May 25 to May 31 2015 at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival
“It is audacious to believe that the city might build happiness just by changing it’s shape. But it is foolish not to chase the thought, because around the world, and especially in the sprawling landscapes of North America, the evidence shows that cities do indeed design our lives.” —Charles Montgomery, Happy City
Me on the Map, is a participatory theatre show for kids about civic engagement and collective, ethical decision-making. Kids are empowered to re-imagine their city’s ideas of public spaces while considering values such as inclusion/exclusion, happiness/hardship and spontaneity/predictably. Waterpark, pony stable, housing for all? Urban forest or rocket launcher? The kids decide and deliberate: If we can’t have it all how do we be fair and still have fun?
The show is set up as a brainstorm with a series of group activities designed to loosen up our imaginations and identify what’s most important to this particular group of citizens today. Together, we amalgamate all the designs, figure out what community values are most important to us, and fine-tune our choices to help make Vancouver the Happiest City. But just when we think we’ve got an agreement, the developers show up with a big surprise. The audience works together to collectively and ethically redesign the space. The kids decide and deliberate: if we can’t have it all, how do we be fair and still have fun?
The experience of Me On The Map begins before the performance, in the classroom with hands-on activities that introduce students to concepts of inclusive design, collective and ethical decision-making, as well as some elements of urban planning and happiness studies. Shows for the general public allow time to bring kids and their caregivers up to speed before joining in the fun.
The city planner is performed by award-winning improviser, comedienne and educator Jan Derbyshire. Me On The Map is commissioned by the Vancouver International Children’s Festival.
Co-created by Adrienne Wong and Jan Derbyshire
For technical and show-specific info click on our downloadable tour package:
We acknowledge the financial support of the BC Arts Council, The Telus Community Board and The Koerner Foundation.
Animation by Dana Ayoette and voiced by Jan Derbyshire. Photo of Juliet Hindle and Hadrian Anderson-Zalaudek by Gaelan Beatty and Beatty Oei Photography. Illustration and archival photos by Matt Reznek. Thank you to Eric Young’s class at Lord Kelvin Elementary for letting us photograph their Me on the Map experience!