What are we going to do about Improvisation?

A 2-day D&D Open Space on all things improvisatory, hosted by Middlesex university and the Global Improvisation Initiative as part of the GII conference 2019. You can book for all four days of the conference, or just for the 2 days of D&D. If you would like to know more about the GII conference, please see conference details over on the Improbable website.

Invitation by Phelim McDermott, Co-Artistic Director of Improbable

Thirty five years ago I read a book called Impro. It had been given to me by John Wright, one of my lecturers at Middlesex Polytechnic. It was a book that I devoured, I read it in bed and stayed up late into the night finishing it.

Life was never the same again.

The paradigm and skills that I was introduced to all those years ago have stayed with me ever since and inform everything I do when I’m performing, when I’m making theatre with people and sometimes, when I’m courageous, how I live my life. Working on not knowing what happens next has been the most reliable thing in my career. 

It is my belief that the sharing of the many aspects of improvisation and the ways it may help us navigate this chaotic world are still untapped. Improvisation demands that we develop a relationship with awareness. It engenders in those who practice and explore it a relationship to life which is more creative than mere rationality and is more exciting than certainty. 

I am still learning how to do it, how to use it, and what its true gifts are for theatre, and beyond that into other areas of life.  It’s an ongoing research project into how the world could be a more generous, creative place.  In these testing times, when groundlessness seems to be the norm, improvisation may be the only way out of the woods, even if its big lesson might be that we have to go deeper in to find a way through. 

The sharing and study of the many aspects of improvisation and the way it may help us navigate this fast-changing, chaotic world is essential for our future. So on May 17 & 18 we’re holding a Devoted & Disgruntled Open Space as part of our International Institute of Improvisation” partnership with the Global Improvisation Initiative and Middlesex Uni. The Second Global Improvisation Initiative is an international gathering of all those interested in Improv and all its manifestations and applications. On May 15 & 16 there’s a conference with a pre-set agenda – but the D&D days are yours to do the work you want to do, in the way you want to do it; with all your passion, questions, experience and awareness of what needs doing.

Global Improvisation Initiative Access Information

GII 2019 is wheelchair-accessible and there are accessible toilets in all buildings being used for the event.

If you would like to work with BSL interpreters for the conference, please get in touch with us. We will have a number of these Sondio handsets which act as personal hearing boosters and can be used with or without hearing aids. If you find you are struggling to hear, please just ask one of the access support staff on the day and they will be able to provide you with one and show you how to use it. For your comfort and hygiene, we recommend you bring your own headphones to use with the Sonidos. The devices have standard headphone sockets. We can supply a limited number of headphones if you are unable to bring your own.

Large text maps and schedules will also be offered at the Access Desk. 

Guide dogs are welcome in all Middlesex University spaces. Please do let us know if you would like any additional support to make your visit with your guide dog easier.

Devoted and Disgruntled uses a process called Open Space Technology. If you would like to know more about how this process works and what to expect, please see our separate guide to Open Space Technology here.

Devoted & Disgruntled events are always “relaxed performances”. You can move around whenever you need to. You can arrive and leave the event whenever you want. Stimming, tics, movements, and sounds are welcome throughout the main space.

Children are welcome at GII, as long as they are supervised by a parent or guardian. If a child is accompanying you, you need to sign in at the Main Reception of the university before each day of the event. We would recommend arriving 15 mins before the start of the day to make sure you have time to do this. Unfortunately we cannot offer this at the information desk at the conference. You can find the Main Reception in the Rickett Quadrangle. Here’s a map with the Reception indicated with a red ‘i’: https://www.mdx.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0033/284577/Hendon_Campus_Pocketmap_2016_v9.pdf

There is free entry for Carers/Personal Assistants. This can be arranged by emailing Emma on [email protected] or calling 0207 240 4556.

We are also happy to arrange a visit to the venue in advance, if you'd like an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the space. Please contact us if you'd like to discuss this.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please do get in touch with Emma on [email protected] or 0207 240 4556. If you use textphone, call through TextDirect by dialling prefix 18001 then our number.

Booking for this event has now closed.