We are delighted to announce the lineup of guest scientists for the Street Theatre shows this August.

Each performance of Best Festival Ever will include a brief Q&A style conversation with a guest scientist, who will discuss some of the ideas and concepts from the show in relation to their own work. We will be joined by top level futurists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists and complex systems scientists, sharing their expertise and answering your questions.

This informal post-show chat will take place over a complimentary glass of wine. This is a pretty delightful opportunity to come face to face with some of Australia’s leading scientists, and we are extremely excited about our guests.

The lineup of guests is as follows:

Wednesday 12 August - Will Steffen (Climate Council)
Will Steffen is an American chemist. He was the executive director of the Australian National University (ANU) Climate Change Institute and a member of the Australian Climate Commission until its abolishment in September 2013. He currently represents The Climate Council.

Thursday 13 August - Brian Walker (CSIRO)
Brian H. Walker is a scientist specialising in ecological sustainability and resilience in socio-ecological systems. He is currently a Research Fellow with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems and is also Program Director and Chair of the Board of the Resilience Alliance, an international research group working on sustainability of social-ecological systems.

Friday 14 August - Nicky Grigg (CSIRO)
Nicky Grigg works with the CSIRO in interdisciplinary teams on a diverse range of projects concerned with global change and social-ecological systems. She brings experience in mathematical modelling and analysis of social-ecological systems.

Saturday 15 August - Joanne Daly (CSIRO)
Joanne Daly has worked for the CSIRO for over 30 years and is currently a Strategic Advisor and a former Group Executive of Agribusiness and Chief of Division. Her activities focus on strategy for national research collections and in agricultural sciences, particularly transformational agriculture.

Sunday 16 August - Eleanor Malbon (RegNet)
Eleanor Malbon studied Human Ecology with a specialisation in system dynamics and collaborative conceptual modelling. At RegNet she works as a research assistant to Professor Sharon Friel to provide system dynamics expertise to a number of health equity related research projects.

Thursday 20 August - Steve Cork (ANU)
Steven Cork is an adjunct professor at the ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy.

Friday 21 August - John Finnigan (CSIRO)
John Finnigan is Director of the CSIRO Centre for Complex Systems Science.

Saturday 22 August - Bob Costanza (ANU)
Robert Costanza is a leading ecological economist and Professor of Public Policy at the Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University. His specialties include: transdisciplinary integration, systems ecology, ecological economics, landscape ecology, ecological modeling, ecological design, energy analysis, environmental policy, social traps, incentive structures and institutions.

The show runs 7.00 – 9.00pm (including the conversation) and tickets are $20. You can book on the Street Theatre website – get to yr spaceships.

We are really looking forward to bringing this piece home to Canberra – hopefully we will see some of you there.

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Okay so we are excited to announce that we will be bringing Boho’s Best Festival Ever: How To Manage A Disaster to Canberra this August.

We’ll be at the Street Theatre for two weeks over 12 – 22 August.

This will be the first Boho show in Canberra since Word Play in 2013, and the first presentation of Best Festival Ever in Australia. After premiering the show last year with seasons at the Battersea Arts Centre, the London Science Museum and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, we’re really stoked to be bringing this one home.

Best Festival Ever: How To Manage A Disaster places the audience in charge of programming and managing their very own music festival.

Seated around a table, participants take charge of designing, constructing and managing their festival from beginning to end. From taking care of rowdy campsite parties to assembling the perfect lineup of bands, from dealing with artist tantrums to preventing fights in the moshpit, the audience experience every part of the festival manager’s ride.

Part theatre show, part performance lecture and part boardgame, Best Festival Ever introduces participants to concepts from Systems Science and asks how we can best understand and manage the complex systems we live in.

Each of the Canberra shows will feature a conversation with a guest scientist talking about the ideas in the work, including Dr Will Steffen (Climate Council), Dr Bob Costanza (ANU) and Dr Nicky Grigg (CSIRO).

Following the conclusion of Big Day Out, Harvest, Future Music, Stereosonic, the Great Escape and Parklife Festivals, this might be your last chance to experience a music festival in Australia: jump on board.

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David here with a final wrap-up note at the end of the first Best Festival Ever season. After 17 shows in 9 venues in London and Stockholm, we’ve finished the show’s first tour and returned to Australia for a break – as well as to plan and prepare for the project’s next phase.

Over November, we presented the show at venues including the Battersea Arts Centre, the London Science Museum, Central St Martins, Kings College London, Forum for the Future, Zone Creative Agency, Färgfabriken, Miljöverkstan and the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

We shared the work with theatre audiences, scientists, high school students, sustainable development post-grads, researchers, festival-makers, urban planners, museum staff and corporate groups.

Fereday Films produced a great video of the show in action, which you can check out here:

Perhaps the most satisfying part of the work for me was the discussions with the audience we held after the show. For our Science Museum season, scientists Yvonne Rydin, James Millington, Chris Brierley and Emily Lines presented short talks after the shows, discussing their own work in relation to the systems science ideas in Best Festival Ever. The conversations about sustainability, planning, climate change and complex systems were incredibly rewarding to listen to.

That’s it for Best Festival Ever in 2014. In 2015 we’ll be looking at further tours for the show both within Australia and overseas. We’re also seeking to begin partnerships with other organisations to develop new interactive tabletop works looking at specific systems.

If you’re interested in knowing more, or if you’d like to chat about a possible collaboration, please drop us a line. And thanks to everyone who contributed their support to make this project happen – we’re hugely grateful!

Cheers from David, David, Nikki, Nathan and Rachel!

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David here – another quick update from the Best Festival Ever rehearsal room.

Exciting times this week – six weeks into this development, we’re about to begin our first public season. We arrived at the Battersea Arts Centre today and began setting up for our short scratch season, starting this Thursday 30th. After six big weeks, we finally get to share the results of our work.

It’s been a busy month. David, Nathan, Rachel, Nikki and myself have been devising and rehearsing full-time at the London Science Museum, working on bringing together the climate and systems science concepts behind this show with the story and game elements.

We took a brief excursion to Germany for International Spieltage, the world’s biggest boardgame convention, worked extensively with our extraordinary designer Gary Campbell on the tactile set and game elements, and held several playtests with Science Museum staff and friends.

You can see more videos on our Vimeo channel. These scratches were aimed at helping us calibrate and test the games in the show, and to be sure that they’ve effectively captured the science concepts they draw on.

Starting this week, we’re embarking on a busy month of shows. Following our week at Battersea Arts Centre, we’ll be presenting a public season at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre, a week at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and a series of one-off performances for organisations such as Kings College London and Forum for the Future.

One of our key aims for this project is to communicate ideas around Systems and Resilience Thinking to a broad range of groups, so we’re pleased to be sharing the work with theatre audiences, science audiences, high school students, post-graduates, social innovation organisations and corporate groups, all in the next month.

Public show dates are as follows – you can book through the websites below.

Battersea Arts Centre
7pm Thursday 30 Oct
7pm Friday 31 Oct
7pm Saturday 1 Nov

Science Museum Dana Centre
7pm Tuesday 11 Nov
7pm Monday 17 Nov
7pm Tuesday 18 Nov
7pm Wednesday 19 Nov

Hope to see you there!

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David here, with an update from the final phase of Best Festival Ever: How To Manage A Disaster.

David, Nikki, Nathan, Rachel and myself are two weeks in to our development / rehearsal process at the London Science Museum’s Dana Centre, completing the last stage of the show’s development before our public UK / Sweden seasons in November. We’re working with Tassos Stevens from UK company Coney as our outside eye, and designer Gary Campbell is constructing our interactive tabletop set.

We’ve spent the first fortnight closely re-examining the science behind the show – returning to our research into complex systems and how they behave. Our show features a simple model of a music festival, intended to be illustrative rather than comprehensive, but it’s important that it clearly demonstrates the systems properties we’re interested in: interconnectivity, feedback loops, tipping points, phase transitions and resilience, to name a few. Over the last two weeks we’ve re-worked our model of how a music festival exists within, and impacts on, the countryside and community it takes place on.

Now we’re satisfied that the science underpinning the work is all there, we can move on to refining the games and the stories that we use to illustrate these ideas – the story of the music festival that the audience are managing. Last Friday we hit our first major milestone, a playtest of three of our newer interactive games. The results were really promising – some great conversations about Tragedy of the Commons situations in between games about laying down pathways to connect the festival site and assigning electricity from the generators.

We have three more weeks of development and playtests before our first scratch season at the Battersea Arts Centre at the end of October. We kick off our public season proper at the Dana Centre on 11 November, followed by a week-long tour to the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

If you’d like to track our progress, we’ve been keeping a detailed project blog about the process of making the work at modellingplay.wordpress.com

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