7 October 2012

D&D Roadshow Stratford

RSC, Stratford Upon Avon


Erica Whyman's invitation:

Dear friends and colleagues,


I am writing to urge you to consider coming to a rather special edition of Devoted and Disgruntled at the RSC in Stratford On Avon on Sunday October 7th.


As you may know, in January I take up a new role as Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC, so I have a particular interest in encouraging you.  This will be the end of Devoted and Disgruntled’s extraordinary roadshow, which has toured the country in this Olympic year provoking conversation, honesty and inspiration wherever it has gone.  I am a long-time fan of D and D – as it allows artists, producers and anybody who cares about the state of our theatre to come together, hear one another and cook up strategies, solutions, and maybe even some art.  Phelim and the Improbable team make these days unforgettable in their openness, their search for connection, their interest and determination in making sure the people who make theatre can make the best possible circumstances for that theatre to happen.


For those of you who have never experienced Open Space technology, it is a unique model for talking in large groups which genuinely allows all conversations and talking points to find exactly the right amount of airtime and no more or less. I should speak frankly, for that is what D and D is for – I am not often a convener of groups at these events, but am rather a cross between a “giraffe” and a “bee”.  I like to listen in to many conversations and cross-fertilise them when that seems useful or irresistible.  You may be a “butterfly”, happy to join many conversations and flit between subject matter, or you may very much want to get something off your chest, or challenge an assumption that affects the work we do or don’t make.  You may indeed be reading this and thinking it doesn’t sound like I’d enjoy that it won’t tackle the things which exercise me – you especially, I urge you to come, because if you come, it will be different, more interesting, more pertinent to your concerns or your passions.


We are living through an important moment in the theatre, full, in my view, of energy, radical politics, invention and partnership, but also threatened by continuing cuts and a government at best indifferent to our value. At the RSC I know there is an appetite for more and greater collaboration and part of my new role will be to ensure this is as bold as it can be in the territory of new theatre.  Come if you are curious about what that might mean for you.  Come if you don’t believe me.  Come if you work in the West Midlands in the theatre and have little or no interest in the RSC and tend not to come to Stratford.  Come because this is about all theatre makers/lovers/haters, and if you come we’ll have the best conversation we are capable of having.


I’d like to see you there. Thanks for listening.






Erica Whyman


Theatre Director


Chief Executive, Northern Stage


Newcastle Upon Tyne






Geraldine Collinge's invitation:

The RSC is delighted to be hosting the final event on the Devoted and Disgruntled 2012 Roadshow, led by Improbable, which has been asking What are we going to do about Theatre and the Performing Arts in a series of events around the UK.

We would love you to part of the conversation in Stratford on Sunday 7 October at our Clore Learning Centre on Waterside.  We want to hear what you think the future of theatre is and what role you’d like the RSC to play in creating it. 

The event will be an opportunity to talk to lots of people who care passionately about theatre, including theatre-makers, audience members, students, funders and members of the new RSC leadership team.

 But primarily, it’s a chance for you to share your thoughts and ideas.   Whether you’re a regular attendee, enjoy theatre occasionally, haven’t been for a while – or think theatre is not for you, please come along and join the conversation. We look forward to seeing you there.

Geraldine Collinge

Director of Events and Exhibitions

Phelim McDermott's invitation:

Do you love theatre?

Do you find it frustrating?

Do you feel audiences don't get a voice?

Do you feel like an outsider in your own profession?

Have you just started out and need support?

Been in the profession for years and feel jaded?

Is your region always left out of the discussions?

Do you usually dread discussions and meetings?

Are you looking to change things?

In 2012 for the first time ever, you have the opportunity to take part in a unique nationwide conversation. 

In 2006 I wrote a heartfelt invitation and the first ”Devoted & Disgruntled: What are we going to do about theatre?” took place. This was an open and collaborative conference, a chance to check in with the theatre community, share the news about what we were doing well, talk about what we could be doing better and take action on how to improve things.  

Devoted & Disgruntled has subsequently become an inspiring annual three day event and since then there have been over 100 offshoot D&D events. Some have been monthly themed satellites, some have been regionally based like D&D Scotland and D&D North East, some have been international events like D&D New York and Vancouver. These conferences have kept the important conversations alive and have lead to companies being formed, venues being opened, festivals started, shows created, and many other projects and initiatives. 

The Devoted and Disgruntled Roadshow has come about in response to numerous requests for these conversations to reach beyond London, and engage with all parts of the UK.  So as part of the Cultural Olympiad we are going on the road, holding D&Ds in twenty different locations round the country, and we are going online, launching a new interactive D&D website, which will record and connect all the D&D events. 

In theatre, as in so many things, it can feel like the agenda is set, and the decisions are made by a faceless, unreachable "them". We wait for "them" to talk about what we think needs talking about and for "them" to solve our problems. Guess what? "They" aren't going to do it. But you can, and D&D is the place to start - so if there are questions that you think should be asked, projects you want support on, things you want changed, join Improbable this summer on the Devoted & Disgruntled 2012 Roadshow in a conversation that could reshape the theatre landscape. This is a unique chance for your voice to be heard and for us to listen to each other, face to face and online, locally and nationally. Join us and let’s work together towards making theatre better and making better theatre.

Phelim McDermott and Improbable

Booking for this event has now closed.