Your Turn 2 at the Bella Union

PUP6 On the third Wednesday of each month, Pop Up Playground invites some of the brightest minds in Melbourne to compete in a battle of wits, smarts and silliness – and you’re playing as well!

Test your general knowledge, lateral thinking, communication skills, balance and coordination against the biggest brains we can find in challenges inspired by board games, classic party games and the imaginations of Pop Up Playground‘s game designers.

June games included: Throw Things at Maths ~ Flip the Board ~ Nonsense or Not ~ Heard it All Before. Result: Audience 1 Guests 0

Here’s the line-up for July!

* Learning Services manager of the State Library of Victoria, Andrew Hiskens
* Comedian, SYN radio presenter and star of Channel 31’s Live On Bowen, Claire Sullivan
* Broadcaster, writer and founder of the Freeplay and This Is Not Art festivals, Marcus Westbury
* Award-winning comedian, actor and writer Damian Callinan.

Hosted by Ben McKenzie (Dungeon Crawl, Night Terrace).

Finally, it’s Your Turn!


Tickets are $15 on the door or at:

Check out last month’s Your Turn, which resulted in the audience (Team Mighty Zest) winning over our two guest teams -Kasia Kaczmarek and Lawrence Leung (Team K-Law) and Sarah Walker and Alice Fraser (Team Curly Girls*)

The Cloud – VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Arts

VicHealth_Brandmark_POS_RGB_TM We are so darn excited to announce we’ve received funding from VicHealth for a new city-wide, augmented reality game designed to get people out and exploring their city as part of their inaugural VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Arts.

The Cloud is a city-wide immersive participatory performance. It uses game systems and technology in the real world to create a storytelling event, driven by on-street competitive and covert play. In The Cloud, participants can play as humans or androids, or can follow along online. Set against story events and reports online on the day’s activity, players are given missions to carry out in the city, from delivering ‘secret’ documents to retrieving ‘lost items’ and evading ‘capture’ by the other side. The Cloud uses reward strategies to motivate physical activity and participation to increase socialisation. As players progress through the game, their actions contribute to the overarching story being told.

The VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Arts is designed to foster and nurture innovative ideas that have the potential to improve Victorians’ physical and mental wellbeing through the arts and digital technologies.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said the health benefits of the arts were well known.

“Getting involved in the arts – whether it’s enjoying a museum exhibition, taking a dance class to get your heart pumping or going to a gig – provides people with an opportunity to gain new skills and express themselves, be inspired, and feel good about life in general. And we know that being around and involved with others reduces loneliness and helps people to make new friends. However, we live in a digital world that’s changing all the time and we need to look at new ways to use digital media or technologies to increase physical activity and social connection,” Ms Rechter added.

More than 40 submissions were received to VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Arts.

“We were thrilled to receive some really innovative proposals from a range of arts organisations and look forward to supporting two dynamic projects that will use technology to promote people’s physical and mental wellbeing,” Ms Rechter said.

We are thrilled to be sharing the VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Arts with No Lights No Lycra with their excellent project Dance Break, an app to get people active – at home, at school, in the office, on the street. Once a day the app will override your phone with an energising dance track. Anywhere, anytime, thousands of people will dance to the same song, regardless of time-zone or location. After every dance a map will appear showing the number and location of the people you just danced with. Dance Break is an effective way for large organisations, schools and institutions to promote physical and mental health and to increase productivity.

For more information, see

Your Turn at the Bella Union bar in Trades Hall


On the third Wednesday of each month, Pop Up Playground invites some of the brightest minds in Melbourne to compete in a battle of wits, smarts and silliness – and you’re playing as well!

Test your general knowledge, lateral thinking, communication skills, balance and coordination against the biggest brains we can find in challenges inspired by board games, classic party games and the imaginations of Pop Up Playground’s game designers.

Guests for June 17 include:

* actor Kasia Kaczmarek (Wentworth)
* actor and photographer Sarah Walker (Silversun)
* comedian Lawrence Leung (Maximum Choppage, Lawrence Leung’s Choose Your Own Adventure)
* writer and comedian Alice Fraser (FBi radio)

Hosted by Ben McKenzie (Dungeon Crawl, Night Terrace).

Finally, it’s Your Turn!


Tix $15 from the link below or at the door

Citydash Melbourne!

CityDash_final_webPop Up Playground presents Fire Hazard Games‘ Citydash!

Citydash is a fast game of speed, stealth, and strategy, played on the streets.

Your team will dash for checkpoints, replan on the fly as your targets change, and duck for cover as our patrolling guards close in. Cryptic clues, checkpoint challenges and moving targets make it a mental challenge as much as a physical one!

Played in cities around the world and last presented in Melbourne as part of Fresh Air, Citydash is here presented with all new clues and locations.



Dates: Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 of May
Session times: 4:30pm and 7pm
Venue: Meet at the grassy amphitheater in Fed Square


Photo by JT. Production Management

3 new games at Modern Parlour Games – our Bella Union residency

We’ve taken up residency at the Bella Union in 2015!Modern-Parlour-games-logo

Each month on the third Thursday we’re bringing you the wildest, strangest and best new games in Melbourne today. This month, we present three new games, one each by David Harris, Jack Beeby and us!

Help Me by David Harris
Are you a good, kind, decent person? Do you like to help those who can’t help themselves? Do you believe that empathy and caring unites a community? Bring your initiative, communication skills and ability to work as a team to help me… Please. A participatory morality play.

RhinoPlasticine by Jack Beeby
Stepping it up a notch, those same “almost celebrities” exercise their creative skill sin this new game by Jack Beeby. As up-and-coming medical ‘professionals’ it’s their goal to finish top of the class and claim the title of Cosmetic Surgeon to the Animal Stars! Some audience participation encouraged.

We Are Having Technical Difficulties by Pop Up Playground
Watch “almost celebrities” play Pop Up Playground’s game of communication break down in the board room and play along yourself. Expect amusing misunderstandings and witty banter.

Tickets $15 at the door, or $13 (plus $2 booking fee) online here:

Doors open at 6.30PM, show starts at 7!

Fresh Air 2015!

Fresh-Air-15-Postcard-FinalMelbourne’s International Games Festival, Fresh Air, is back for 2015, hosted by Pop Up Playground and commissioned and presented by Federation Square’s Creative Program.

Headlining Fresh Air this year are Fire Hazard Games from the UK, who are running the enormously popular street game City Dash and a brand new story telling game Flashpoint Fairytale. Escape Room Melbourne, Australia’s leading escape room designers, premiering a brand new boutique work on site. And for one night only, Folly, a new city wide urban role playing game by the team who bring you Woodfordia, the woodford folk festival game.

We’ll also be showcasing new works by local designers Christy Dena, Georgia Symons, Kilkenny Games and Snapstone games, alongside some old favourites and some new games by Pop Up Playground and by our old friends at Coney, Hide and Seek and Slingshot.

We’ll be playing street games in St Pauls Court and the Amphitheatre at Federation Square from 11 am to 4pm friday to monday. The Night time program starts at 6 – and runs til 9.00.

Tickets for head line games are essential and can only be booked online.

citydashCity Dash (Firehazard Games, UK)
Fri and Sat nights, 7:30pm

An exciting and intense hour in the city.

Run for checkpoints, replan on the fly as the map changes, and duck for cover as our patrolling guards close in. Or take it more strategically, rack your brains to solve our cryptic clues, and keep your eyes open for bonus points.

However you play, you can watch the live scoreboard for updates and battle it out with nearby teams. With a huge range of strategies, approaches, and levels, you can take this as casually or competitively as you want.

Friday night:
Saturday night:

follyFolly: The Game (Woodfordia, AUS)
Sunday night 6pm

Folly is an UrbanRPG with an absurdist bent. Expect ridiculous challenges, dares, an interactive and hilarious narrative and a spectacular finale.

Developed by Tim Monley, creator of Woodfordia: The Game, a spectacular six day long game played every year by thousands of participants at the Woodford Folk Festival. For Fresh Air Festival this experience has been condensed into three hours of silliness and adventure for one hundred lucky people.



Flashpoint Fairytale (Amy Strike, UK)
Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon 3pm, extra game Sunday 8pm

Flashpoint Fairytale is a storytelling tabletop game filled with old maps, evil overlords, witches, trolls and, despite being a game played over a table, lots of running around and shouting. Players choose a character (whether inventor, doctor, wizard, hero or diplomat) and then work together to help that character escape the enemy, survive the story and find out what on earth is going on and how they can (oh yes) save the land. Created by Fire Hazard Games. Requires 4 to 5 players.



Bakers of Anarchy (Universe Creation 101, AUS)
Fri, Sat, Sun nights 6pm


You are a contestant in the finale of the 9th Annual Cake Decorating Championship. One of the hosts has been embroiled in a bitter buttercream scandal, and so you arrive to find an Anarchist is now running the competition. In this hands-on live game, you do whatever you can to impress the revolutionary philosopher with your anarchic cake decorating to ultimately win the championship, or the good fight.

A game by Christy Dena of Universe Creation 101


alienAlien Meteorites of Federation Square (That Probably Won’t Kill Us All)

Fri, Sat, Sun nights, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm

Three meteorites from outer space have crash-landed in Federation Square. How convenient! But also mysterious, and maybe even dangerous. We can’t figure out what they are, where they came from, or why they’re here. Maybe you can help us? Come and lend your expert opinion as we try to unlock the secrets of the Alien Meteorites of Federation Square (That Probably Won’t Kill Us All)!

Created by: Georgia Symons
Designed by: Daniel Moulds


escaperoom Escape Van

Hourly 11am to 3pm Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon during the day
6pm to 8pm Fri, Sat, Sun evenings
Tickets are $20 each, or $70 for a full team of four.

A new puzzle room experience from the team at Escape Room Melbourne! Melbourne in the 1950s. Government spies have caught word of a planned assassination, and you’re on the suspect list. To prove your innocence, you will need to break into a surveillance van and piece together the mystery. Expect mind-boggling gadgets, espionage, intrigue, and a healthy serve of good old-fashioned code-cracking.


1000 Cities – A Ride of Passage


Bicycle game will turn Melbourne into a wonderland

The City of Melbourne and Pop Up Playground is inviting people to take part in a new interactive game that will change the way they see the city – forever!
Using a smartphone, a blue Melbourne Bike Share bike and a helmet, the interactive game 1000 Cities turns the CBD into a mythical adventure where riders will fight monsters, collect treasure and explore the hidden parts of the city.

Councillor Rohan Leppert, Chair of Arts and Culture, said this arts participation project highlights Council’s dedication to contributing to a creative city.
“1000 Cities is an innovative project that allows participants to go on a city adventure with a twist. Cities can be hard to navigate when you first arrive and the best way to get to know your way around is to explore,” said Cr Leppert.
Once participants visit the 1000 Cities site on a smartphone, they will be prompted to take out a bike at the Federation Square blue Melbourne Bike Share station. From there, the game will take riders through a series of tasks that will unlock hidden secrets about the city. Discover tucked away coffee shops, artworks, buildings, secret laneways and obscure city gems.

Rob Reid from Pop Up Playground said 1000 Cities is based on Joseph Campbell’s book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
“1000 Cities is your invitation to open doors that you may have not thought were there. Participants will be the hero of their own epic adventure. We are inviting international students to take part in the game, as this is a great way to get to know the city – but the game is open to anyone that would like to play,” said Rob.

A group of Melbourne-based international students worked closely with City of Melbourne and Pop Up Playground to help develop the game.
This initiative underpins City of Melbourne’s commitment to encouraging artists to explore new ways of reaching audiences, particularly through public participation, as outlined in its recently released Arts Strategy.

When: 2 – 28 February 2015
Where: Start from the Federation Square Melbourne Bike Share pod outside the Melbourne Visitor’s Centre
Cost: Free to play. You will need to have a credit card to unlock the bike and charges may apply.
A City of Melbourne project created by Pop Up Playground


Now Life In This House

NowLifeImageForest Collective and Pop Up Playground present
Now Life in this House

A new durational role-playing game by Pop Up Playground

For Flooding in the Garden At The Convent.

Lots of debts, lots of secrets, nothing left to sell but the family home – life was terrible for the Russian aristocracy.

Pop Up Playground takes Anton Checkov’s famous play, The Cherry Orchard, and turns it into a participatory event. The characters from the play come to life around the audience and enlist their help. Will you help Lopakhin convince the family to sell their land to developers? Will you convince Trofimov not to marry Anya?

The future of The Cherry Orchard is in your hands…

Fiona MacLeod.
Soren Jensen
Madeline Anderson
Jack Beeby
Andi Snelling
Jess Gonsalvez

Hosted by Ben McKenzie

Written, directed and designed by Pop Up Playground

Flooding in the Garden
10am – 4pm December 13
Rosina Auditorium
$5 one entry at the door/$10 day

Pozible Rewards: Bespoke Street Adventure!

“We made it to our first location, where did we need to go next? Were we being followed? We better sneak down between these two buildings. I looked over my shoulder.. It seemed the coast was clear but we had to solve the next clue. Time to pick up the pace. I looked at my watch. Damn, we’re running out of time. Is that person watching us? Wait, I know where we need to go next. We ran down an alley, scanning the signs. This seems like the place. Treasure recovered. Cocktail time.”

jadeMonkeyThat’s how Alex describes the Adventure of the Jade Monkey, a custom street adventure made for her and her partner Elliot by Pop Up Playground’s Robert Reid and Sayraphim Lothian – and with the Bespoke Street Adventure reward in our Fresh Air 2015 Pozible campaign, you could have a unique experience like this of your own!

Designing mostly for festivals and open to the public events, Pop Up Playground usually works within certain constraints of size, budget and resources-to-players ratios. But this reward lets us throw a lot of those constraints out the window to make something entirely different: a once-only, unique adventure for a small group!

DrMonkeyWe’ll get in touch with you to figure out a time and place where you want to start, and perhaps go back and forth with a few requests for information, but then it’s down the rabbit hole you go. It’s up to you who you invite, and whether you tell them what they’re in for: a unique adventure experience, just for you, in which you will have to find clues, solve puzzles and complete challenges to reach your destination. You might end up on the run from spies, chasing a monster, searching for a stolen artefact or unlocking a bizarre mystery – but whatever the case, you and up to seven of your friends will be the only ones to ever go on this particular adventure.

We’d love the chance to make something like this – and by choosing this reward you’re not just embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, you’re also supporting the growth of the Fresh Air festival. Your support will allow us to bring out international artists, pay our staff and make our games bigger and better, all while keeping the festival free to attend. You can find out more at our Pozible campaign page.

Pozible Rewards: learning games

We run a lot of live games at Pop Up Playground, but actually we love all kinds of games: board games, videogames, card games, parlour games…you name it, we play it! Within the team we have a pretty great collection of different games, because just as with other artforms it’s important to experience the work of others as well as to make your own.

CalledYouHereBut we don’t often get a lot of time to play those games – which is partly why we’ve created the Learn to Play reward! For $50 you not only get the PDF book of games and a copy of our first StickerGame, but also an invitation to a fun, relaxed three-hour session of games with the Pop Up Players. We’ll bring a bunch of games of all kinds and teach you to play them! This is a friendly event for everyone, regardless of your level of experience with board games, and we’ll be bringing games of varying lengths, complexities and themes – as well as teaching you a few of our own!

But perhaps you already play a lot of games, and you’re keen to take the next step and make your own games? Well, we’ve got you covered there too, with the $100 Games Design Workshop reward! Ben will run you through the basics of game design with a three hour workshop whose basic principles will work across most kinds of games. The workshop draws on Ben’s three years of experience designing for Pop Up Playground and independently, and will cover player experience, mechanics, playtesting and more. Plus you also get the book of games, the StickerGame, and there will be cake!

By selecting one of these rewards you’ll not only learn to play or make games, you’ll be supporting the Fresh Air festival for 2015, enabling it to grow and to support the people who make it. You can find out more at our campaign page on Pozible.