Convener(s): Tassos Stevens

Participants: Francesca Hyde, Antonio Ferrara, Chris Goode, Annette Mees, Angela Unsworth, John Marquez?, Mark Curtis... More people whose names I don't know

Fun as a diminishing compliment

Something is just fun or more than just fun?

  • Theory of Flow - Cziemolinski (off the top of my head, I know not spelt right but if you google Flow you’ll find him)
  • Theory of Fun - Raph Koster

When have you had fun?

  • Jumping in the sea with friends
  • Fun is stupid, unexpected, social
  • Stage-fighting
  • Fun is activity, mastering a skill

Taking your mind off something + stupid demonstrates that there is an uncoupling of conscious reflection

                - It's very present 

  • Breaking into houses when squatting

Time off from being responsible, or being irresponsible? Certainly obligation kills fun. Later discussion: you can't fun someone, fun is something you have. I like the word recklessness that came up later more than irresponsible.


[around about here a couple of people swung by and shouted 'fun!' 'are you having fun!' 'why are you talking rather than having fun!']


When is circus just fun and when is it more than that?

> It's not fun when performers are trying to be fun and not.


What work have we seen that have been fun and much more than fun?

Circus cabarets. In live/work spaces by invitation, for free/donation/small amount. A gathering where you don't know the work, unexpected, no guarantee of quality just of commitment, and the social, smoky, drinky, fun. You can heckle.

Gathering by Rabbit. A roomful of people invited to a gathering and finding instructions to make the event. Including pizza delivered to the audience. Bumpy. No flow. Much longer than it seemed but that was much of the point, you had to work to make it happen and the results seemed serendipitous but perhaps weren't, more complex than simple action and reward. 

Excess of things to do - is that part of fun? Because it invites an active choice/agency ? 

Sometimes you as a maker can anatomise a show - ah, you're doing that, now this, it's like watching a skeleton striptease and that's no fun.


  • Lifegame and Animo by Improbable

                    - fun to open up minds to get the story

  • JM worked on Cinderella, the knife-edge, electric, live, it flew or it crashed moment by moment 
  • Twelfth Night by Filter

                    - when they got the audience singing, led by Toby Belch, and everyone complicit, in the same space together and pizza delivered (if pizza is delivered to the audience, is that a condition of fun?!) 

  • C'est Vauxhall/Barbican by Duckie

                     - paying for acts from a menu and not knowing what they would be

                     - anticipation of the act and the combinations


  • Joan Littlewood

                      - actors communicating directly with the audience

  • The Pleasure Palace - never finished. (I want to find out more about this)
  • Slava Snow Show - a layer of profundity at the human connection in the final minutes of playing with strangers


  • When being in a rehearsal space

                       - Is that because everyone is present and potentially active?


a space the company

- fun for one person dancing with an elderly couple

- not fun for another by herself, the self-consciousness of the


The temperature in the group, where you are 

The Yes Let's exercise and when people can't say yes wholeheartedly


Conventional theatre event

  • sitting in the dark
  • is there a communality here that enables rapid communication of response to connect us together?
  • is there fun in the relative anonymity?



  • is it fun in a big space
  • big acts used to perform in old music halls like the Hackney Empire, you can still see their face
  • in a stadium, where you happen to be in the same space, is there still a connection?
  • the Izzard moment - when he used the big space to its own advantage (I think this allies to the previous point, it's about live=responsiveness in or to the space)

Scale of the space

- is there a liberation in a larger space?

Scale of fun

Large open spaces

- seated space controls your fun

- gig where you decide where you are and how hot you want to get, to be moshing at the front versus cooling with a drink at the back

- football match, the structure of the tribe that the seating places

- a bullfight, not necessarily fun - because the stakes are not trivial - but a collective suspense and involuntary synchrony of action (and taking in of breath), a collective choreography that naturally and organically arises


Sport is fun because of the structured indeterminacy - you don't know what happens next but the possibilities are limited and you absolutely know what they mean

- which is why watching sport is less fun if you don't take a side?


scale of emotional response possible in sport - and music

- you can shout and scream and sing and dance if you like

- enables a bigger expression of feeling = more potential fun?

- also the transgression, getting loud and dirty


someone tried to sum as 'fun = thrill + flow'

(added 'transgression/risk' and then 'recklessness')

a coda where we talked about fun in the audience

The Edwardians -  a group who dress up in Edwardian clothes and either give standing ovations to work or walk out audibly tutting

and then - and only then - did someone mention Pantomime

which is where we finished