Now Play This first ran in 2015. We had half a dozen rooms of games and opened them for three days, testing out the idea of a festival that at game design in all its forms: videogames, board games, playful sculpture, interactive poetry, work by any artists who have play at the heart of their practice.
We didn’t want to argue about the value of games as a cultural form; instead, we wanted to behave as if that argument had already been won, and then experiment with different ways to show work we cared about. We’ve always worked hard to create a show that invites multiple audiences – designers, games enthusiasts, families, people who just think it sounds like an interesting way to pass an hour or two – and that treats games seriously, exploring the medium and the things that people are doing within it, inviting visitors to think in new ways about game-related work and about the game-making process.
Now, five festivals later, we’re looking for a new director to lead the festival and help us develop our direction for the future. Holly and George (director and digital curator/assistant director for the first five years) are moving on (though they’ll still be on the Now Play This board), and we want someone who’s excited to build on the Now Play This that exists and bring their own new perspective. Someone who will collaborate with our existing production team to work on themes and games and interpretive text and commissions and all the other thousand bits and pieces involved on the curatorial side of the festival; and who will guide Now Play This into its next phase.
It’s not a full time job – generally it peaks around September and October (making an initial festival plan and working with funders), and then again from January to April (getting ready for the festival itself). There’s a job description here – do please have a look, or forward it to people who you think might be interested.
Over the last five years we’ve had thousands of visitors, hundreds of games, dozens of commissions, so many amazing artists and collaborators. It’s been an exciting time. Let’s find out what’s next!