Join our 18th annual "unconventional convention" for everyone who loves, makes, and lives theatre and the performing arts on Saturday 14th January 2023.

Book your tickets here!

An invitation from Kathryn Bilyard, executive producer at Improbable
We're near the end of 2022 and it's been a difficult, exhausting and maybe sometimes exhilarating year for us all. We've made it, just. At Improbable we are kicking off 2023 with the return of our annual Devoted and Disgruntled event – a moment for the sector to come together and try to work out what the hell comes next. It feels to me as I write this that there could not be a more necessary place to start the new year. 

As a sector we're facing so many forces at the moment which increase pressure and drive division. I did do a draft of this which listed some them but it was a bit depressing, so I cut that. Two colleagues said to me this week that 'we are playing right into their hands' ('we' being the sector and 'they' being DCMS/the government and whoever is leading the department/the country this week). We're busy firing anger at ACE, criticising each other's work and choices, who has made their work available for free and who hasn't, London vs not-London, 'crown jewels' vs everyone else, freelancers vs employed staff... we are making their own arguments for them and spending our sparse energy doing it. 

I don't want to do that. 

Collaborations, partnerships, friendships, project teams and support networks both formal and informal have kept me going this year. We've shared rage, tried to measure risk with others, shared knowledge about what's going on, shared resources, sometimes cried together and felt lost together and also celebrated together. All this has been both a lifeline and a continual reminder why I am 'devoted'. 

I want to do more of that. 

Can we increase our generosity to each other in this landscape? Can we create and share resources better? How can we attract, care for, sustain and develop talent collectively, recognising our shared workforce and ecosystem? How can we advocate for our work and the sector with unapologetic ferocity? 

In other words, how, in the face of everything going on in the sector and the world can we be the people, the organisations, the sector and the change we want to see? - That is my question and challenge at the start of 2023. 
People will attend this event with very different contexts and points from which to start the day and the year. Some will have more resources than others to do this work. It's going to take people from across the sector, from new starters to leadership of national institutions, artists, fundraisers, curators, reviewers, production teams, marketeers, funders, producers, audiences, to come together and, in the face of everything, support each other individually and collectively to steer our own course. 

So we invite you to join us in January, however you are in that moment. Let's connect and re-connect. Let's start off the year by getting a load of stuff we want to work on up on the wall and get to it. 
D&D 2023 is supported by University of Kent
University of Kent logo Gulbenkian arts centre logo


Improbable will be making a contribution from our core funds to subsidise this event as much as we can, but to fully cover costs we need to make a further £2,500 from ticket sales. This works out at around £15 per person, if everyone paid the same.

To reflect the different positions of everyone coming to this event we’ve made tickets Pay What You Can starting from a minimum of £5. If you can afford please do consider paying £15 for your ticket, or even doubling your purchase to create a ‘golden ticket’ for someone who cannot otherwise afford to come.

If the minimum £5 is a barrier to your attendance, please contact us via [email protected]

Event timings

D&D 2023 starts at 10am and ends at 6pm. You are free to take a break whenever you like, and there is a lunch hour between 1 and 2 (approximately - the timetable is only a guideline!).


Trains run to Canterbury West from London Victoria, London St Pancras, Ramsgate and Margate.

Local bus services regularly run from Canterbury West to the venue. More information on buses can be found here.

Parking at the venue is free on the event day. If you are driving, we encourage car shares and can retweet / share your lift offers on social media.


You are welcome to bring your own lunch, or purchase food from the campus cafe next door to the venue. The cafe will be open between 12 and 3.


Access information 

We are really pleased to announce our wellbeing partner for this event is Wellbeing in the Arts. Founder Adam Bambrough and Counsellor Rachel de Silva will be on hand throughout to support you.

Wellbeing in the arts logo

Deaf, deafened and hard-of-hearing

Live captions are provided for opening and closing (the beginning and end of the event when we are all gathered in one group). For the breakout-spaces part of the day there will be no captioning but we do have hand-held amplifiers for you to use, and some smaller, quieter break-out spaces.

4 BSL interpreters will be present for the whole day.

Mobility & building access

The venue is wheelchair-accessible including a wheelchair-accessible toilet. There is a changing place with a raisable bed and shower in the library building, which is less than 5 minutes from the event venue.

Blind and partially sighted access

Access support workers are on hand throughout the event to support with audio description, navigating the space, note-taking and report-writing. We will be creating a text-to-speech-friendly version of the timetable wall as sessions are being called. Braille principles are available. Breakout spaces are marked with bright yellow floor-cloths.

Neurodivergent access

We welcome neurodivergent participants. Open Space is always a 'relaxed performance'!

Personal assistants and carers are always admitted free of charge.

Access support workers will be on hand to help you throughout the event.

If you feel worried or are unsure of the process, you can ask the facilitator or co-ordinator for help at any time during the event. They'll make themselves known to the group at the beginning of the event.

If you want to know more about what to expect at this event, you can click here for a clear-English guide to the Open Space Technology. We are happy to answer any questions about the process that you might have, so you can also contact us to ask for more information.

There will be a silent space if you need a bit of peace and quiet.


We don't provide childcare, but children are always welcome in the space if supervised by their parent or carer.

We are also open to supporting networks of parents to club together and arrange a childcare solution that suits them.

An invitation from Sophie Stone

An invitation from Paula Varjack - performance and video artist. 


At my first D&D in 2015. I was in the very top beginning of a research and performance project called Show Me The Money, I ran a session on artists fees . Looking back now, there are so many ways that experience shaped how I felt enabled after that day, to approach people in the industry regardless of my status of “emerging” (something I would soon learn came with further challenges) 

So I am grateful for the first connections made that spurred me on with Show Me the Money in 2015, and then led me to setting up the Digital Performance Network in 2021 . 

Next year it will be 8 years since the first time I participated in a D&D open space asking what we’re going to do about theatre? It feels like we are always in a critical time when it comes theatre. It often seems a feat in itself after 8 years to still be making art. But it is in those 8 years,  when I have transitioned from “emerging” to “Mid-career” that the questions I began with:

How do I do this? How do I make a career of this?  How do I live from this? 

Are only feeling more stark. 

I am going to ask an awkward question folks - WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT MID-CAREER ARTISTS?  And I know that some of you may say, but we need to prioritise emerging artists, otherwise we risk losing the next generation!!  (I am also first to say, that *emerging* doesn’t always mean *young* )

Don’t get me wrong. I am concerned and invested in supporting the next generation. It challenges and invigorates my work. But! if we are developing and platforming emerging artists, without opportunities and support for their ideas to  grow in scope… What exactly are we training and developing them for? 

Theatre is a delicate ecology. Much artist development is unseen and unrecognised. When I was starting out, artists more experienced than me, helped me with funding applications, advised me on venues, gave feedback after scratches and previews, and inspired my practice by the way they continued to push their own. Now, many mid career artists who would be doing this, are reconsidering if they can continue to make work.

In those early days of the pandemic I saw a lot of arts leaders talking about building back better. I welcomed greater awareness and concern about freelancers.  As soon as restrictions lifted, with less money available, and more anxiety about audiences, I saw old habits returned to and worse. 

If we care about developing theatre as an artform in this country , we need opportunities and partnerships that enable artists, solo makers and companies - to become established - through support at different stages of their career. What I want to see, is open dialogue, collaborative ideas and actions to support this. I hope you can be part of that conversation. 

An invitation from Kristin Fredricksson, theatre-maker & improviser, artistic director of Beady Eye, arts facilitator & somatic educator

‘What are we going to do about theatre and the performing arts?’ is a misleading and, dare I say it (!), outmoded way to describe this event. In my experience, it has always been vaster and more eclectic and diverse than those terms.

I first came to D & D in about 2010. It was a lot to take in, but the main sense I came away with was that I could have conversations I was interested in here and I would find people that wanted to have them with me. I was a theatre maker, but if I wanted to talk about fungi or Feldenkrais or sound in fine art, I could. I could chant, drink coffee or run around outside, depending on my mood. Things happened, there were births and sweet deaths. And there was a buzz of activity that made me think about lots of things I had never entertained previously. I came away nourished and excited.

Here in Kent, I find that visual arts, improvised music and dance, live poetry and open mics form a big part of my creative life. The homegrown scene in these areas is rich. It includes a lot of live performance and a lot of people who might run screaming from the words ‘theatre’ or ‘the performing arts’ applied to their work/play.

So I offer an alternative title for those who might be put off by the ‘real’ one:

‘What are we going to do about liveness, aliveness and livelihoods in the arts (in Kent)?’

To all the music makers, soundsmiths, word speakers & poets, live art drag acts, movers & martial artists, buskers, breakers, instrument creators, making mothers, Fray Bentos drummers, hoodeners & puppeteers, punk cabaret divas, installation & video artists, craft-sculptors, fermenters & foragers, beer can votive leaders, sweat lodge shamans and woodcarvers, artists of all and any feather, the future is collaborative, so let’s meet?

We are the artists and makers who are here and a lot of us don’t fit. We find each other sometimes, but it can take time, like foraging mushrooms. D & D is a good place to find more pieces that make up the ecology of the arts in our strange part of the country. There is no big city here to provide focus. As a result, there are many smaller pools of activity, and it can be tricky to get a sense of what’s going on. There is no Time Out for Kent. (I’m thinking of the old paper version!)

I feel like we could do with a better map of the territory, a sense of who’s here. I think there is path beating to do between us all and that the live landscape of Kent would benefit (and us too). D & D is the place to work on any idea. This is an opportunity to raise the roof, raise the bar, plug in to each other and take off. I hope I’ll see you there.

An invitation from Bill Bankes-Jones, Artistic Director of Tête à Tête


Booking for this event has now closed.