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Project information

Return to the Workhouse Cabaret

Return to the Workhouse Cabaret project is led by activist/presenter, Liz Carr and celebrates International Day of Disabled People. Our project brings disabled artists and activists UK-wide together to remember their history and celebrate survival with a one-night only programme of music and debate.

December 2017 - December 2017

Charity information: Chats Palace Arts Centre

Chats Palace Arts Centre logo
  • Need


    In the late 80’s and early 90’s Chats Palace regularly played host to the Workhouse Cabaret where disabled artists, activists and performers from all over the UK came together for a night of riotous and ramshackle entertainment. Thirty years later, it seems little has changed for Disabled people. The Return to the Workhouse Cabaret project allows the Disabled community autonomy in deciding how best to celebrate International Day of Disabled People in a way that reflects their current concerns


    The Return to the Workhouse Cabaret project brings the Disabled community back together to remember its history and celebrate its survival. Liz hosts a programme that is life-affirming and combative, giving a public voice back to those who may feel themselves to be marginalised. Chats Palace is fully accessible for performers, participants and audience: assistance animals are welcomed. The live event includes two sign language interpreters and is live-streamed to an audience across the world.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To bring the Disabled community together to celebrate International Day of Disabled People


    » To create/host a one-night only event , Return to the Workhouse Cabaret in December 2017 at Chats Palace Arts Centre.

    What success will look like

    We will host a one-off event - Return to the Workshop Cabaret - at Chats Palace in December 2017. This event will be free to attend and widely promoted to our target audience.

    Aim 2

    To ensure the Disabled community have complete autonomy to shape and programme the event.


    » To invite respected activist, comedian, actor and presenter Liz Carr to lead this project.

    What success will look like

    Liz Carr will champion and host the project. The event programme will comprise participating artists and activists drawn UK-wide from the Disabled community.

  • Impact


    This project engages Disabled people in a creatively independent framework and is designed to deliver high quality, challenging, enjoyable experiences. By its very nature it will be an inspiring experience, bringing to the fore a vulnerable, often marginalised sector of our community, giving them a public voice. Additional positive, long-lasting impact includes creating new networks for collaboration and a replicable framework for projects with similar themes of supporting community resilience.


    We have devised this project in partnership with the Disabled community and in response to a direct request from Liz Carr. A pilot project run in 2016 enables us to ensure that peer review and participant feedback from this event may be integrated as a way of improving and consolidating the reach, impact and quality of the project. By working in this co-operative partnership we can be confident that we deliver to our core project aims and achieve the outcomes we have set as project goals.


    We will engage with our project community through written/digital channels as project timeline continues. Post-event evaluation will include filmed material, discussion with participants and written evaluation forms. Feedback will be collated in a project report and shared as a source of inspiration

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £4,775

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £800 Artist Fees Liz Carr
      £500 Artist Expenses 20 participants @ £25 each
      £800 Other Fees Project Manager
      £500 Sign Interpreters 2 @ £250 each (live event)
      £200 Sundry Expenses Travel, parking & hospitality (live event)
      £735 Venue Hire Theatre - 12 hrs
      £440 Event Staff Technician, Front of House & Box Office
      £800 Marketing Poster/Flyer design, printing, distribution & advertising
  • Background


    Chats Palace is an inclusive, inter-generational arts centre. By championing creativity, dialogue and debate we aim to make a meaningful contribution to the health, well-being and cohesion of our east London community. We are located in one of the most deprived wards in England: Hackney is London’s 6th most ethnically diverse borough (GLA, Diversity Index, Census 2011): UK’s 2nd most deprived borough (IMD 2010) and has among the lowest level of adult arts engagement in England (ACE, 2010).


    This project will directly benefit Disabled people and, by implication the wider community. It aims to unlock creative potential in individuals and communities by presenting an inclusive, entertaining and inspiring cultural and creative activity. Part of a programme that is rooted in questions and concerns that engage us daily, with participation and education at its heart - its expresses our committed role to advance community engagement by disabled, disadvantaged and socially excluded people.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    This project is part of a plan that reclaims Chats Palace’ reputation as an innovator with strong civic purpose. We believe that offering outstanding creative experiences for our community and operating as a robust social enterprise, we present an exemplary model for cultural venues of tomorrow. At a time of rapid social/economic change, our role is crucial: we provide creative and educational opportunities to tackle inequalities and offer a welcoming space for community encounter and dialogue.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Liz Carr