Play: “recreation with the emphasis on the last three syllables”*

We’re all familiar with evidence that indicates the significance of play in children’s development – it’s recorded in policy papers, discussed in the media and even enshrined in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

But what about the rest of us?

“Grown-ups” are increasingly appreciating the importance of including play in all aspects of their lives. In the words of psychiatrist Dr Stuart Brown, ‘The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression’. Companies such as Google famously incorporate space and time to play into their employees’ schedules and offices to boost productivity, and it is widely acknowledged that the best way to figure out the solution to a problem is to approach it with an open, expansive and playful frame of mind. As Albert Einstein put it, “Play is the highest form of research”.June 20, 2013_Stock_Shots_009

Here at Spitalfields Music, we recognise the importance of allowing artists and audiences to have opportunities to play as a means of giving free reign to creativity. Carl Jung wrote that “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct”, and, with that in mind, we encourage musicians to present “works in progress” in our festivals, collaborate with artists who specialise in improvisation or on-the-spot composition, and facilitate spontaneous exchanges between artist and audience through projects such as Musical Rumpus and Sound Explorers.

On Saturday 4 June, Spitalfields Music will take over the gardens of Shoreditch Church, and invite people of all ages to set aside time to celebrate the spirit of play. Through interactive workshops, informal drop-in sessions, unusual installations and uplifting live performances, we aim to inspire you to spend the afternoon creating, experimenting and exploring.

On Saturday morning we will also be holding a singing workshop in Shoreditch Church. Whether you can read music or not, come and sing songs in rounds, make music from a cartoon score, create a human loop station and make a body percussion piece in this innovative workshop exploring music around the theme of play. Tickets are just £15 and include refreshments.

Playspace is a free, un-ticketed event which is open to people of all ages.

(*Lauren Laverne)

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