The Happiness Project

Project partners: Pilot Theatre and the University of York

Exploring what it means to be happy is vitally important to the lives of young people today. In 2019, the UK government released a report on the wellbeing of young people in the country. Findings ranged from highlighting pressures around education and home life, to the complexities of social media and the internet. Learning about happiness and how to seek it, is more important now than ever.

The Happiness Project is an interactive experience that explores joy and happiness in young adults aged 14-25. The project takes the form of a science fiction story and is experienced using a branching narrative and game-like structure. The project will bring together elements of theatre and gaming.

The Happiness Project was originally conceived to be played by up to 30 people at one time, lending itself well to school groups, and in spaces such as offices, studio theatres and school halls. In light of the current pandemic situation, the team are addressing concerns around social distancing and looking at moving more of the project online, which will vastly increase the number of participants, but also help to reduce barriers to accessibility.

Pilot Theatre will place young people at the heart of this project, consulting them at each stage, from development of the gameplay script, co-creation of content, testing the game mechanics in the story, and even the technology developed.

The project is also being assisted by Dr Ben Kirman, from the University of York. Dr Kirman is an expert in location-based and context sensitive games, and has worked and published in these fields extensively, including on projects with the BBC, Telecom Italia, Philips, Honda and The Guardian.

Categories: Arts, Games, Performance