Play Activations in PlayHQ

We are calling for Expressions of Interest from professional and emerging New Zealand creatives, Makerscreative technologists and arts practitioners to join us in co-creating play-based and hands-on activations and experiences in PlayHQ that will engage and inspire creativity and play in young children.  

Ideatorium is now closed

Check back later for the next Ideatorium.

We are no longer accepting applications and proposals for:  

sound inspired play activation for PlayHQ opening mid-January 2021 

The current Expression of Interest round closes on 4 September 2020, 5pm. All applicants will be advised application outcome on 11 September 2020. 

Before submitting your idea please ensure you have considered and included the following:  

  • You understand Capital E’s vision and values  and your proposal is guided by the PlayHQ Vision and Design for Play Guidelines. 
  • Your idea is unique and innovative. 
  • Your creative vision and idea are clearly outlined and actively engage creativity and play in young children. 
  • The outcome of the idea will be a high quality, engaging and creative and play-based experience suitable for children under 5 years of age. 
  • Encouraging play and creative expression 
  • Feasible 
  • Well articulated 


Warm and welcoming, PlayHQ is the perfect spot for parents and caregivers to meet and connect with their tamariki and friends and enjoy our free weekly public programmescreative crafts and fun play activities The free dropin play space is open from 9.30am to 3.30pm from Monday to Saturday and is suitable for 0-5 year olds. 

Design for Play in PlayHQ 

Two to three times a year, we design and create themed, immersive and interactive play activations in PlayHQ suitable for pre-school audience. The installations intersect art, play and creative technology and encourages creative exploration, play and imagination in young children. 

For our next play installation, we are looking for innovative and original ideas responding to sound-related experienceWe are also open to receiving other ideas for future installations. 

Your idea could include one or some of following elements: 

  • Sonic labyrinth/ sound lab  
  • Sound play/ exploration  
  • Acoustic and digital sound 
  • Sonic art 
  • Interactive games 
  • Sound mixing 
  • User experience sound design 
  • Sensor activated soundscapes and projection mapping  

We are looking for safe and immersive play experiences/activities that target 2 age groups:  

  • Babies and children under 2 years  
  • Preschoolers aged 3-5 years.  

Your proposal ideally targets both age groups, but it could also focus solely on one age group. 

This opportunity is offered to both emerging and experienced artists from all disciplines and we encourage artists who have never worked with children before, as well as those with extensive experience to send us ideas, which we can work together on. 

Your proposal can consist of a small component or full concept design. 

A component can mean an idea for an activity or an activation in the space. A play installation concept design can mean lots of ideas mapped out in the space. The space is your oyster and we encourage applications with ideas starting from a beginning stage to a more realised concept. 

Successful applicants will be supported by the Public Programmes team throughout, from developing your idea, to budgeting, designing, building, production management and installation. Your idea will be treated as a collaborative partnership and co-creation between yourself and Capital E. 

What we can offer: 

  • An opportunity to co-create high-quality work for young children in New Zealand’s leading centre for children and creativity in co-lab with Capital E’s Public Programmes team.
  • Mentorship on designing for play for a young audience. 
  • Production support with the developmentproduction, installation and delivery of your idea. 
  • An artist fee which reflects your level of experience and how much you are able to commit to the project 
  • Payment of all operating and consumable materials up to $8,000.00 depending on the scope of the idea. 
  • Access to Capital E’s technical equipment and full storage facility. 
  • Workshop space for builds. 
  • Marketing and publicity support. 

Assessment of Applications 

We will assess all ideas put forward based on the theme, however, we are also open for other ideas. We might take on and merge two different smaller proposals, depending on scope and budget. 


Applications due by 4 September 5pm.

Shortlisted applicants may be invited to meet the Capital E team and discuss their idea further. 

All applicants will be advised application outcome on 11 September. 

The Ideatorium Co-Lab will run from midSeptember 2020 to mid-January 2021. If your proposal is successful, we will work out a time schedule that works for us all. 

Development Mid-September to 30 October 2020 

Production: 2 November to 18 December 2020 

Installation: 6  12 January 2021 

Installation duration: 13 January – mid May 2021:  

If you have a great idea but are unable to commit to this timeframe, please send it to us anyway as we might fit it in another time. 

Examples of past Play activations

cardboard town of funngington city

Below are examples of a variety of past play activations in PlayHQ, created by Capital E’s Public Programmes team: 

Funington – Capital E PlayHQ 2018 

Funington City, established in 2018, was a crazy cardboard city of creativity featuring Funtanical Garden, a Smelly Sock Factory, Ministry of Silly Walks, mad driving instructions for all cardboard cars, a Unicorn Pet Store and it even had its own Funington radio station. The city was protected by all the superhero children who came to visit. 

Blobbles – Capital E PlayHQ 2018 

Blobbles was a tactile, theatrical and sensory abstract playscape of blobs, organic shapes and domes to inspire exploration, imagination and physical play. 

Weave Your Way – Capital E PlayHQ 2016 

Weave Your Way was an interactive and tactile creative fibre play installation with experiences and activities aimed to inspire and encourage children to learn about and engage in contemporary and traditional ways of weaving. 

Three home structures in Weave Your Way each represented a different culture and type of weaving material and children could explore a virtual Māori whare (house) in the VR headsets. 

In the Yarn Forest children were invited to find hidden white elastic in bird houses and knitted flowerbeds and use it to ‘weave’ like spiders between the trees.  

BoxOpolis – Capital E PlayHQ 2016 

BoxOpolis was an immersive and ever-evolving themed cardboard world and hub of creativity, play, performance and imagination where families were invited to construct and work collectively and creatively together to transform the space with boxes and cardboard creations. 

BoxOpolis consisted of three different play worlds; Space Oddity, Under Water World and CityscapesThese themed worlds would change daily and rotate again after three days This play activation used animated projection mapping to create a dynamic and atmospheric space that sparked imagination and idea generation, and children could compose their own themed soundscapes.  

In the afternoons, the cardboard creations would come alive as sets for interactive and contemporary dance and improv performances. 

PlayHQ Floor Plan and Equipment 

Please see equipment list below for details for sound, audio visual, lighting and other equipment available for use; 

PDF PlayHQ Floor plan 

PDF Equipment List 


Artist Mailing List 

From time to time we are looking for new workshops or programmes providers. Join our artists mailing list if you are interested in working with us. 



What’s an Ideatorium?

Do you accept submissions for work for adults?

Is this a grant?

Can I submit more than one Ideatorium application?

How complete does my project idea need to be?

What is the process after application?

I’ve performed/ exhibited this work or something similar somewhere else, is that okay?

What is an advisory panel? And who is on it?

I’ve missed the deadline. Can I just send you my idea anyway?

What if I’m still working out some of the information?

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