"at first you feel a winding pain... you get used to it, then you develop a liking to it..."
The Happiness Project explores our need for non sexual physical contact in our highly digital era.
It features scenes of graphic reality TV binge watching, Whitney Houston and spooning.
We're not sure if any of it will make you happy but it’s worth a try.
The Happiness Project is performed by a diverse and inclusive cast and places queer, working class and disabled peoples experiences centre stage.
After researching physical contact we discovered that the majority of people aged 16-30 yrs only experience physical contact when they are having sex.
No platonic hand holding
No cuddling up to your pals whilst watching tv.
During research and development for The Happiness Project we explored the mental and physical effects regular digital connection has on a person.
We spoke about social media, porn, online dating (with a focus on disabled peoples experiences) and Sophocles. We looked at Juan Mann's Free Hugs campaign and the impact it had on both him and the people he hugged.
During this research period we began to speak about how the majority of our physical contact was during sex.
We found this incredibly interesting and so decided it should become the focus of a new play.
The Happiness Project tells the stories of five people in their own words and is interwoven with movement based around physical contact including awkwardness, need and violence.
Each performer has a very different take on physical contact which has allowed us to create a piece that engages a wide demographic. It features spoken word, strong choral work and the opportunity for audiences to interact digitally.
Feedback from audience, industry and press include:
“it achieves a stylish lightness of touch that often eludes shows on this subject; and reminds us that in surviving times of stress and change, a clear focus on the simple joys of life, and on sharing them with others, can be very useful indeed.”
Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman
“humorous and funny, sensitive and affectionate, a collage of scenes and lives that conveys a strong but loving message, and ends with a moment of utter hope.”
All Edinburgh Theatre
"informed, compassionate, bold and fearless."
"thanks for Creative Electrics existence and bravo to everyone who made The Happiness Project such a wonderful thing.
I was really moved by it at the showcase"
Morag Deyes, Artistic Director, Dance Base
"a beautifully gentle triumph"
Caroline Donald, Edinburgh International Festival.
"I just wanted to say how much the happiness project touched my soul. I’m so glad I had attended the workshop before watching the show as well. I’ve learned so much from the energy you gave us in the workspace and feels sooo inspired by what you put on stage!”
Creative Electric chose to stage The Happiness Project as part of Summerhall’s Army at the Fringe programme during EdFringe 2019. We recognise that this may seem like an unusual choice for the company.
We wanted to ensure that queer and disabled voices would be heard in a space they would not traditionally be heard in.
We provided free tickets to anyone who identified as LGBTQ+, disabled or working class and had a non uniformed friendly face available to meet audiences on arrival at the Army Reserve Centre.
We also worked with the Army to host equality and diversity training for senior officers and ensured that the venue made changes to their everyday practice to make them more inclusive including gender neutral toilets.
The Happiness Project was originally performed at The Biscuit Factory, Edinburgh and for National Theatre of Scotland Exchange 18 at Eden Court, Inverness.
It was programmed as part of ID.Y Fest at Dance Base in October 2018 and as part of The Festival of Rest and Resistance at Battersea Arts Centre in March 2019.
The show has been short listed for The Sit Up Award and Creative Edinburgh’s Creativity Award.