Promotional material for If I Were You: a book standing up. On the cover are two young people looking into the distance and the words 'what are you prepared to fight for?'
Image Credit: Daniel Ioannou

If I Were You

Story description

Nat and Jamie share a birthday, sixteen years of friendship and a love of Oreos. But something is about to happen that will turn their lives upside down and force them to decide what they’re prepared to fight for. And that might not be something that they can agree on…

Told through POV video, social media and evidence documents, If I Were You is an immersive story for up to 30 people. Two groups play in different rooms, each following the story unfold from ‘their’ character’s point of view. They need to work like detectives, piecing a story together to help their character make choices about what to do. Messages sent between the two rooms also affect how the story develops.

If I Were You is a gripping contemporary story set against a background of climate emergency - but also it is an exercise in perspective-taking and encouraging empathy, exploring how humans and machines can work together constructively to solve problems. Within the game, a bespoke control system delivers media content to each player’s iPad, and allows players to vote on what actions their character should take; a debrief allows players to find out what was going on in the other room and what other decisions they might have made.

Commissioning notes and educational application

If I Were You was commissioned by NESTA’s Collective Intelligence Centre, and supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Ideas and Pioneers Fund.

The project was developed with Seven Stories (the national centre for children’s books) where Fast Familiar worked with a group of young people, the Young Producers, to co-create the storyline. It was piloted with Year 9 pupils and youth theatre groups in the North East in November 2019. You can read more about that here.

In October 2020, we were awarded further funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation to work with a Youth Board to develop the project and build a mini-curriculum and teaching resources around it.

Cast and creative team

JAMIE Milo Quinton | NAT Zachary Hing | SAFF Sophie Galustian | ANNA Luca Rutherford | STEPHEN Jamie Zubairi | JENNI Rachel Donovan | DI BROPHY Rebecca Atkinson-Lord

WRITER Rachel Briscoe | DIRECTOR Dan Barnard | MEDIA CONTENT & TECH PLATFORM Joe McAlister | ASSOCIATE NEUROSCIENTIST Kris De Meyer | ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Jane Ryan | IMAGE DESIGN Dan Ioannou | YOUNG PRODUCERS Anna, Dalthwaite, Caitlin, Isabella, Rosie & Theo

PROJECT ASSOCIATES (PHASE 2) Amari Harris, Anne Langford, Janisè Sadik | PROJECT ASSOCIATE (PHASE 1) Laura Bridges