Convener(s): Gavin O’Carroll

Participants: Shaeran Thomas, Michael Twaits, Patrick S Kane, Anna Newell

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

- It was felt that this topic was about the persons investment and ownership – ownership of the whole of the work, not just their particular role in it.

- It was suggested that those in theatre education and drama schools need 2 educations really, that they need to know about the business of doing what they do.

- It was suggested that the definition of role was an issue – not jack of all trades – good at one or two specialisms but had an ownership (through understanding) for all.

- Perhaps the ability (responsibility) to value other roles (through the experience of actually doing them in the past) is one of the most valuable abilities we might attribute to ‘practitioners’.

- We talked about the ‘actor techie’ divide (also the creative / management divide in buildings) where in building the people inside are not talking and creating a horrible culture in which to do their work. That these were sick buildings and culture of value and respect needed to replace this.

- Interesting that as theatre people we are meant to ‘Create, Collaborate, Communicate’ and that actually we are not good at this.

- We talked about the difference in motivation that the terms ‘practitioner’ and ‘actor’ engenders in the person named. One has the association of being in control of their fate as it were with the former and the latter not (despite what the term ‘actor’ seems to suggest). In that actors typically wait by the phone for the call, and practitioners are more likely to make work happen. We discussed whether either of these paths were good or bad. Which is most important to an industry? No real conculsions but implications.

- Does a company of practitioners make better theatre than a role specific company? Conclusions were that sometimes yes sometimes no, that honestly it doesn’t appear to matter - what appears to matter is ownership, to share in the vision of the work…which is essential in a practical manner to find truth for actor, and that really a director is a fool not to use that investment as it tends to bring out better work in the actor.

- It was suggested that we are more appropriately called collaborators not actors / practitioners.

- We need to further a culture of respect and value of all the roles in theatre, with a focus on cultures within an established building

- Are hierarchies involved in a negative way in decreasing ownership of the whole of the work?

- It was discussed that the differences in actors and practitioners was more keenly felt by the younger members of the group, and that it appeared that being in the theatre world for a longer amount of time taught you that you are in fact more than your role in terms of creating better work. Perhaps actors (and not just actors, also the other roles in theatre) should be educated about this earlier in their careers?