Week Three :: July 7–14

The Art of Play

Play is critically important in the social and emotional development of a child, but research also tells us that play shouldn’t end when we grow up. This week, we take a multigenerational approach to play, to the act of instructive fun. How does play help people of all ages build community, keep our minds sharp and strengthen the relationships with those we love? From the free-spirited, free-form play of youth to the intellectual challenge of puzzles and games to the creative problem-solving exhibited in board rooms, we examine the science behind the importance of play, the changing culture of play and gaming, and the innovative work aimed at improving our personal and professional lives through play.

VIEW ALL Weekly theme descriptions



10:45 a.m. Lectures

Morning Lectures

10:45 a.m., Monday-Friday, Amphitheater

Ideas and opinions are exchanged in an open, challenging atmosphere, and Chautauqua's knowledgeable audiences have the opportunity to participate in question-and-answer sessions at the conclusion of the lectures.


  • Monday, July 09, 2018 | 10:45am

    Jill Vialet

    View Details    

    Founder and CEO, Playworks

    Jill Vialet founded Playworks in 1996, in two schools in Berkeley, California. Since then, Playworks has become the leading national nonprofit...

    Location: Amphitheater


  • Tuesday, July 10, 2018 | 10:45am

    Steven Johnson

    View Details    

    Author, Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World

    Steven Johnson is an innovator and author whose most recent book, Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World, revolves around the creative power of play: ideas and innovations that set into motion the many momentous changes in science, technology, politics...

    Location: Amphitheater


  • Wednesday, July 11, 2018 | 10:45am

    Peter Gray

    View Details    

    Research professor of psychology, Boston College

    Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College, where his fields include children’s play; self-directed learning; evolutionary psychology, developmental psychology...

    Location: Amphitheater


  • Thursday, July 12, 2018 | 10:45am

    Brendan Tuohey

    View Details    

    Co-founder and Executive Director, PeacePlayers 

    Brendan Tuohey is co-founder, with his brother Sean, and executive director of PeacePlayers International. PeacePlayers International uses basketball to unite and educate young people in divided communities.

    Location: Amphitheater


  • Friday, July 13, 2018 | 10:45am

    Laraine Newman

    View Details    

    Original cast member, “Saturday Night Live”; Founding member, The Groundlings

    Laraine Newman is an Emmy- and Annie Award-nominated performer. She began studying improv and mime at the age of 16 and continued to study improvisation and mime until graduating Beverly Hills High School, and studied mime with Marcel Marceau in Paris.

    Location: Amphitheater