2021 is fast approaching and we are busy planning a new year of events, exhibitions and commissions. There will be a few changes to the festival, and as part of that we have two exciting announcements.
We are so pleased to announce our new festival director Sebastian Quack. Sebastian is a celebrated artist, game designer and curator who has had work shown across the world (including at Now Play This 2016). Among many things, he is a founding member of the Invisible Playground network, co-director of Trust in Play, European School of Urban Game Design and co-organizer of Drift Club, a platform that facilitates random musical walks through cities around the world. We’re delighted to have his experience and expertise at the helm of Now Play This going forward.
Our second announcement is that Now Play This is officially a Community Interest Company and we are very pleased to announce that we have confirmed our board. We brought together a group of creative and industry professionals who both exemplify and also champion the ideals of Now Play This, from innovative and groundbreaking play, to equal and fair representation in the arts. We have started discussions as to how Now Play This can and should grow in the future, and we hope that under the guidance of our new board we will continue to excel at providing a platform for experimental playful arts across the UK and beyond. If you would like to know more about our board members please visit our about page here.
A note from our new festival director Sebastian Quack
Since its launch in 2015, Now Play This has been one of the biggest inspirations to me. The festival’s wide horizon, its charming humour and complex thinking, its accessibility and continuous innovation has been one of a kind.
I’m thrilled to be able to join the fantastic team behind the festival and to help continue the groundbreaking work of festival director Holly Gramazio and 2020 guest director Marie Foulston. (Talk about some amazing footsteps to follow in! Luckily both will continue to be part of the new Now Play This board.)
One of the things that excites me most about the years ahead is the thematic work that only an event like Now Play This is able to pursue. We have arrived at a cultural moment in which it has become possible for play, in its unique way, to speak about other things than play. From the challenges societies face in improving democratic systems, to the way love and relationships are changing, to the way technology shapes every-day lives – all of these look very different when examined through the lense of experimental games and play culture.
Now Play This will always celebrate the surprises, the community, the beauty and the wild, pure fun of experimental game design – but on top of that, I hope it can become a festival that tells us, with each new iteration, in a wider sense: “This is now in play”.
We are already hard at work developing the 2021 theme, which will revolve around the relationship between play and the escalating climate crisis. The festival will explore what play and games can teach us about the dynamics of agency, resource management, cooperation and protest. We are moving as many parts of the programme as possible into the outdoor urban environment, and we are reflecting on the ways in which games are also complicit in the destruction of our planet’s long-term habitability.
Stay tuned for a detailed announcement in January, when we launch the programme! Meanwhile, if you haven’t yet, be sure to explore the game selection and videos from this year’s Now Play This at Home edition