Developing interactive, participatory and playful theatre
Coney is renowned for a kind of playful theatre which marries game-design and dramaturgy, participation design and storytelling, happening in theatres and out in the world.
- Futureplay – director and co-deviser – immersive playing theatre about a playful future activism, commissioned by NESTA for Futurefest, 2013.
- Tonight Our City – co-director and deviser – helping young people making adventures for older audiences through the city as they see it, West Yorkshire Playhouse, 2013.
- Nightwalk – co-deviser – a guided walk on the edge of a city at dusk, scratched in collaboration with Stillhouse, 2013.
- RSVP – co-director and co-deviser – immersive and interactive theatre for audiences with a youth theatre company, collaborating with Dublin Youth Theatre in a commission by Dublin Fringe Festival, 2012.
- The Adventure Principle – co-director and co-deviser – immersive and interactive theatre for audiences with a youth theatre company, collaborating with CYAC and Contact, 2011.
- Making Play In Public Space – a series of workshops on making play in public space and revealing a few of Coney’s secrets (one especially) – run in Melbourne, London, Shoreham-by-Sea, Launceston in Tasmania, Dublin, Leeds, Vienna, Philadelphia.
- A Small Town Anywhere – director and co-author – theatre for a playing audience in an acclaimed run at BAC 2009, Time Out Critics Choice Theatre, and redeveloped for travelling 2012.
- The Loveliness Principle – co-director and co-author – pervasive hunt and installation spreading loveliness, remade in places from BAC 2001-11, Latitude 2011, remade with local people in Undercurrent Festival Shoreham-by-Sea and Junction Festival in Launceston in Tasmania, 2012.
- The Gold-Bug – director, interaction and game designer, co-author – an adventure hosted inside Punchdrunk’s Masque Of The Red Death, BAC 2007-8.
- self-assembly – producer, director, interaction designer – theatre for a playing audience, BAC 2006, Time Out Critics Choice Theatre.
- Games also designed and run for festivals including Hide & Seek, Come Out & Play in New York and Amsterdam, Igfest, Village Green curated by Metal.
Work for and with young people
Coney makes much work for and with young people. It’s an integrated core strand of our work, on an equal footing with all other strands.
- RSVP, The Adventure Principle, Tonight Our City
- Nightmare High – content and research director, game co-designer, producer and facilitator of research with young people – a digital broadcast commission for Channel 4 Education, helping 10-13-year-olds with transition and resilience, collaborating with Somethin Else and Player Three, 2011; winner of a Children’s BAFTA for Best Interactive Programme, 2012.
- SuperMe and SuperMe2 – content and research director, game co-designer, producer and facilitator of research with young people – a digital broadcast commission for Channel 4 Education, helping teenagers with resilience, collaborating with Somethin Else and Preloaded, 2010 and 2012.
- The Castleview Project – co-director and facilitator – a project facilitating a school making a game, commissioned by Creative Partnerships, 2011.
- The House is Round – co-director and facilitator – a residency working with young people to make an adventure for audiences, Roundhouse, 2011.
- The Haringey Speakeasy – director and game co-designer – a game for young people at risk to help them co-design council support services, commissioned by Haringey Council, 2010.
- What About Tomorrow? – director and co-deviser – an adventure for audience made with a youth theatre, BAC 2006.
- Workshops for young people in various venues and contexts for Coney from 2006 to present.
A strand of Coney’s work in formal educational settings is adventures in learning, where a class of children become heroes in an adventure told them through responsive remote storytelling, taking challenges incorporating formal learning facilitated by their teacher. We’re developing research methodology to evaluate the impact of the format, working with a PhD in residence supported by Creativeworks London.
- A Cat Escapes – co-director and co-author – an adventure in learning based on Varjak Paw by SF Said, co-produced with BAC, rolled out nationwide from 2012.
- The Unclassifiables – director and co-author – an adventure in learning based on The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan, co-created with State Library Victoria in Melbourne, piloted in Melbourne primary schools 2011.
- The Astronautical Challenge – co-director and co-author -an adventure in learning about space and science, co-created with Unlimited Theatre and presented with Makewaves, winner of a UK Charity Award 2011.
Coney has innovated and developed lines of digital practice based on a very people-centred approach: how to talk and play with people wherever and whenever they are in an event, and bringing them to the same place – imaginatively as well as location.
- Futureplay, A Small Town Anywhere, The Gold-Bug, SuperMe, Nightmare High, all Adventures in Learning.
- If A Tree… – writer and designer – a digital piece for Royal Opera House made with Scanner, 2010.
- The Moon, The Moon – co-writer and co-designer – a digital piece co-created with Unlimited Theatre and DoTank Studios, 2009.
- I’ve run consultancies on digital strategy and practice for clients including: ITV Drama; Crossover Labs; the RSC; BAC; Northern Stage; with Mecamobile for various cultural institutions; British Council New Zealand; Frieze Magazine; Penguin; Harper Collins; Imperial War Museum.
Making play with ideas, and in response to the world
Coney often makes play to communicate learning and ideas, and in response to real world settings, challenges and issues.
- Making play in public space, The Loveliness Principle, SuperMe, Nightmare High, The Haringey Speakeasy – see above.
- The Loveliness Of Lower Marsh – director, co-deviser, facilitator – an exhibition about a street in Waterloo made in collaboration with a local agency and commissioned by Fantasy High Street, 2013.
- House Of Cards – co-developed, interaction design – a large-scale commission to animate the visitor experience to Kensington Palace, 2012-13.
- Crack The Code – director, co-designer – an adventure and game about cryptography for adult audiences, commissioned by the Science Museum for the Dana Centre, 2007 and 2012.
- The Synaesthesia Machine – exec director, co-designer – a game about synaesthesia and neuroscience for festivals, commissioned by Guerrilla Science, 2009.
- Space Station Dana – co-director, co-designer – a game about going into space with the European Space Agency, commissioned by the Science Museum for the Dana Centre, 2008.
- The Rubbish Game – co-director and co-designer – a game about household waste management with SITA and DEFRA, commissioned by the Science Museum for the Dana Centre, 2008.
Hosting and facilitating others’ work
For Coney’s wider network, a series of formats of open events and spaces for people to meet, play, and exchange ideas.
- A Playful Documentary Unit, hosted in Forest Fringe at the Gate, 2012; in Sprint at CPT, 2013; in Gateshead International Festival Of Theatre, 2013.
- Show + Tell Salons, on science and performance at the Dana Centre, 2012; on activism in Sprint at CPT, 2013; on systems thinking and practice at Tipping Point, Arts Admin, 2013.
- Playdays, regular series of playmaking events at BAC, Tristan Bates Theatre, STK, Shunt, from 2005-13.
- The Garden, an online forum to help develop seeds of ideas and collaborations in Coney’s network, 2007-12.
Speaking and public presentations
I’ve spoken representing Coney in settings including: Manchester International Festival, 2009; Playful in London, 2009; Serious Games Institute, 2009; Shift Happens in York, 2010; Decibel in Manchester, 2010; Theatre Forum Ireland, 2010; RSA State Of The Arts Conference, 2010; British Council Connected Showcase in Tokyo, 2010; Transmedia Victoria in Melbourne, 2011; TEDx in York, 2011; The Story in London, 2011; Improving Reality in Brighton, 2011,; Same (as) salon in London, 2010-12; Coney Show + Tell Salons, 2011-13. I’ve spoken on other projects for: SXSW, 2011; MediaArts Fest, 2011; Play:Vienna, 2013; Grassroots Games Conference, Philadelphia 2013; Expanded Narrative Symposium, 2013.