Just Push Play began in the Spring of 1989, in Vancouver, when George Bathgate and Craig Laven pondered the idea:
Would it be possible to devise a fictional narrative story on cassette tape which, when accessed with a Walkman, could lead the listener on an entertaining, walking journey through the streets of the city; where the listener could interact with real surroundings, real people and alternative technologies within the realm of our fictional storyline, and come out at the finish with a heightened understanding of his thought-to-be-familiar environment?
They dubbed this idea, AudioMotion.
That Spring day, the two friends took this new notion, combined it with the blind hope of an arts grant application and the hazy enthusiasm of a lot of beer, then incubated AudioMotion’s possibilities into what finally emerged onto the sidewalk the next Spring as GUMSHOE: Vancouver’s First Cassette-Directed, Interactive, Outdoor, Walking Adventure Mystery Tour Theatre Thing.
Audiences loved it. So did the critics. Since then, fingers have been kept on the record button, shifting every now and again to JUST PUSH PLAY.
1990 saw Just Push Play’s premiere AudioMotion work, the multimedia, detective-spoof GUMSHOE, run in Vancouver’s Gastown. It was a hit! In 1991 two more works were released: SCOOP (in French and English) and SPIRITS OF BREWERY CREEK. SCOOP ran for eight years on Granville Island! In 1995 JPP launched the triptych, URBANAUT, three short plays taking listeners on a day-long journey throughout Vancouver. 1999 marked the beginning of TRAIL TALES, a combination AudioMotion work and hyper-detailed multimedia lesson plan, designed to help teach English as a Second Language and explore First Nations’ legends in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. TRAIL TALES continued to run until the 2006 windstorm levelled the Prospect Point area of Stanley Park where the play was situated.
After a hiatus of several years, Craig felt a creative spark, and wrote and produced THE 1812 EVENT, “A free, half-hour, one-time-only, podcast-directed, non-violent, public, participatory, commemoration of the War of 1812” …with this production we broke the Cassette/Walkman technological barrier and evolved into the current era of Smart Phones, iPods, Podcasts and Flashmobs. This play was presented at the 2012 Vancouver Fringe Festival. It was, in Craig’s own words, “Even more fun than the actual War of 1812.”