James Whitaker

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, what you did before now>press>play and what inspired you to set it up?  

Alice Lacey head shot

I’m Alice and I’m the CEO and co-founder of now>press>play.


Before setting up now>press>play with two friends from university I was a theatre director. I worked in new writing and helped writers develop their plays.


now>press>play originally started as an idea for theatre. I wanted to make a piece for theatre which the audience would listen to on wireless headphones. The audience would be the performers. They would be inside the story, instead of watching it play out in front of them, from the safety of a darkened auditorium. It was going to be REVOLUTIONARY. (And much cheaper than a normal show.)


I took the idea to two friends from university, and Oscar – a teacher – immediately said this would be brilliant for children, maybe it could even be a learning resource? Turns out it could.


What is now>press>play?

now>press>play is an immersive learning resource which brings the curriculum to life through sound, story and movement. Each child in a class is given a pair of wireless headphones. They put them on and become the hero in a curriculum based story, meeting people, following instruction and discovering places on an educational adventure they never forget.


Our aim is to give teachers the ability to engage all their children through imagination, movement and emotion and to break down some of the barriers to learning that those children who struggle with reading, writing and sitting still face.


NPP in useWhat’s the best reaction you’ve had from students?

Very early on I ran a workshop in a school in Tower Hamlets and at the end of a session a child came up to me and said ‘I don’t usually like school Miss, but that was sick!’ I was so thrilled that we’d made that child rethink what school is all about and feel like it was something that he could enjoy and take part in.


What would you say to a school that says they “don’t have time” for out-of-the box, immersive learning strategies like now>press>play?

I’d ask them what their priorities are and how their children feel about school and about learning. I’d ask them how they think their children learn best and whether they think any of their children struggle to learn in the traditional table and chairs classroom. I’d ask them what memories they have from primary school and what memories they’d like the children in their school to have of their time there when they leave.


How can parents help nurture a love of learning and creativity at home?

One of the biggest barriers to loving learning and being creative is being afraid to make a mistake. So the more parents help their children to make mistakes and learn from them the better. And that includes sharing with your child when you’ve made a mistake, letting them see it’s not the end of the world and what you’ve learnt from the experience.


What’s in the future for now>press>play?

Keep working with more schools, more teachers and more children and make more and more audio Experiences.

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