The People’s Palace of Possibility

2019 – Current

Director: Malaika Cunningham

Writer: Joseph Houlders

Dramaturgy: Zelda Hanay

Producer: Linda Bloomfield

Sound Design/Composer: Lee Affen

Set Design: Sarah Lewis-Cole (May-July 2019), Bethany Wells (ongoing)

Digital Design: Joe Bunce

Illustration/Graphic design: Hannah Roast

Performers: Rose Gray and Reuben Johnson


Other artistic collaborators: Joe Kriss, Stan Skinny, Anna Forlati, Ruben Karsberg, Natalie Hillman, Coralie Turpin, Ruth Nutter and Steve Pool


With special thanks to Tim Jackson, Marit Hammond, Gabe Bruce, Invisible Flock and Clive Wilmer.

We have been developing The People’s Palace of Possibility since May 2019 in partnership with The Guild of Saint George, Ruskin-in-Sheffield, Lancaster Arts, Theatre Deli Sheffield and Warwick Arts Centre. In 2020 we delivered the postal Palace to 150 people in Sheffield, Doncaster and London in collaboration with the Albany. In 2021 we are working in collaboration with Lancaster Arts, ARC Stockton, Right Up Our Street and Attenborough Arts Centre.


Supported by Arts Council England, The Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity and Keele University.

In The People’s Palace of Possibility we ask questions about the future—how to make it better, fairer, kinder. It doesn’t have to be a massive change. Just steps in the right direction.


The Palace exists to shape the future that is coming our way: tomorrow, next year, next century.


“…Does the Palace actually exist?” The Palace started as a fiction. But it is becoming a real thing. We will be building a Palace. Very slowly. These things take time.


“So, it’s like a character from a book coming to life?” Yeah, a bit.


What the Palace is, and what it will become, is still changing:


It began as a theatre show, where the audience was invited to describe their own utopia, and to talk about how it could be realised. The audience became “Palace Citizens” and reimagined the world.  We used a lot of cardboard and clay.


When Covid appeared on the scene, the Palace had to arrive in the post: as letters, and recordings, as a place that was imagined from home. Palace Citizens declared their utopian visions in their neighbourhoods. They seemed to get into it and together created this archive:


More recently we’ve decided to make the Palace a real place. Maybe it’s a building downtown, or a woodland, or a takeaway van. It will be somewhere you can actually visit. Right now we are building it room by room. We’ll be posting more about this soon.


Hope to see you at the Palace one day,


The Bare Project


CHECK OUT THE PALACE RADIO! Including memories, recipes, and the crunchy bits of what food justice means, and the politics of kitchens…

On Some Hour, On Some Day, there was a Mood that Appeared, out of Nowhere. It Was Passed On Through Cities and Forests and Cafes and Government Buildings, And Probably To Your House, and Down the Little Alleyway Towards the River Where The Rats Wash. The Mood Was A Good Mood. A Warm Bubble at The Back of Your Throat Kind of Mood. Things are Very Good. Extremely Wonderfully Excellent. And So Nothing Need Change. The Mood Told You That The Situation You Are In Is Perfect and So Anything or Anyone Who Threatens It Is To Be Pursued, And Talked To.


Remember: Don’t Think About It. Just Enjoy it.


Set within a world in which change is deemed impossible and imagining alternatives is heresy, the People’s Palace of Possibility offers a collection of radical alternatives to resist the oppressive Consensus. It is about not letting anyone tell you the world is the only way it can be, and imagining other ways it could be…


Our job, as Palace Citizens, is to challenge the prevailing consensus through radical acts of imagination. As the mysteries of the Palace unfold, citizens are invited to listen in on visions and conversations which have come before, model new worlds, and add their visions and fears to the Palace.


We are currently undertaking a postal and digital chapter of the Palace involving 250 Palace Citizens in Lancaster and Morcambe, Stockton, Doncaster and Leicester – click on the links to sign up. It is ever growing.


To explore the Palace Archive, and become a citizen yourself, click here.

We will be touring the live version of The People’s Palace of Possibility across the UK in 2021 and 2022, once lock-down restrictions are eased, alongside our Story Swap Cafe. Please get in touch if you are interested in hosting us.

Malaika Cunningham

Joseph Houlders

Zelda Hanay

Linda Bloomfield

Sound Design/Composer
Lee Affen

Set Design
Sarah Lewis-Cole (May-July 2019), Bethany Wells (ongoing)

Digital Design
Joe Bunce

Illustration/Graphic Design
Hannah Roast

Rose Gray and Reuben Johnson

Other artistic collaborators
Joe Kriss, Stan Skinny, Anna Forlati, Ruben Karsberg, Natalie Hillman, Coralie Turpin, Ruth Nutter and Steve Pool

With special thanks to
Tim Jackson, Marit Hammond, Gabe Bruce, Invisible Flock and Clive Wilmer.

Photography by Julian Cole

Such a thought-provoking and enthusiastic, imploring installation. More, more, more please!

Audience response, Millennium Gallery Sheffield, May 2019

There were just the right balance of activities- beautifully thought out and executed.

Audience response, Theatre Delicatessen Sheffield, July 2019

A great space for collaboratively thinking about the future and how we want to get there!

Audience response, Warwick Arts Centre, October 2019

It was very inspiring and F.U.N!!

Audience response, Lancaster Arts, November 2019

Related reading:

  • In November, The Bare Project hosted The People’s Palace of Possibility at the Gregson Centre in Lancaster as part of the Festival of Social Sciences with Lancaster University. The Palace focused specifically on the notion of ritual, stepping outside...

  • Back in the first lockdown of 2020, we adapted our project The People’s Palace of Possibility to take the form of an interactive story of rebellion told through the post. Over six hundred people across the country took part – participants...

  • Like many of us across the world, this spring all our plans fell apart. The first national tour of The People’s Palace of Possibility was all booked in and we were preparing to hit the go button. We had a dream team of artists and venues from the Hig...

  • It is snowy in Sheffield today, making everything very bright and clean-looking. It is crisp and cold. From my window I can see a man exercising in gloves and a hat in his back garden. I hope you managed to have a breather over Christmas and New Year...

  • by Jessica Mistry This was my first time being immersed in the world of theatre. It always seemed exciting and different, but I never had much understanding of what was involved creatively or how open it could be. Throughout this experience I have b...