Katy Balfour

Katy Balfour might just have saved your summer holidays. She’s the creator of an action-packed, immersive mystery game that will keep kids busy as they work their way through the story. We thought we’d find out a bit more about The Curious Case of the Magboggle

Hey Katy, so what’s all this Magboggle business all about?
The Curious Case of the Magboggle is a Mystery Kit - a new type of storytelling experience that blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Essentially it’s a story that children live rather than read. They become heroes in their own adventure; finding mysterious letters and clues, joining a secret society and banishing a very mischievous creature called a Magboggle. The kit contains all the elements and the adult sets the different parts – a bit like a treasure hunt with a story.

How did you come up with the idea?
I spent 12 years making theatrical experiences with Punchdrunk – and I particularly loved creating work for young audiences. Children are just much better than adults in so many ways – much kinder, braver, readier to believe in wonder and magic. I wanted parents to see the heroic side of their kids that I got to during performances so I set myself the challenge of creating a immersive experience without installation or actors – that parents would find almost as simple as leaving a quid out from the tooth fairy.

How many iterations of the story have you had to get through?
Quiet a few – the first prototype was designed for the run up to Christmas but had a horribly scary Krampus. And since then there have been several more – mainly finessing the design and form of the kit. 

How long does it take to complete? I’m guessing there are some parents needing to fill up school holiday days…
It’s up to you. Some people have completed it in an afternoon, running everything quickly together. Others spread it out over a week with one clue or interaction per day. You decide what is best, tailoring it to the needs of the kids you are setting it for (one kit can make an adventure for up to four children). There are lots of extra activities for those that want them – perfect for filling up the school holidays.

How do people get their hands on it?
You can buy it right here at at wonderbly.com 

Interview: Josh Jones
Photo: Tom Medwell

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