Giocosamente Festival Online Edition 2020 Afterthoughts

Giocosamente Festival Online Edition 2020 Afterthoughts

After the success of last year’s 3 day “in-person” edition of Giocosamente Playfulness Festival we had organised another edition this year in Toffia, a small hill top medieval village in Italy.

At the start of April it was soon apparent however that it wasn’t going to be possible to hold it “live” this year.
The idea of an online edition came to mind but it didn’t feel right, the festival was built on interaction between people. I felt that I needed a meaningful reason to do this.

One morning, after pondering over this for a while the theme came to me and it was “Raising the quality of life through PLAY”.

This is ultimately what happens when we start to walk along the playful path, the QUALITY of our living experience rises. If there is something that we may have learned from our time in lock-down perhaps it’s that the quality of our lives is more important than we’d really thought about before and that it’s often made up of simple things.

Up to that point we’d been running around like maniacs missing the best parts of our lives which are those that are intrinsically rewarding. We play, as adults and children, because it feels good and although there may be many side benefits, to do something for now other reason than it feels good on it’s own makes it revolutionary. Hardly anyone does anything nowadays just “for the fun of it”. Other than special festival moments.

The online edition gave new possibilities, not just gathering people from all over the world but also introducing new aspects for the festival: Talks, Panel Sessions, Play Sessions, Conversations and Hybrid Sessions.

The whole festival was an EXPERIMENT, a place to experiment, share and talk about a huge variety of topics associated with Play and Playfulness.

34 play experts from all around the globe submitted various proposals.
Some of the topics and workshops:

Playfulness, Kindness and Mindfulness, A playful path to self love, Play, Move, Dance: The story of your body, Gioco come linguaggio per educarsi, Designing Play for Adults, Gibberish and Nonsense, Mindful Play, Playful Philosophy, Play Based Learning, Storytelling, Learning how to Silly Walk, Embodied Stories of Play, Cultivating Resilience Through Play, Giochi di Autenticità – relazioni in gioco, Creating a more beautiful World Through Play, Playfulness in Adults Scientific Research Survey 2020, Play-based Approaches Teaching with the use of Robots, Isolation-Busting Play, Play and Democracy, Games for Creativity, Living a more Playful Life, Scarabocchio Creativo, What is your Play Practice? Living with the play community, Playfulness and Spirituality 8pm, The Deadly Serious Disco, Making the case for play, Play workout, Play and Social Distancing, Improvisation in Learning, Teaching & Life, Play and Art, Art and Play, Serious Urban Play, Touching the world: Tactility in Play Design, Clown Serious Play, Play and the new world, Playfulness as an active meditation

The programme was vast and exciting! Alternation of food for the mind and heart and body of course. The play sessions had physical aspects and others more word based. All different ways of accessing playfulness.

The world Playfulness community got together and played, talked about play, shared ideas, had fun, laughed, connected and recharged. After the initial strangeness of talking to a computer, authentic interactions emerged that surprised everyone for the sheer quality.

Playfulness is an attitude and this is why the activities proposed were so varied. Essentially everything becomes more engaging when done with an attitude of playfulness.

It’s not easy to step out of the old mindset of Have-tos and seriousness into something that sets ourselves and others free but this is the mission!

In order to play we need to take risks, emotionally and also physically, that’s why learning new skills is so important. In a society obsessed by safety the positive aspects of healthy risk taking (like climbing trees) isn’t really (yet) taken in consideration.

I could go on and on, but more than all of this was the friendly atmosphere that took place. An atmosphere of acceptance too, in the panel sessions many different points of view emerged. No one argued as the points of view were coming from the person and hardly ever as absolute truths. Whatever we hold as true the opposite also exists and as well as all the possibilities in between.

The whole festival was offered in the spirit of the gift. We have launched many recordings of the panel sessions. Others are coming soon, as are some of the talks so you can enjoy them too. Look for them here:

Next year, in June, we hope to be playing again in person. However, this online format has been very enriching too. We’ve learned a lot from this festival and our invitation is to dive into play to “Raise the quality or our lives through PLAY!”
To give value to the “unquantifiable” feel good factors that make our lives more meaningful.

I’m going to end here with some words that some of the participants had to say about the online edition 2020! Hope to play with you again soon!

Thanks for reading and looking forward to playing again together soon.
Anthony Trahair

“Wonderful! I only spent a few moments (3 sessions in addition to my own) and I feel very connected to each person. A great collection of playful souls. I learned some new games. And I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And I look forward to more!

Thank you all!”
Bruce Honig, USA


It was a bubbling mixture of looking in to other creative peoples clever brains. Seeing that I’m not the only one looking for play, even though it can seem that way in my everyday.

I especially enjoyed that the feeling of connection is there even though it was online”.

Marie Schreiner Elberling, Denmark


The festival was a wonderful mix of things for me. Beautiful people, sharing with an open heart and boundless wisdom. I certainly want to think more about what the play fairy has granted us with this period of physical distancing, and what it has to teach us about play”.

Ben Ross, UK


I had no idea it was possible to have a fun way of doing a festival online. It was a way to reconnect with what it is that I hope to bring to the world, that’s what I will take home: carry on with my ideas. It’s been an overall fun and inspiring. It is also too soon to reflect on this, I notice while I am writing this. I’ll try again in a week”.

Maaike de Jong, The Netherlands


The festival was intense and I am going to need a couple of days to unwind the diversity of experiences and reflect on them and see what I can take back home. I’ll come back here again in a few days and have a better answer 😛”.


Sohan Tari, India

Most of all I appreciate the opportunity to re-connect with a lot of old friends and meet a load of new friends.

It’s great be an environment of playmakers because we can get pretty deep pretty quickly as we have a lot of shared ideas and values.

This group feels really collaborative and not competitive which I appreciate.

I really valued gaining experience and skills in facilitating and contributing to panel sessions.

I was connected with some great academic literature which supports my understanding of key ideas”.
Kevin Campbell Davidson, UK


“Hi Anthony, first off, I want to thank you for the massive effort.

It has been truly inspiring, encouraging and revitalizing. Exactly what I needed at this point – to connect and reconnect, to get once more a taste of that playful, loving spirit of the play community.

Had some deeply meaningful conversations and some wonderfully silly play experiences, both of which are important to me.

One thing I’m taking away and will be thinking really hard about is the issue of access. By doing it like this, people have been able to participate from all around the world and from the safety of their own homes. I wonder how we can enjoy being physically closer together, while also making our events more accessible.

I don’t know how CounterPlay ’21 will look like, but I will certainly bring some elements from Giocosamente.

Mathias Poulsen, Denmark


I had a really beautiful weekend of fun, play and being silly, but really appreciated all the really insightful, thoughtful conversations as well. I feel lucky to be so warmly welcomed in a completely new community, allowed to be as I am, and where everywhere was okay. I am so inspired by all the wonderful work people are doing all over the world to make a kinder place for us to live in. I feel like I have a whole new set of friends who I can reach out to, and although I was quite intimidated in the beginning, it became gradually easier to participate. Thank you for all the effort that has gone into this, and I hope someday to be there in real life! I hope to try and be more playful and kinder in life ahead“.

Minna Bansal, India


It was a great! First time I was a part of festival dedicated to playfulness – my background is circus and I think this approach (play) was a missing element in my development and I decided, partly thanks to that festival to learn more about it. Very useful resources came through chat box and lots of inspiring people I found here. One thing I would recommended adding more opportunities for people to meet each other a bit first through Zoom, that would make interaction better. The most beautiful part was finding people that shares same believes in power of play.
Sai, India

How: Insightful, refreshing, fun.
What: Positive vibes. With time, the things I will take home will find their place, magically merging with what’s already there. It’s been an intense weekend!
What: Dancing and playing together!
Thank you Anthony for organising this and everyone who took part!
Happy playful living and till we meet again.
Milka, Italy

As a late entrant, only able to join for today, I felt welcomed. Seeing so many who feel the importance of play has been encouraging and inspiring. Thank you.
Hess, Denmark

This festival inspired me on so many levels. I was feeling quite doubtful and scared at first. But then seeing everyone’s faces and hearing how many people were going through similar experiences, i felt less alone and less scared. Overall I was challenged in new ways, I loved moving in different ways, learning about different ways to play online with people, the fact that eye contact has a very real effect on our brain chemistry, making something with our hands – making something all together – this was really nice – perhaps silent sessions of just making things in the future would be really wonderful – like bart says – speaking about what we are doing whilst making, loved this. I was also reminded about the power of the imagination – that we can be whoever we want to be and imagine worlds – new worlds – through play Something we all need to be reminded of and to practice! and I LOVED dancing with everyone! So inspiring! Love this play community! thank you thank you!!!
Anthea Moys, South Africa

Fantastic, loved the energy from both speakers and participants. I learned that it was possible to do energetic sessions online & some great new ideas from several speakers.

Danny Singh, UK

Wowza! A Playful Giving Movement Emerging! Magical, Exhaustive, Playful, Community, Connection, Common Goals, Diverse Global Perspectives, Good Clean Fun! Play On and Play it Forward. Keep Practicing Playfulness!
Jeanne Cadwallader, USA


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