Community Events

Old Town Hall Fun Palace 2016

Fun Palaces

Sunday 2 October - Everyone an Artist, Everyone a Scientist

Fun Palace event - montage of images

Last October hundreds of people took part in a wide variety of free arts and science activities at The Old Town Hall’s Fun Palace, celebrating arts and culture in the community.

This year's Fun Palace will be opening its doors on Sunday 2 October, 11am - 4pm.

Join us for a free fun-filled day of arts, crafts, music, performances and workshops for all ages.

The Science Colour Lab
The Cellar Club will be transformed into a Colour Science Laboratory with Mirror Mirror Education hosting a fun, interactive and theatrical workshop. Making use of overhead, slide and digital projectors, clipboard-wielding chromatic scientists Daphne and Delia quiz visitors to a the labyrinthine laboratory of moving, tangible screens. After enjoying a sequence of projections, participants will have the opportunity to create pictures, patterns and colour mixing and even project themselves!

Arts & Crafts Workshops
Professional artists will be running workshops on drawing, model boat building and other activities. Participants can draw a "selfie", create a cardboard city and take part in the world's biggest drawing festival, "The Big Draw".

Live Music 
Our theatre space will play host to live music performed by a variety of local groups throughout the day. Confirmed acts so far include the Burp Ukulele Group and groups from Dacorum Music School.

Arts Award
Children will also have the opportunity to achieve a Discover Arts Award in a Day, a nationally recognised qualification which supports children to grow as artist, inspiring them to take part and connect in the wider arts world. Read more about Arts Award.

What's it all about?
Fun Palaces is a national campaign for culture at the heart our communities - believing everyone to be an artist and a scientist and was originally a vision of Theatre Director Joan Littlewood and architect Cedric Price in the 1950s. Author and theatre maker, Stella Duffy, who is Co-Director of Fun Palaces nationally and resurrected the Fun Palace vision, dropped into the Old Town Hall last year on a whistle stop tour of the many Fun Palaces happening around the UK. She tweeted "Wow! @TheOldTownHall SO buzzing and bright and LOUD!! #funpalaces brilliance.”

Here are some of the comments from people who came to last year's Fun Palace:

“Hemel Hempstead is rocking”

“It was a fantastic day. Well done all at The Old Town Hall'

“The best day spent at town hall. There was everything for everybody: from babies to grands. A nice event where the community could get involved. Well done to all town hall staff. A big thank you and lots of respect for what you do day by day, but especially for Sunday.”

“Fab family day out”

Alison, Dance Crazy leader, whose dancers performed; “My girls had a fantastic time. They thoroughly enjoyed performing. We would love to be part of it any other time in the future.”

Fun Palaces are free, welcoming annual events combining arts and sciences, made for and with local people. The Fun Palaces campaign is an ongoing movement for culture at the heart of our communities. Find out more at

Big Dance 2016

Students from Hemel Hempstead School, Kings Langley School and The Old Town Hall’s over 55’s dance group, Let's Dance, took part in a specially choreographed dance performance in Hemel Hempstead Town Centre on Friday 20 May.

The event was supported by Get Set Go Dacorum.

Acclaimed choreographer, Akram Khan, devised the “Big Dance” routine, which was performed simultaneously by numerous other groups across the world at 1pm.

Akram’s choreography explored a number of themes and ideas including:
- identity, journey and migration
- connection, human ritual and spirituality
- hope, aspiration and achievement.

Louise White, who leads Let's Dance at The Old Town Hall and organised the event with Ben Russell from Get Set Go Dacorum said: “Big Dance has given The Old Town Hall and local schools the opportunity to work together again. There is some fantastic dance happening in Dacorum and getting our dancers out performing in this event has been very rewarding. It was great to see Hemel Town Centre become a stage for dancers no matter what age!”

In the run up to the event, students from Hemel Hempstead school took part in the official press call for Big Dance in London with new London Mayor Sadiq Khan and choreographer Akram Khan. The students featured on the BBC news and London Live dancing outside City Hall.

The dance took place near the large digital screen in the town centre, surprising and delighting passers-by and a crowd of spectators. Participating students from Kings Langley School were buzzing after the experience saying: “can we do this again in the town centre?”

In addition to raising the profile of The Old Town Hall’s Over 55’s Group, the performance was deemed a success by Kings Langley School who said: “Big Dance 2016 really helped to bring contemporary dance to the forefront for our school - a huge thank you!”

Watch the routine