Physical Fest 2019 Combined discussion of "Bodies" and "Working Class Voices"

We combined two discussions, one about what it was to navigate the world of theatre with a female body and the other about what it was to navigate that world with a working class voice. There are many parallels. Read more

Physical Fest 2019 How do we enable female working-class voices to be continually heard by the gatekeepers of spaces?

Our question was one of many, posed, by those that attended Open Space event at #physicalfest2019 the focus being working-class females and their access to leadership in the arts. Read more

How can we use impro to change the paradigm in education?

Schools still run on a 19th Century industrialised model; how can improvisation support a more holistic approach to education that helps young people tackle the complex challenges that the future holds? Read more

How do we deal with the emotions involved in rebalancing representation? (From Physical Fest D&D: What can we all do about people from working-class backgrounds being under represented in the arts?)

To get more diversity in our arts scene we will need to deal with the emotional undercurrents that are fueling our behaviour and impeding progress. What solutions do we have for addressing this? We did focus on what it means to be a woman who is doing this. What is below is not a prescription, rather a record of our discussion. Read more

#PhysicalFest 13 06 19. I am female leader, what do you need/want from me?

"How do we improve female working class visiblility in the arts?" was the question posed at the start of day. As a female arts sector leader (Festival Director - therefore a programmer, fundraiser, commissioner, debater, network lead/contributor, ambassador, etc), I felt it was important to ask what people wanted or needed from me, as someone who has a voice -in certain spaces- to offer. I was trying to buck the assumption that I would already know what women wanted from their peers and lead Read more

Improvising with kids and families - discussion notes from GII2019

We are improvisers who are working, playing and researching with kids across a range of settings - community projects, camps, schools, families, impro classes. We shared our experiences and wondered about working and playing with mixed groups of adults and kids (eg families, communities) with impro. We thought about responsibilities and care associated with working and living with kids. We asked questions, also raised elsewhere at the Symposium, about perceptions of "accepting" or "blocking" in Read more

Bridging the gap between core programming and education/participation work

How can we better develop the connection between main stage and education/participation work? Is there a stigma attached to participation work from an audiences perspective that means they don't attend performances with this at its heart? Do audiences fear it will be of lesser quality therefore not want to risk wasting their valuable money? Read more

Bel Canto: Cog or Creative?

A wide-ranging discussion about the role of the Vocalist within Opera Read more

Are international co-productions good for opera?

The use of co-productions between opera houses across different parts of the world is claimed to be a way to pool companies’ resources and save money. However, is a consequence of this practice that such productions are likely to communicate less effectively with the audience of any single theatre because they are trying to reach too many different audiences at the same time and because taste varies so greatly across the world? Read more

An Ideal Critic? What should they be writing about? Who are they writing for?

Charlotte called the session because, not being a musician herself, she often wonders whether she is really an ideal opera critic (her reviews coming from a dramatic, rather than musicological standpoint). Michelle also called the session, having identified several unanswered questions about critics and their working process in the course of her professional experience. Read more

400 more years? Does opera have a future?

In this session, we explored the prospects for opera in the coming decades and discussed its sustainability as a form. Read more


This session is created by accident. Read more

"REGIETHEATER" (Or, what are we going to do about Directors?)

We discussed the concept of “Regietheater” - what it means. Some people had heard the word ‘Eurotrash’ also applied to this type of opera production which seemed to provoke some strong reactions. Read more

Let's Play with our Racism - at GII symposium

This is an open space session I facilitated at the G I I symposium on Friday morning 17 May. How I introduced the session: I am a racist. Not because I intentionally discriminate or harm people outside my own race, but because I was brought up in a racialised system. Because of this, I may behave and speak in a discriminatory and hurtful manner without noticing. Some call it “unconscious bias“. I think it is time we take responsibility and become conscious. To experiment with new and un Read more

Playing Like An Ally

This Open Space covered a wide range of subjects including gender, ethnicity, stage allies, pre- and post-show ally-ship, awareness, play and best practice. It was convened by Stephen Davidson (Author: Play Like An Ally and Improvising Gender; Artistic Director: Improvable; Nursery Theatre: Training Centre Manager), Minder Kaur Athwal (Facilitator), Victoria Hogg (Founder: DDG Improv and The Offer Bank). NB. These notes are not perfect! They were taken long-hand in the moment and are a startin Read more

You Be Me: Background

This is added to Richard Coaten's report of this event: Read more


Why was there an absence of younger improv troups & artists? What generation is GII tailored for? Does time & experience equate to best practice? How can we make this an intergenerational space and open up the 'inner circle'? Will that create better opportunities for both emerging artists and established improvisers? Read more

Safety And Openness From Day 1 (Improv teaching)

A discussion about how to create a genuinely safe and open atmosphere in improv classes from the first class someone takes. How do we protect students from potentially harmful experiences which can arise from the rigidity or literal interpretation of 'Yes, and' ? Read more

Oogly Boogly - Improvising with Babies

These are notes taken as Guy Hartnell shared about the Oogly Boogly project, where performers improvised with babies by copying their movements and sounds, while the babies' parents watched. It took place inside a large inflatable venue. The notes were taken by Catherine Ryan. Read more

.You Be Me' - Mental Health Improvisation and Dementia

This was an experimental workshop combining the work of Frank Torino and Richard Coaten who met on the pavement on the way to Day 4. I discovered Frank had an interest in mental health and in improv work with theatre students in Denmark, mine was in how carers of people living with dementia might benefit from having access to improvisation and its role in maintaining their resilience, quality of life and relationship with their loved ones...meta theme - great link made between Franks' You Be Me' Read more

Looking after our Students and Ourselves #GII2019

A session at GII 2019, aimed at looking at how we look after the psychological, spiritual, social and physical needs of ourselves and our students/participants in improvisation classes and sessions. Read more

How Can I (a monolingual person) Make a Multilingual Show - for a Monolingual Audience?

I went to a talk at the Italian Cultural Institute featuring an English playwright and an Italian playwright, each speaking their own languages. I sat in the audience wearing headphones, and a ‘simultaneous translator’ hid behind the curtain with a microphone, speaking English in my ears while the Italian playwright spoke. It felt like I could understand Italian. I want to make a show that feels like that. Read more

How can Voila! Europe help you to connect with cross-cultural collaborators?

Voila! Europe Theatre Festival cultivates European theatre in London. Beyond our annual festival, we want to help artists connect and collaborate, and create opportunities for cross-cultural exchange. Read more

Dreams and a Heart - Help me to put dreams and a heart into my dolls ( number ?)

Deptford Lounge 'Writting: what do you need, and what can you share?' Read more

Who needs to change? - Diversity/inclusivity in drama schools.

This was one of the most incredible Devoted and Disgruntled sessions that I have attended. It was at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the discussions featured a heartwarming group of individuals whose collective experiences, knowledge and intellect on the issue of inclusivity in training fed a really important and intriguing session. Read more

How to Build Develop and Sustain a Career as a Writer

The challenges faced by emerging writers, and ways to approach them Read more

Awesome Women Meet-Up - What does that look like?

Day 3 of D&D 2019 - A practical discussion about how we can organise physical meet-up for 'Awesome women in the Arts' and what format etc that meeting should take. Read more

How can we 'sell' Translated or non-UK theatre to UK venues?

We talked about the practical reasons why only 1% of theatre in the UK is in translation, and tried to identify barriers to getting non-UK work put on here, then find some practical approaches to overcoming them. Although we may have asked more questions than we had answers, we began with frustration and ended feeling actually quite practical and hopeful! Read more

Making Connections: Artsist on the margins and gatekeepers

An action group to introduce artists and venues/programmers Read more


Exploration of the Ethics of working with audiences and breaking the expected theatre space. Read more

Making Connections: Artsist on the margins and gatekeepers

An action group to introduce artists and venues/programmers Read more

CAT: Day 1: Bridge the Gap

A range of views and experiences: how to sustain work within the current funding structures and views on future problems. And a proposal via Equity for a future new structure based on Provision and Distribution of arts, on providing work to a good level for those trained and aspiring to work in the the arts, and on properly paid work rather than on the restrictive "portfolio" and "excellence". Read more

Coming Back to Earth: Let’s share connecting, grounding practices

Skill sharing session of simple body, mind, spirit practices. Read more

Local Stories, Local Communities | D&D14 | Change of Art

The Change of Art collective wanted to call a session exploring the ways in which creatives can work with local people, communities and stories. Read more

Devised/experimental work and relationships with venues

How can theatres commissioning devised work + work created through experimental processes better support and facilitate the practical realisation of that work? A proxy session called by Ellan Parry, hosted at DandD14 by Kath Burlinson Read more

Your Life is a Deck of Cards: Shuffle up and suit yourself!

“How can the ancient symbols of clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds animate your work practices? You’re doing your best with the hand you’re dealt but things can feel limited no matter how lucky you feel or how strategically you play. Don’t come to brush up your bridge skills or practice your poker face but to unpack the archetypes that are hidden within your own story. Enjoy digging into fresh ideas and discover a trove of diamonds right under your feet! Elspeth Murray brings to the table over Read more

How to tour successful fringe musicals?

Having produced a sell out show called "Ferguson's Gang" at The Yvonne Arnaud's Mill Theatre in Guildford last September I am looking for the best way/s of being able to take it to wider audiences without losing my shirt! Read more

Neurodiversity in the Cultural Workforce. Access beyond Audiences and Artists

The majority (perhaps all?) current conversation within our sector around access for Neurodiverse people, concerns audiences, and artists. And predominantly that conversation centers around individuals or groups who have additional learning disabilities. It is no surprise that we consider that a lack of intellectual disability means that there will be no barriers to access, but it is disappointing that this is still the prevailing belief. Without taking anything away from those important conver Read more

I need a producer, how do I make it happen?

Over the last few years the reliance on the producer model for independent artists has become ever more prevalent. What are the current conversations we're having about the producer model in the freelance/independent arts Read more

I need a producer, how do I make it happen?

Over the last few years the reliance on the producer model for independent artists has become ever more prevalent. What are the current conversations we're having about the producer model in the freelance/independent arts Read more

Is improv a dirty word?

I called this as an improviser questioning their artistic identity and validity. I wanted to ask what people in the larger performing arts community thinks about it as an art form, and if it will ever be viewed as a "legitimate" performance art - and indeed if it should be. Read more

How to Help and Persuade Regional Theatres to Better Serve and Represent Their Local Community and Professional Arts Scene -

Discussions based on good examples of how regional theatres serve their local communities and support their local artists and finding areas of improvement in others. Read more

What are we doing about audiences for contemporary studio work?

We considered the challenges of building and sustaining audiences for non-traditional theatre -- not just for one visiting show, but for an artform. Examples of poor practice were considered, along with discussion of why some presenters regularly achieve successes. The need to understand this question in a national context, and take action to deal with it, was recognised as a desire to achieve a cultural shift. For this to work, it will be necessary to begin with exciting marketing teams i Read more

Accessibility in live gaming, what would help you play?

A discussion of tabletop role-play games / collaborative storytelling structures and how to make them accessible in the widest sense of the word Read more

My job involves theatre marketing and I think I hate it. How can we make it (i.e. theatre marketing) not suck?

I frequently find myself deeply frustrated and personally conflicted with how theatre marketing (in general) is planned and executed, and how it may compromise the artistic work. This is how I’m dealing with it. Read more

How do we turn the dying High St of Northampton into a more creative space.

Northampton is a town whose High St is slowly changing and dying, shops like M and S and BHS have closed, leaving big gaps of boarded up shops and empty windows. How can we do something positive to bring people back into the centre of town through creative activity? Helping people to believe in their town again. Read more

A Conversation About Wretched Contentment

We explored whether the performing arts has become a safe, comfort zone and whether this limits our career and personal life opportunities. The session took place a DandD14 on Sunday at 3pm. Read more

Can we have theatre news broadcasts to replace some of the sports news?

There seems to be more and more news about sports on all the broadcast media particularly BBC radio and tv but very little theatre news. How can we make theatre news more prominent? Read more

Stop Saying Sorry: Women in Leadership Roles

A report of a hugely stimulating discussion regarding female leadership roles in theatre, with a particular focus on female language and mannerisms. Read more

Stop Saying Sorry: Women in Leadership Roles

A report of a hugely stimulating discussion regarding female leadership roles in theatre, with a particular focus on female language and mannerisms. Read more

Entertainment and social justice: Is theatre becoming too woke

I wanted to ask whether the quality of theatre being made as woke theatre compromises it's entertainment value Read more

Entertainment and social justice: Is theatre becoming too woke

I wanted to ask whether the quality of theatre being made as woke theatre compromises it's entertainment value Read more

Bridging the Gap - How can we move from creative expression through to political and social action/change?

Report from Session 3 at Devoted and Disgruntled #14 Action points arising: Making connections with local activist groups and artistic groups to encourage practical actions leading from arts experiences Thinking about ways in which disparate arts organisations can act collectively with a unified message to better promote change Read more

Heavy Metal Musical! Thoughts? Collaborations?

As a lover of musical theatre I am interested in creating a new musical with a heavy metal score. Read more

BAME Leadership for the Future

A conversation about the Creative Arts industry readiness to maximise the potential possibilities of leadership that reflects our ambitions and our practice. Read more

What is excellence (and can we apply the same "standards" across the board?

A discussion about how we value individual artistic endeavours and the worth of those value judgements Read more

Detainment -the ethical issues

In the light of "Detainment" being submitted for the Oscars should 'makers take more personal care when creating verbatim and true stories for mass consumption? Read more

The language of funding applications - proxy session called by Bill Bankes-Jones

The title of the proxy session called by Bill Bankes-Jones was: 'Do the intricacies of funding applications mitigate against real inclusivity in arts power structures?' Read more

International (non english speaking) Producers - how to work with them & post-Brexit Europe collaborations

Amy and I connected two sessions and eventually developed one set of notes. The first was around working with European collaborations and producers at a time of Brexit uncertainty, and the second was how to offer the sharing and training and D&D-like inspiration to creatives and producers who do not speak English and want to create in their own countries for their own audiences working with us too. Thank you to the participants who helped to generate a heap of ideas and existing routes which ma Read more

White people: what are we doing to redress our privilege?

What are white people actively doing to redress the balance? In roles across theatre and the arts, but also elsewhere? What does this look like? What are the issues? Read more

The Buck Stops Here - peer support for artistic leaders

What do you do when your encounter an issue or a situation you’ve never had to deal with before? If you’re the leader of your company or team, and you’re meant to have the answers, where do you turn for advice? Read more

To Edinburgh or not to Edinburgh? That is the question. Help!

I have a solo show that I am considering taking to Edinburgh and have heard many positives and many negatives. I want some advice, clarity and information that might swing my decision. Read more

Why is Shakespeare Important?

Shakespeare is important because of how he expresses his opinions and the ideas they contain. Read more

Stammering, stuttering and the creative artist

Having to run for a train so no time to properly complete this report now. However, I will write it up fully over the next couple of days. Read more

How do we, as an acting training, protect the rights of the marginalised to enter the industry?

Open spaces discussion called by Trudi to talk about whether the new criteria for Spotlight/Equity student & graduate membership will have a detrimental effect on the accessibility of the industry. Read more

Hey! I'm a Northants artist

A collective of artists from Northamptonshire; introducing themselves to each other, discussing the state of our artistic ecology and identifying next steps to improve things. Read more

Engaging new audiences

How can we go about getting a new audience for theatre Read more

Arts in Schools

How a lot of modern schools aren't teaching the arts Read more

Gender Barriers And Stereotypes In Theatre

Our aim: Destroying stereotypes and gender barriers in performing arts Read more

Collaboration - what does it mean? D&D14

Session called by Steph Session attendees: Kaz, Laura, Martin, Caron. Discussion of what is collaboration? and how can collaboration be successful? Read more

How do we convince UK theatres to create residencies for translators in their programming teams (or literary departments)?

Opening statement: 'I've become convinced that the relationship of the translator is the key to making unfamiliar plays from non-English speaking countries appealing/understandable to theatres in the UK. This is based on experience of a relationship which developed over ten years - eventually I was able to understand what a particular programmer was looking for, and find the right play for him to produce.' Read more

The Village. (Mothering and Making: What would support us to do both equally well?)

MY PROPOSED ANSWER: A Village BUT MY QUESTION: How do you find your village when you’re the only one in your discipline/living away from family etc? Read more

How do we financially thrive as an artist?

How do we financially thrive as an Artist and a creative mother, what is our worth and how do we increase our value? Read more

How to Make Great Outdoor Arts - Session on Disruptive / Guerrilla Art

Notes from D&D Session At 101 Creation Space in Newbury, exploring disrupting art, pop-up art, and political performance. Read more

Does Size Matter: Do we need large scale work?

What is the value of large scale work? Is there a UK market? How are UK companies supported to make it? Read more

Tour booking to Festivals

Best practice in connecting show to programmer Read more

The Cost of Edinburgh

Session called by Claire Stone, founder of the Cost of Edinburgh campaign (@CostEdinburgh #Cost of Edinburgh on Twitter), to discuss the increasing costs of performing at the Edinburgh Fringe, the impact on artists, industry, venues, audiences, diversity, and how we can increase transparency and positive action on access at the festival. This report covers multiple sessions and contributors over the course of the day at Devoted & Disgruntled, Fringe Central, 20th Aug 2018: https://www.devoteda Read more

Working with technology within creative theatre practice - what's happening and how can we support each other? Where next for this work?

Setting the stage: The Other Way Works uses technology to help with both scaling and making experience seem magical. Often conversations around technology in theatre revolve around marketing and dissemination rather than creative uses. What support exists for developing technology within theatre? Read more

Where are the exciting / progressive places to show Site specific work in Europe?

Brief notes from our discussion follow: How can we find out where these places are? - Ask British Council - Look on Creative Europe, at their funded projects - European Capitals of Culture - Where have other similar companies toured to in the past? Read more

When is it useful/ ok to get angry and act on that anger?

It was a discussion characterised by a lot of laughter, generosity and openness. Thanks everyone for making it something far more useful and constructive than the rant fest I envisioned when I called the session. Read more

What's The Difference Between Artistic Excellence and Artistic Vibrancy

Inspired by my recent work in Australia, informed by the Australia Council's Artistic Vibrancy report and toolkit, I was interested in opening up a converstaion here in the UK because ‘excellence’ is a much used word whereas ‘vibrancy’ rarely uttered (and presumably then, rarely considered and not fully understood). Read more

What is our value to audiences?

This question has been on my mind because in my work in shaping audience and public value, it has always been difficult for venues to articulate their value to audiences. Read more

What Can Theatre Do About ISIS?

No-one’s pretending to know what to do about ISIS, and obviously theatre can’t be the cure for absolutely all the world’s ills: but it might be able to help prevent some people being radicalised. Read more

What are we going to do about theatre/arts criticism? Money, Models and Ethics

The issue of reviewing friends and colleagues- it’s about what the critic and friends/colleagues are comfortable with.It was agreed that it’s bad practice to review shows at a venue where you work. Read more

What are we going to do about the agony of tech desks?

The issue? Desks are typically set out in the auditorium for shows during technical rehearsals. These are arrayed with plans, technical equipment (lighting desks, sound desks, computers etc), notes etc which allow the technical and creative team to do their work to make the show. The desks and seating vary wildly from venue to venue. In some places everything is great. Read more

We don’t always get things right. How can we talk openly about failures and fuck-ups without undermining the case for arts funding?

We don’t always get things right. How can we talk openly about failures and fuck-ups without undermining the case for arts funding? Read more

Violence on stage

I have been researching the French horror theatre, the Grand Guignol, for the past five years, working towards writing a new musical about one of its main artists, Paula Maxa. Named ‘the most assassinated woman in the world’, she was renowned for her nightly executions, torture and trademark scream. Read more

Towards a consortium/network to support small scale venues programming more European work

This action session came out of the session on Sunday “How can we support British venues and audiences take a risk on European theatre?”. All venues are under pressure to maintain audiences and box office in a hard economic climate and are therefore very risk averse. Read more

Total Rebrand - If you could start from scratch and rebrand theatre what would you do?

There are many people who seem like theatre go'ers who don't go to the theatre. there are also lots of people who might not fit with a usual theatre going profile who don't go to the theatre. How can we rebrand theatre to let them know that there is theatre out there that they would love? Read more