Why ask the question - well, since we're using the Open Space method to guide us over this weekend, an approach from the world of tech innovation, I wondered what else there is to learn. I've recently been feeling the urge to pop a theatre bubble that feels like it's running out of oxygen.

So here we are - a punk fan performer, a philosophy-loving festival producer, a cross-sector project manager, a student producer exploring the interplay of film, dance, and theatre, a former theatre and opera director turned university cultural collaborator, a poet and VFX-savvy theatre director, and a corporate PR communications expert serving on an arts board of trustees.

As an interdisciplinary performer and maker, I've had to wear many hats and spin many plates throughout my career. But my motivation for asking this question goes beyond just performance modes or mediums. Discipline, in this context, casts a wide net, encompassing other professional sectors and personal spheres.

Adrienne Maree Brown's ‘Emergent Strategy’ was suggested as key reading. Rooted in community organising and resistance, this approach calls for thoughtful planning and responsiveness to structures and environments. Theatre, as a live, ever-shifting medium, should strive to be a more emergent art form.

What does it mean to think like a dancer, curator, or accountant? What can we gain from co-creating with different professional disciplines and cultural backgrounds?
While there's an established narrative about the benefits of creative practitioners engaging with those working in sectors such as finance or medicine, what if the exchange goes the other way? Those outside of this industry might assume artists can be a bit clueless beyond “soft” skills. But maybe it's not that we don't know what we're doing; rather, we're avoidant in making decisive choices and having clarity in our approach and intentions - something the corporate world can be brutally efficient at.

Academia offers rigorous thought and interrogation processes that aren't always afforded in the UK theatre ecology, which expects innovation and risk-taking to happen within short R&D periods. The culture of critical discussion among research peers isn't always welcomed in a theatre world that may talk the soft liberal talk but has gatekeeping structures in place, with a precarious freelance workforce fighting over limited resources, wary of ending up on anyone's shitlist. Scientists and mathematicians might dedicate their lives to a single line of inquiry, but it's not just endless exploration - there's a point to it and hope that comes with its sustained investment. Perhaps theatre should ask: what is the utility in what we're doing? Academia has begun to move its emphasises beyond dissemination to impact, measured by reach, engagement, and citations. What does impact look like for us? The world of "proper jobs" sometimes shows us what not to do, like the burdensome culture of compliance, regulations, and obsessing over impact metrics to the point of hindering the work and not actually helping the intended beneficiaries, ultimately serving only to pat the backs of the higher-ups.

Curators are like facilitators, thoughtfully considering who they want in the room together. Theatre could benefit from this approach, carefully inviting and holding space for variety and spontaneous exchange, like a dream dinner party host.

Top tip: Every team should have an engineer, those innovative problem solvers who can break things down into actionable steps. And an accountant - they don't just list problems but create a taxonomy of issues and risks, prioritising what matters and dismissing what doesn't. (I think I need an accountant beyond doing my taxes, to be my life coach!)

We need to think more broadly than the sometimes cynical equal opportunity forms in regards to DIVERSITY. Cognitive diversity - the differences in thought, perception, and approach - is what I'm craving. But you can't just invite people in and consider the job done. We must create and facilitate a space that allows for genuine innovation, exploration, and challenge without personal grudges or ego clashes.

Community organising often brings together an eclectic mix of people who might not otherwise choose to spend time together, united by a common purpose and an understanding of their individual contributions.

How will all this make better theatre? By forcing us to put our egos aside and connect with a world that we purport to reflect.