Who should we invite to Devoted and Disgruntled next year PLUS Would inviting children etc to D&D help theatre ?

Convener(s): Ed J and Jonathan Petherbridge


Fiona Watson, Phelim McD, Julia Tomokym Angela Clerkin, Catherine Paskell, Rebecca Maltby, Phillipa Barr, Julian Crouch, Jodie Wilkinson, Ellen Parry, Sarah Grange, Katherine Warman, Mark Prince, Katherine Rodeingm Jason Ho, Simon Wilinson, Victoria Dyson, Ergen Nicholasson, Gemma Painter, James Stenhouse, Roger Nelson

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

PROBLEM – there is a concern that this is not a very diverse gathering and that this might be harmful to the development of theatre, but there is a principle that whoever comes are the right people (eg they care enough to give up the time and  go through the pain barrier). How do we reconcile this ?

CONSENSUS: Next year we should all bring someone with us who is not necessarily a theatre maker – including children and animals who are interested in theatre. 

DISCUSSION – lots of people not here that we would be interested in talking to.

And it would be nourishing for theatre to widen the constituency.

  • Regional Theatre/Commercial Producers (are they absent because they have jobs ? and don’t need to come)
  • Youth Theatre Members
  • Adult Theatre group members
  • Audience members
  • NYT
  • NSDF
  • Funders
  • Thinkers from other arenas

Would children being here work ?

Phelim - Children and young people engage when open space is used, they post sessions – or wander off if it gets boring. They would change the culture of the event.

Phelim - The more the homogenous the attenders, the less interesting the event. 

Jonathan – Read Michael Holden’s recent paper “Democratic Culture” he suggests people protect the arts because the arts are special to them, this can throw a cordon around art – which in turn can exclude people. How do can D&D turn this cordon outwards and help widen the gene pool of theatre makers.


Need to look at language of invitation and what the question is.

People don’t come because of the length.

And some think it’s going to be about whingeing.

The process is hard. It takes a day to go through the process of realizing you don’t have to have an idea. 

Possible solutions

Julian – we could invite keynote speakers (“thinkers”) but instruct them to float rather than giving them a platform

What is valuable is intergenerational discourse. We all want mentors.

Or run targeted/themed D&D’s eg with black theatre makers.

Nb there are satellite D&D’s around the country – one is coming up in Newcastle (but it will be open to non Geordies)

General conversation about other places Open Space has been used. One company has used them instead of appraisals. Using it has changed the culture of Improbable “things are much more fluid”

General conversation around feelings – it being live (not digital) is important. It requires emotion, intellectual commitment, and stamina

Emma talks about re-finding herself at D&D (others agree)

Improbable are happy for anyone else to run D&D or to co-host as it is quite demanding on a small company. Co-hosting with another organization with connections to a different demographic was suggested as a way to diversify attendance. 


The group expanded and contracted and expanded again. Some people came, then went away, then returned. Does this indicate we are troubled by this issue ?