, lyricist, is a writer, performer, director and educator.
She has written for The Royal Court, London 2012 Olympics, Graeae, BBC Radio 4, winning an AMI award for her adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Channel 4 series Cast Offs (nominated for BAFTA and Royal Television SocietyAward), Theatre Centre and Face Front.
Her stage play SMUDGE was Time Out’s Critics Choice during its UK premiere, and earned several theatre award nominations in Canada.
She is co founder and Artistic Director of Invisible Flash , co-creator of The Canadian based Republic of Inclusion, and one of the original singers with the Toronto based Boy Choir of Lesbos.
In 2014 she was named as one of the UK’s most influential disabled artists by Power Magazine, and was named a Fellow of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in 2015.

Errollyn Wallen, composer, Errollyn’s music includes many works for orchestra, ballets, fourteen operas, chamber music, films ‑ and albums as singer/pianist and The Errollyn Wallen Songbook. Recent large-scale commissions include two works featuring the London Symphony Orchestra for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games – PRINCIPIA, for massed choirs and orchestra, and Spirit in Motion, for soprano and orchestra. The event was broadcast to a billion people around the world. Recent premières include See That I Am God for St Paul’s Cathedral (to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the priesting of women in the Church of England), Full Fathom Five for Melodia NYC, the US première of All the Blues I See at MoMA, the London première of her Cello Concerto and the Scottish première of Are You Worried About the Rising Cost of Funerals? which was featured in the PRSF New Music Biennial and released on the NMC label.

Errollyn’s music was played in outer space on the NASA STS-115 mission.

Her new orchestral album — PHOTOGRAPHY— has just been released on the NMC label featuring her own Orchestra X.

Errollyn Wallen was awarded the MBE in 2007 for for services to music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Other awards include the British Composer Award, FIPA d’Or and the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music (the first woman recipient). Last year she was elected Honorary Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford University.

Tristan R. Whiston, singer/dramaturg, is a multidisciplinary artist who has worked in Toronto for over 25 years as a director, writer, dramaturge and performer. Tristan created five audio documentaries for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; his work, Middle C, won the 2007 Premios Ondas Award for International Radio amongst others and has aired in 7 different countries. Recently, Whiston created trace, an interactive audio/performance installation that toured Canada in 2015. Whiston has been the Artist-in-Residence at Central Toronto Youth Services, directing Gender Play, a theatre project working with LGBTQ youth exploring issues and experiences of gender (2005 – present). As founder of Toronto’s renowned performance troupe The Boychoir of Lesbos, Tristan produced and performed in an original musical adaptation of Lord of the Flies. Whiston has a BFA from York University (1991 – specialty in theatre directing). As Artistic Co-Director of Red Dress Productions, Tristan has co-led 15 large-scale community engaged public artwork mosaic projects.

CANCELLED- Circus School :-(

BEatniks circus school cancelled


Unfortunately we have had to cancel this Circus school with The Beatnik Collective next week due to lack of numbers booked on.
We will be running one again in the summer so if you fancied it but were a bit slow, the timing was wrong or you just missed it, then get in touch-  and we’ll let you know direct when we have dates booked in.
We are really disappointed not to be having circus fun and send apologies to those who did book- we’ll refund you in full, and appreciate your support.
We hope you have a lovely week anyway, and maybe you could check out the FREE music activities on Friday at The Bureau with Blackburn Music Hub as some consolation.

Running Away with The Beatniks


This amazing opportunity is brought to you by The Bureau working with The Beatnik Collective from Preston.

Last chance to book on this fantastic children’s half term Circus School is this Friday. Drop your kids off at 9 am and collect at 3 pm and see what amazing circus skills they have learned!

There is the chance to complete a Discover Arts Award through this as well as collecting Children’s University stamps.

Passport to Learning image






Don’t miss out on your place! – Book now at…/