Festival finds the heart of happiness

An impressive line-up of happiness champions are set to investigate exactly what it is that makes our hearts swell

Interrogate! is the slightly alarming, if well-intended, title for a forthcoming festival hosted by the ever-expanding creative ambition of The Dartington Hall Trust in Devon.

Of the three main focuses of the Trust’s work – social justice, sustainability, and the arts – Interrogate! falls squarely between first and last, with this year’s festival theme giving much-needed respite from the dire rolling news and doom-mongering currently sweeping the globe: happiness.

On Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October, the festival will feature a prestigious roll call of professionals exploring the deeper, broader and lighter sides of happiness, including regular BBC Radio 4 broadcaster, Mona Siddiqui, who was recently awarded an OBE for her work on interfaith relations. Laughter workshop leader, Joe Hoare, and new theatre wunderkind, Daniel Bye, will be among the happiness pioneers, and debaters including social activists, artists, writers, beatboxers, mental health professionals, lawyers, campaigners and ex-Wall Street bankers will be on site, discussing the true nature of the oft-elusive emotion.

There will be impromptu gatherings with a pop-up theatre, a speakers’ corner and a (now not so) surprise appearance from Positive News. The Schumacher College, situated on the Dartington estate, will be hosting what they have snappily titled ‘The SCHED Lectures’, giving Joe Public the opportunity to enter the bright orange wooden shed of happiness to express what it is that makes their hearts swell.

This is an impressive line-up of what is set to be an inspiring variety of happiness champions, and marks a big stride forward from last year’s festival. As well as a host of energising events, the theme is clearly a call to explore what lies at the heart of what it is to be human. Happiness can be elusive and hard to hang on to, but is often the holy grail of human experience. As such, Interrogate! will investigate, debate, sing, dance and talk its way through the many ways we can learn to be happy.