Devoted & Disgruntled 10

What are we going to do about Theatre and the Performing Arts?

January 24th - 26th, York Hall, Bethnal Green, London. Tickets £24 / £18, plus group offers.

An invitation from Phelim McDermott, Artistic Director, Improbable:

Dear lover of theatre and the arts,

It's nearly time for Devoted and Disgruntled 10. In case you have never been and are still wondering whether you should come, here are a few thoughts about what it is and why you should be there.

10 Things about Devoted and Disgruntled you might not know...

Devoted & Disgruntled is:

1: A wonderful way of working together that could change how you do things in your other work.
D&D happens in Open Space. It's not as weird as it sounds and there's nothing really special about it, it just means the participants set the agenda. We put everything we want to work on up on the wall on the first day and then go to work. The participants self-organise so they work only on the issues they want to work on. There's no going to sessions that don't interest you or sitting in rows listening to people you don't want to hear or can't question.

2: An amazing conference of over 350 people passionate about theatre and performance.
A gathering of people who come from all areas of theatre: fringe, subsidised and commercial. This event is not only for a particular kind of theatre or performing arts person. It's simply made up of those who turn up and want to work together. On-stage, off-stage, administrators, audiences, experts and amateurs are all equally welcome.

3: A really effective place to test run that great idea that you never get around to working on.
Many of the projects or actions that have come out of D&D were ones that people had been holding onto for a while but just hadn't had the support or energy to realise. D&D has supported many people to believe in their ideas (even the crazy ones) and kickstart them into life. It's WD40 for creative ideas in theatre. It's not just about big projects: it's also a place to work on the obvious, mundane things that could be improved when we make theatre and work together. Sometimes improving the tiny incremental things can make a sea change happen.

4: A great place to ask a genuine question you want the answer to.
At D&D you can call a session to communicate to the world something you are doing or planning. However it's also a place where you can call a session on something you really don't know about and need some answers for.

5: A place where you can make real connection with people.
D&D is a great place to connect with people you have never met before. Surprisingly, it is also a place where you may connect with people you have known for years but have never really had that chance to take the conversation deeper. Bring a friend or colleague along and see what you find out!

6: A place where you can cut to the chase and have difficult conversations.
You might be thinking this all sounds rather fluffy and “touchy-feely". However the fact that you set the agenda means that if we aren't addressing something important or your issue isn't being talked about then you can call a session about that issue. It's shouldn't be possible to go away from D&D and say "My issue wasn't on the agenda." If it matters, put it on. It can be thorny, uncomfortable or controversial. Nothing is censored. Your voice will get heard.

7: A great place to gather and reconnect to the inspirational things that got you interested in theatre to begin with.
It's a place to have a creative conversation. It's a place where great new ideas are born. People often report feeling re-inspired after our Annual D&D.

8: A great time to do some work you have been putting off.
Throughout our working lives we are mostly getting on with the work of making stuff happen: rehearsing shows, raising money, paying the bills. We often find ourselves saying we don't have the time for things that we know are important because they get pushed aside by things that are urgent. Sometimes we put off working on these important things because we simply have too many other people asking for our time, sometimes it’s because we are afraid if we do start asking those bigger questions we might have to change the way we are doing things and it feels easier to carry on with business as usual. D&D is the perfect space and time to ask the big questions and address the important issues that we really could benefit from looking at creatively.

9: An incredible record of what's been going on in UK theatre and beyond in the last ten years.
The D&D website has the biggest grassroots record of the recent changes in our artistic ecology. We have held Open Space events internationally from Australia to America to Brazil, as well as across the UK during our Devoted & Disgruntled Roadshow for the Cultural Olympiad. You can see the 1500+ reports from these events here. You can add to this record by coming along to D&D10 and joining the International conversation.

10: 10 years of D&D.
It's been 10 years since I wrote the first invite and Improbable hosted our first Devoted & Disgruntled event. Since then we’ve seen shows, nationwide events, venues, partnerships and companies grow. The conversation remains as vital as ever, but there’s still plenty of work to do, problems to solve and connections to make.

D&D is an opportunity for the theatre and performing arts community to gather in Open Space and work on what could be improved; the things we love, the things we hate and the things we could be doing better. The only thing that could potentially make it a more exciting event is if you joined us.

I hope to meet you there,


Booking for this event has now closed.