A FESTIVAL that promotes playfulness as the secret to happiness will open online this week.

The Edinburgh-based event is aimed at giving people all over the world techniques to introduce playfulness into their lives.

Artistic director Saras Feijoo told The National that it was particularly relevant during the current coronavirus pandemic as being playful can help to “heal hearts”.

The event was due to take place at the capital’s Summerhall but due to the outbreak has been transformed into an online event designed for anyone struggling to have fun.

“The idea is to help people with their state of mind and attitude and by end of the festival they will have a toolkit they can use to have a more playful attitude,” said Feijoo, who has trained in physical comedy theatre and has performed across Europe, South America and North America.

“I believe this is important because it helps us to relax and it gives us energy. It takes away the unnecessary stress and pressure we put on ourselves and helps us to distance ourselves from what is happening by engaging our imagination. When you are playful you are opening up to infinite possibilities.”

One of the workshops is aimed at teaching audiences how to make music inspired by buildings seen every day, while another looks at why people often hate change.

Feijoo said a simple way to introduce some playfulness into daily life was by “doing a turn” when moving around the house.

“If you add movement to your life I promise you will find fun within,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be a turn like a tango dancer – just use your body and your energy in the way only you move.”

Once people became used to doing a little turn, she said they would start adding innovations like moving their hands or perhaps a yell. Even those who are less mobile can still benefit by moving in any way they can, even if they only move by a centimetre, according to Feijoo. “It’s all about inner joy and how we go about life,” she said. “I believe that when you go about life in a playful way you go further. When you are more playful it helps you connect with who you are and we create a connection with ourselves that no one else can break.”

As well as talks and workshops there will be a “scratch night” with performances from the festival contributors so that viewers can “laugh and relax a little bit”.

“Every event in our programme will provide practical ways to help choose a more playful and cheerful approach to our day-to-day routine,” said Feijoo.

“I believe in the power of being playful as a ‘tool’ to heal our hearts because it engages our imagination.”

Workshop leaders include Tim Licata of Plutôt la Vie, Christine Devaney of Curious Seed, Richard Medrington, Pete Baynes from Tukuo, The Unique Comedy Ukulele Orchestra and Saras Feijoo.

The festival begins on Thursday, June 4 and can be found at www.2020.playfulfest.com.