• Matt Allen (Closed Forum)

New Project

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

I am going to talk about my new project. (I am very excited) but if you don't have much time for that then here are the bullet points:

-Today I am launching my new version of The Journey.

-I need feedback. -It is part of Compass Festival.

- The Journey is about history, legacy and anxiety about knowing your place in the world.

Still with me? It will be a long one filled with spelling mistakes. Okay? Great.

Today, with some nervousness and excitement I launch my new project. I feel very sick at the idea of actually posting the link to it. The Journey (Version 2). Also known as The Journey: LS13. But before I get to that I felt like this was a good chance to tell you not just what it is, but why it is and how it is. (And where it is.) For those of you that know me know I work at Live Art Bistro. We call it an artist led venue because in some form or another we are artists. Although the problem with that is for the last few years I have made less and less art. More to the point, I have made less and less art that I like. Lets rewind the clock, as this certainly is a place for me to ramble on. I used to make theatre. I did a B-Tec in Performing arts and a HND in Theatre Studies. I made actual plays with a script and the one part of that I loved was the writing. I wasn't a very big fan of the actual learning of the scripts, or the performing in front of people part but it is something I sort of fell into. I wasn't very good at it. After that I did stand up. A bit anyway. I hosted some stand up comedy nights and I had a set that I would perform that mostly went well and received lots of laughs but I hated doing it and hated everyone laughing at me even though that was kind of the point. And then I started making devised shows and did a degree and a masters degree and for a while I was really happy with that but never really happy with anything I made. I would make short films and strange arty films and paint and host exhibitions and do photography and make durational performances and one to one pieces, short cabaret works that usually involved me drinking too much. In short I had no idea what I wanted to make. And anything that anyone told me was good, I either had no fun doing or once I had done it - I had no need to revisit it. This year three things happened. -I quit my day job after 9 years to focus on being an "artist" -I realised I had been suffering from bad anxiety and started with clinical depression and asked for help. (I am getting better - a bit)

-I found the type of work I wanted to make and actually made it.

So because of those three things I have made The Journey. I started with a small pot of funding from Leeds Inspired which allowed me to dedicate some time to learning very (very) basic code and learn how to use a few pieces of software. I made a story, one that I didn't have to perform, or learn the words to, or even be present for once it was made. Basically it is a text adventure. But instead of playing a game at home, or reading it in a book it takes you to real places, where you sit or stand and read the text, experience the story and move on. The decisions you make and the interactions you have with it change the way the narrative unfolds. I have easily put more time into this than anything else I have ever done. Including my masters degree.

And then I was happy with it and I launched it and over 4000 people went on and tried it. And out of those 4000 I got 1 person to give me feedback.

"Its a bit long." "Actually it's really long".

So i got back to work and decided to rework the whole experience so you can see and do everything in one area of Leeds. And I approached Compass Festival with the idea and they were incredibly supportive and we decided to focus on it being in Bramley. Leeds. LS13.

I thought that would take me a day or two but it ended up taking me weeks. So now it is done. At least, a version of it is done. I think I have fixed all the bugs and made it work but I would have to play the game through over 50 times to check it all. I am almost certain there are things I have written into it from branching paths and choices that no one will ever see. But I hope they do!

The Journey: LS13 is available to try right now. All you need is a mobile phone with a bit of data, headphones and be able to get to Bramley. Please give me feedback - regardless of how far you get into it. I have put a link to a google form for feedback on the main page of my website and Compass Festival are hosting a feedback session for me in Bramley. Please Come. details here: Also please let me know about any spelling mistakes (In the Journey - not in here)

The Journey is about history, legacy and the anxiety about knowing your place in the world. Take an afternoon off. Go to Bramley and give your self the time to explore. It will be great.

If for some reason you can't get to Bramley you can still give it a go from your own home and give me feedback- it just wont be as good. Or try the full citywide version. My longterm plan is to remake the citywide version with every area a full experience like this version 2.

Thanks. Matt x