Winifred Ward and Harriet Finlay-Johnson, LARP’s Forgotten Mothers

I have backgrounds in two communities that do not realize they are related. Mostly, this is because they are not aware of each other. Their members tend to move in different spaces both physically and intellectually, and they are each sufficiently obscure that few people from one are likely to see articles or information about the other. It is in an effort to correct this that I have written this article.

The two communities are Creative Drama and Live Action Roleplaying.

Recently, members of the Live Action Roleplaying (LARP) community held the second Living Games Conference. As this was partially an academic conference, there were a wide variety of presentations and talks, many of which were filmed and are available for viewing online. Although I could not attend myself, one of the most fascinating segments for me was the Role-playing and Simulation in Education Conference Hub. As you can see from the archived videos, there are many educators and gamers exploring ways to use immersive improvisational roleplay as an educational tool. There is some great work that these presenters are doing, and you should definitely check it out.

The only thing that’s missing is the awareness that this practice already has a 100-year-old academic legacy, and it’s called Creative Drama. Continue reading

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