A spirit of community: Guest post by Joanna Piancastelli

I don’t have much to say about larp right now. I’ve not played for a while, and I’ve written about the bit of writing I did for “Meet at the Midwinter Feast” already. What I can do, though, is amplify the voices of others when I come across something – usually on Facebook – that resonates, and give it a home outside of the walled garden, where I can refer to it later…. So I asked Joanna if she’d mind if I did that for this lovely piece, and she said “Yes.”. These are her words, not mine, but golly they’re good words, wth wider application than larp…

A spirit of community

In these weird years, it’s more important than ever to think about how we can make the social aspect of the larp rewarding, the play fun, and the whole event as safe and stress-free as possible for everyone involved.

We’ll aim to be inclusive and welcoming, leaving space for people to join conversations, bringing them up to speed when they do, and treating everyone’s input as valuable. We “yes and” in play, building on what we give one another to make a story we all share.

We should treat everyone with empathy and compassion, doing our best to remember that we’ve all been left fragile and out-of-sorts by two years of global crisis. We’ll set and respect boundaries, even ones that might have seemed silly to bring up in 2019. We’ll all be there for each other, sitting with people who are having a hard time and making sure their needs are met – providing emotional support shouldn’t be a burden that falls on one person but a responsibility that we all want to share for the sake of our fellow players.

We’ll work together to make sure everything that needs to happen happens. If you see something that needs doing, do it, and if you’re not sure whether it’s actually helpful, ask. By all doing a few small things, we can avoid anyone burning out. We aren’t a parent and kids or a service provider and paying customers, we’re a group of adults contributing to create a fun experience for everyone.

We’ll also all take responsibility for being aware of our own limits. Don’t push your play close to a boundary and risk leaving your fellow players to help you recover from crossing a line they didn’t know was there. Don’t volunteer to take on a critical pre-event task alone if you know you’ll struggle to complete it if you have a period of difficult mental health. Contribute what you can, and be realistic about communicating your limitations.

Overall, remember: we are here to lift each other up and have a good time.

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