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IndieCade Playable Theatre Symposium
Apr. 4-5, 2024

The IndieCade Playable Theater Symposium is back with exciting speakers, conversations, workshops on “playshops” for creators working at the intersection of theatre, games and live action roleplaying. 

Event is online-only. By attending IndieCade you agree to follow our Code of Conduct.

Check out two of our past sessions:

Schedule

Thursday, April 4

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time.
Located on special Zoom sessions.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Welcome & Town Hall
Caro Murphy and Celia Pearce
Join Playable Theatre’s directors & board to discuss our upcoming 2024 initiatives and program priorities

Zoom
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Keynote Address by Hanxi Li
Hanxi Li is the cofounder of Yiming Jingren, a company that specializes in developing immersive entertainment and education shows in the cities of Beijing, Chengdu, and Chongqing. Their Ming Dynasty immersive town has hosted over 10k visitors since opening in 2021.

Zoom
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

DrachenFest US Team
Bela Turk, Carissa Donker, Daniel Comstock, Sammy Stone, Zachary Hershberger
DrachenFest US is a festival-style larp, and the largest live action role playing game on American soil. Learn from this incredible team!

Zoom
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Gaming For An Audience
Bianca, Carlos, joolz
The Pod Has Been Cast is an amazing actual-play podcast. Learn about playing for an audience from the creators and cast-members.

Zoom
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Adrienne Mackey
Adrienne Mackey is the Founder & Artistic Director of Swim Pony, a PA-based immersive and interactive company!

Zoom
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Larp: You’re Halfway There Anyways
Ryan Hart is the cofounder of Sinking Ship Creations, a NYC-based company that is pioneering bringing larp and immersive experiences to broad new audiences.

Zoom
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Alistair Aitcheson Performance!
Come see a live show by this indie developer and performer making interactive performances and alternative controller games. Alistair has won awards at IndieCade in 2015, 2017 and 2022 and is co-host of the Beyond Screens Alternative Controller show.

Zoom & Twitch

Friday, April 5

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time.
Located on special Zoom sessions.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Keynote by Risa Puno
Risa Puno is an NYC-based interactive installation artist who creates disarmingly playful experiences that help us better understand difficult social topics. Her award-winning work has been featured across radio and print, including in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and NPR.

Zoom
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Arlo Howard
Arlo Howard (they/them) is an international award winning, non-binary creator working at the intersection of theatre and games. Their work focuses on creating positive change and learning through playful theatrical experiences and games.

Zoom
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Building a Better Evermore
Stephen Dinehart is an award-winning themed attraction designer, game designer, and experience designer.

Zoom
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Heidi Coleman
Heidi Coleman is an Associate Senior Instructional Professor at The University of Chicago and the co-founder of The Fourcast Lab. This transmedia design collective creates Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), pervasive games, cross-platform stories, and networked performances.

Zoom
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

David and Lisa Spira
Wry cheerleaders, critics, and ambassadors of the escape room world, talking about the evolution of these playful escapes.

Zoom
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Networking & Debrief
Join us in Gather.Town for a mocktail/cocktail wind down in our virtual pub. Network and chat with the community!

Gather Town

Meet Our Speakers

Adrienne Mackey

– Swim Pony –

Adrienne Mackey is a multidisciplinary artist who fuses live performance and game design to explore the potential of performance and play.

Alistair Aitcheson

– Independent Creator –

Indie developer and performer making interactive performances and alternative controller games. Alistair has won awards at IndieCade in 2015, 2017 and 2022 and is co-host of the Beyond Screens Alternative Controller show.

Arlo Howard

Arlo Howard They/Them is an international award winning, non-binary creator working at the intersection of theatre and games. Their work focuses on creating positive change and learning through playful theatrical experiences and games.

Bela Turk

– DrachenFest US –

Bela Turk is the City Director of DrachenFest US, and has been a staff member of DrachenFest Germany for 10 years. Outside of LARP, Bela is an MD in academic medicine at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at the Johns Hopkins University.

Carissa Donker

– DrachenFest –

Carissa Donker is the Production Oversight and Marketing Director of DrachenFest US. Additionally, she’s part of the lead staff team of DrachenFest Germany. As a bi-lingual native speaker, her efforts have been critical in translating the European ‘Festival Larp’ model and bringing it to the USA in the form of DrachenFest US.

Her interests are in gameplay production, lore & plot development, and costume design.

Daniel Comstock

– DrachenFest-US –

Dan Comstock is the director of DrachenFest US. Dan Comstock had his mind blown by larps many times, each one escalating him to a new tier of madness. His mission is to bring immersive roleplay festival style larping to the US, and eventually to build a larger space for families in larps.

David & Lisa Spira

– Room Escape Artist –

Wry cheerleaders, critics, and ambassadors of the escape room world.

Lisa and David Spira founded Room Escape Artist in 2014. There they publish daily well-researched, rational, and reasonably humorous escape room reviews, design tips, player tips, and industry commentary.

Their professional expertise includes User Experience and Speech Writing (David) and Language Technology and Data Analytics (Lisa). They have experience managing projects, teams, and products in different areas of technology.

Hanxi Li

– Yimingjingren Co. –

I am Hanxi Li. I just finished my first Master degree in Sustainability Management program at School of Professional Studies in Columbia University.

I Co-founded Yimingjingren, a company that specializes in the immersive reality entertainment shows and games in Beijing since the year of 2020.

Heidi Coleman

– The University Of Chicago –

Heidi Coleman is an Associate Senior Instructional Professor at The University of Chicago and the co-founder of The Fourcast Lab. This transmedia design collective creates Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), pervasive games, cross-platform stories, and networked performances.

The Pod Has Been Cast

Bianca, Carlos, and joolz are Chicago nerds part of The Pod Has Been Cast Network. We’re passionate about creating safe inclusive tables and driving compelling narratives using the device of gameplay.

The Pod Has Been Cast is a collaborative and creative ttrpg actual play podcast dedicated to making earnest, engaging, and intriguing stories where queerness is central and community is cultivated. Agile, inventive, and always down to have a good time, our team knows firsthand the joy and catharsis of connecting with characters—and the power that connection provides us, around the table or around the world. 

Risa Puno

– Interactive Installation Artist –

Risa Puno is an NYC-based interactive installation artist who creates disarmingly playful experiences that help us better understand difficult social topics. Her award-winning work has been featured across radio and print, including in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and NPR.

Ryan Hart

– Sinking Ship Creations –

One of Blooloop’s top 50 influencers of 2023, Ryan is a larp designer and producer out of New York City. He’s previously presented at IndieCade, Knudepunkt and Living Games on topics ranging from violence in larp to immersive marketing.

Sammy Stone

– DrachenFest US –

Sammy is the Policy Director at DrachenFest US and has as deep passion for improving the design and accessibility of live action games.

Sammy has a background in mental health as a social worker with a focus on group dynamics and circle process. Their approach to gaming is trauma sensitive and informed by an understanding of human motivations and needs. Their belief in play as a form of truth telling runs almost as deep as their passion for arming even the most casual participant in becoming their own best storyteller.

Stephen Dinehart

– Wonderfilled –

Prof Stephen E. Dinehart IV is a director, designer, writer, artist, and educator, based in the USA. Renowned for his groundbreaking work in themed entertainment and games, he is the founder and CEO of Wonderfilled, Inc., and an assistant professor at the University of Tampa College of Arts and Letters Department of Film, Animation, and New Media.

Zachary Hershberger

– DrachenFest US –

Zach is a LARP writer and storyteller who created Dammerung, Dead Legends and Malleus. He now works as painter and the Design Director at Drachenfest US.

Meet Our Organizers

Caro Murphy

Playable Theatre Co-Executive Director
Northeastern University Visiting Associate Teaching Professor

Caroline Murphy, or Caro, is a game and interactive experience designer. Currently a Visiting Associate Professor at Northeastern University, Caro’s career includes a notable tenure as Immersive Experience Director for Disney’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. Caro serves as Executive Creative Director of Incantrix Productions, crafting independent interactive experiences globally and collaborating with writers and designers worldwide. With a rich background in education, they have taught everywhere from leading institutions such as Harvard and MIT to small nonprofits arts organizations targeting children in underserved communities. They are also proud of their ten-year leadership of BostonFIG, fostering the next generation of game creators.

Celia Pearce

Playable Theatre Co-Executive Director
Northeastern University Professor of Game Design

Celia Pearce is an award-winning game designer, artist, curator, author, teacher, and serial instigator. She is a full Professor at Northeastern University, and is co-founder and Festival Chair of IndieCade. Her games have been featured at Come Out & Play, Different Games, Incubate, Smithsonian Indie Arcade, and BostonFIG, where here game eBee received the award for most Innovative Tabletop Game. Her publications include Communities of Play (MIT) and Meet Me at the Fair: A World’s Fair Reader (ETC/CMU Press). Her current research and creative practice builds on her pre-academia career as an experience designer for theme parks and is focused on the intersection between game design, live action roleplaying and theatre.

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