2017 programme

the-smoke_logo_smallWe’ve assembled a fantastic programme for you! In four larping timeslots in five spaces across two days, you’ll be able to try out the best of larp, in every shape and style. We’ve aimed to have about 50% larps of UK design, and 50% from visitors from other countries.

The larps

Here’s the list! You can click each larp’s name for more details:

🌳 ✋🔦👀⚽👂💨👃↗️ 💭
(Adam James & Hamish MacPherson, UK)
Sunday afternoon, Green Room
We are starting with a question about what kind of encounter can we create without any words.
The fact that you are reading these words shows that this isn’t easy.
Bear with us.
There will be some discussion at the end too.
The Baby Club
(Jamie Harper, Mo Holkar & David Owen, UK)
Saturday afternoon, Turquoise Room
Two couples, who are unable to have children, create fictional children as a coping mechanism. As the years go by, they and their relatives become immersed in their shared fantasy. You will play through two decades of the families’ lives, exploring themes of family, imagination and coping.
Before the End: Situation Room
(Reality Checkpoint LRP: Christopher Lamb, Lorraine McKee, Jack Watkinson and Laura Mitchell, UK)
Saturday afternoon, Pink Room
It’s June 11th 2016. You’ve been called to the Situation Room under the West Wing of the White House for a Crisis Management Meeting as BGD has been found for the first time outside of Europe. With supplies dwindling and the disease barely contained, some of the finest minds in America have been called to find a solution to the problem and provide some hope to the American people in these dark times.
You have been summoned to help ensure order is maintained, a solution to the crisis found and a message of hope spread to the people of America in these hard time. It’s just a routine meeting, all in all. After all, it’s not the end of the world…”
Burning Orchid
(Ben Allen, Nickey Barnard, Martin Jones, Heidi Kaye & Alison Rider Hill, UK)
Sunday afternoon, Orange Room
Set in 1932 at the party celebrating the wrap of location filming for a Hollywood movie. Burning Orchid is an immense blockbuster, detailing the passionate heart of a claustrophobic forbidden love story set in the jungle villages of Guatemala against a background of a country riven by political turmoil. And that’s not just the movie! Glamorous cast, intense emotions, a steamy situation, secrets past and present – who knows where the night will end.
Cherry, Dust, Chair!
(Frida Sofie Jansen, NO)
Sunday morning, Blue Room
There is a land, where people hardly ever speak. This is the land of the giant word factory.
What do you do, when you don’t have the words to express what you really feel? How do you say “I love you” or “Sorry”, if the only words you have available are “escalator” or “school trip”? This is a travel through the value of words, or the lack of them, and this is your story, where no one else can tell you what to feel.
This larp is based on the childrens book: Phileas’s Fortune: A Story about Self-expression by Agnés de Lestrade.
Creator’s Fair
(Francesco Rugerfred Sedda, IT)
Saturday morning, Blue Room
It’s the year 18XX, welcome to the annual Creator’s Fair! A place where the most brilliant creators reunite every year for discussing and presenting their newest automatas.
A scenario about depersonalization, objectification and possession, set in a place with discriminative society norms. Are you really free when breaking the common sense bring you down with shame?
Diamond Geezers
(Graham Arnold, Clare Gardner, Sue Lee & Tym Norris, UK)
Sunday morning, Pink Room
“Newspaper Headline:
The Millennium Dome was raided earlier today by an intrepid armed gang, who used a JCB to break in and steal the De Beers diamonds worth an estimated 220 million pounds. They escaped by speedboat up the Thames.
If you have any information as to their whereabouts call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
The governor Mr Jackson told you to come to meet him early at the lock up, because you’re the only one he trusts, but when you got there he was brown bread. You’ve got just three questions. Who killed him, who will take over the gang, and most importantly where’s the bloody loot?!
Borrowing heavily from the universe of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Layercake and Snatch, this short and potentially rather silly game gives you the chance to release your inner East London Gangster.
The Final Cut
(David Townsend & Liz Hayward, UK)
Saturday afternoon, Orange Room
It is 1953. As the new Queen ascends the throne, Anvil Productions attempt to churn out another of their critically panned but financially successful pot-boiler horror films at Balvinnie Castle, a half ruined castle in the middle of a Scottish loch; the perfect and cheap location. Abandoned since the old laird died, it creaks back into life and the legend of the Beast of Balvinnie Castle seems nothing but a ploy to generate publicity. However, as the evening fog swirls in from the sea, a scream rings out and the mutilated body of a young cast member is found in a locked room. With sightings of serpentine figures underwater and strange noises in the night, will any of the cast and crew live to see the morning or will this be the Final Cut?
Here Comes a Candle
(Laura Wood, UK)
Sunday morning, Turquoise Room
All of you have witnessed the horrors of the authority after they took power. You have seen pain and you all have personally witnessed deaths, seen people disappear and seen the after effect of the torture that the government has inflicted. Maybe some of you were tortured. Maybe you lost friends or loved ones.
So you began to form a resistance group. Quietly and subtly at first; and then as you found each other you began to make bolder moves. Newsletters, stories, graffiti, memorials for the dead. You became like a family.
You got caught.
In a prison cell together you were offered a deal. If one person confesses to being the leader of the resistance movement, that person will die at dawn. The rest of you will go free. Back to your children. Back to your lives. Back to continue the fight. Only one person needs to die. If more than one person confesses, or if no-one confesses, you will all die.You have one hour to decide what to do.
I Say a Little Prayer
(Tor Kjetil Edland, NO)
Sunday afternoon, Turquoise Room
I Say a Little Prayer follows the lives of five young gay men during the early years of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. We play out their sexual and romantic adventures as well as the story of how their friendship evolves over the course of several years in a community hard hit by the epidemic. Through “the lottery of death” we find out who of these friends will die before the story is over and how this shapes the lives of the survivors who live on.
This is a game for those who enjoy playing stories about many-faceted relationships between people and you would like to play out emotional storylines in a fearless way.
Players of any gender can play the game, irrespective of all the characters in the game being men.
The Last Day
(Robin Sutton & Marysia Walczak, UK)
Sunday afternoon, Blue Room
Picture this: you awaken in a room with several others. You do not know who you are, where you are, or why you are there. The room is locked, and the only way out is by solving a fiendishly devious puzzle. The more you learn about yourself, the more your life is in danger. Who are the silent masked figures who appear and vanish at random? And who is controlling your fate?
Welcome to the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life.
Love Letter
(Roger Gammans, Elyssia McCormick Richard Perry & Natalie Curd, UK/US)
Saturday morning, Pink Room
Love Letter is a game about relationships, how they change, endure and survive, or not, when the outside world is itself in turmoil.
Set against the backdrop of World War II, the game starts with the characters meeting the evening before the men go off to war. This is a time to drink and be merry and say farewell, set against the fear it might be the last time they see one another. Is this the last chance to say things which need saying, even if, perhaps, they should not? Is it harder to be the one saying goodbye or the one going off to war?
The Night Café
(Kristoffer Thurøe & Jesper Heebøll, DK)
Saturday afternoon, Blue Room
[this larp was unable to run]
When we sleep, our unconscious mind, the Dream Messengers, build dreams for us to try to send us important messages through the night. Sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t, because they have to hurry up before we wake.
The Night Café is a short version of the larp Before We Wake. It is a surreal, personal larp, where you can explore your dreams.
Old & Wise
(Jantine van den Bosch, NL)
Sunday morning, Orange Room
“Everyone wants to grow old, but no one wants to be it…”
In Old& Wise, we take a peek into the further that awaits us… one of being old. During this scenario, you will experience how it is to be an elderly in an elderly home, while time it passing by, and you slowly loose the grip on your physical and mental abilities and the control of your own life. To feel how it is to fall apart, until death is only a relief.
Expect a realistic game, playing close to home, aiming for emotional moments and confronting you with the lack of purpose in your (elderly) life…
(Sofia Bertilsson, Gustav Nilsson & Elin Gissén, SE)
Saturday afternoon, Green Room
When did you last experience the sensation of being completely and utterly calm? Regression is a larp that will take you gradually from the stressful and demanding life of adulthood, to the world of the small child – a world full of connection, community, playfulness and security. We will let go of everyday life and for a moment allow ourselves to share the small joys and be close to each other.
(Nina Runa Essendrop, DK)
Sunday morning, Green Room
Two cultures in neighbouring countries. Not friends and not enemies, each minding their own business. Then catastrophe hits one country, forcing the inhabitants to flee and seek refuge among their foreign neighbours.
Strangers is an abstract larp which uses physical methods such as sign language and simple movement routines to create two cultures and the feeling of belonging or not belonging to these. It aims to explore refugees trying to fit in, and the reactions among the people who they try to fit in amongst.
(Joanna Piancastelli, UK)
Saturday morning, Turquoise Room
 You’re all normal people. You’re here, in this normal place, doing whatever normal thing you’re doing. Everyone around you is getting on with their lives – they’re perfectly normal, just like you.
Except that you weren’t normal, before. You were superheroes, the saviours of Herotopia, though you don’t remember it. No one does. The whole of reality was altered and the history that you used to know no longer exists, and never did. But it’s trying to reassert itself.
What happens if it does? Why did everything change in the first place? You’re the only ones who can find out.
La Vie Bohême
(Muriel Algayres, FR)
Sunday afternoon, Pink Room
La Vie Bohême (the bohemian life), inspired by the Opera of the same name, stages a group of bohemian artists in Paris in the 1910, living as a small community of like-minded friends and creative mind in a derelict building. The game explores 4 years of their lives until 1914, as poverty, disease and war slowly but inevitably breaks them apart.
A game on friendship, the passing of time and the loss of illusions.
The Virtual Restoration Project
(Francis Patrick Brady, Una Hamilton Helle & Sarah Jury, UK)
Saturday morning, Orange Room
How to tell the future, past and present apart from each other
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, Nothing was remembered and nothing was forgotten. it was the epoch of the computer and the epoch of the abacus, it was the spring of memory and the winter of degradation, we had everything before us and we had nothing before us – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its prevalent almost invisible technologies insisted on being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
This LARP takes the form of a collective postmortem of a destroyed historical site. The site is now only inhabited by avatars (played by the players) who are attempting to reconstruct it virtually. Disembodied signs, symbols and architectural forms, detached from their original context, abound at the site – it is up to the avatars to redefine and rebuild their already slipping collective memory.
White Death
(Nina Runa Essendrop & Simon Steen Hansen, DK)
Saturday afternoon, Blue Room
A poetic, non-verbal larp that emphasizes physical expression. The players are guided through feelings like anger, frustration, sorrow, and fear – and the feelings of peace and closeness which follow the characters’ gentle deaths. Music by Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Johnny Cash sets the tone.
Winson Green Prison
(Siri Sandquist & Rosalind Göthberg, SE)
Saturday morning, Green Room
Winson Green Prison is a larp about the women who thought for equal right to vote and the men who loved them. It is a larp about the political in the private and the private becoming political. During the larp the players get to explore what they are willing to sacrifice for their political belief, and what it felt like to be a part of a society that was under strong siege of political radicals. What is the price of freedom? What is the price of love?

The brief

This was how we described what we were seeking from submissions: “We’re looking for a diversity of styles, to reflect the breadth and depth of UK larping – and that of our lovely overseas visitors. If you aren’t sure if your larp will fit, contact us on info@the-smoke.org to discuss. We’re expecting people from traditional larp background, from theatre, from performance arts, from tabletop RPG, and everywhere else – so whether your larp is naturalistic, abstract, plot-based, emotional, Nordic-style, artistic, dramatic, or whatever; we want to see it. In particular, we want to feature larps that are engaging, accessible, and easy to play for all our participants. We want to mostly feature larps that have already run successfully: so if your idea is still in the early stages, do by all means go ahead and submit, but we’re less likely to programme it.”