Devoted and Disgruntled 8

26 - 28 January 2013

Devoted and Disgruntled 8

York Hall, London

Sat-Sun 10-7, Mon 10-2

Do you love theatre?
Do you find it frustrating?
Do you wish it were different?
Do you feel like an outsider in your own profession?
Have you just started out and need support?
Have you been in the profession for years and feel jaded?
Is your sector always left out of the discussions?
Do you usually dread discussions and meetings?
Are you looking for a sense of: community, eldership, mentorship?
Are you looking to change things?

Devoted & Disgruntled 8
What are we going to do about theatre and the performing arts?

When I sent the first invitation out to ‘Devoted and Disgruntled: what are we going to do about theatre’ in 2005 I had no idea if anyone would come. It was an an invitation written from my love for theatre and performance, and at all the D&Ds I’ve seen people who have an incredible amount of energy and commitment to make things better. Now, 8 years on there have been over 100 D&D events, attended, in total, by over 3000 people. This year, for the first time, D&D went on tour around the entire country – 20 D&Ds, a nationwide conversation, over 500 reports on our new D&D website, 1400 people signed up. But its impact has been and continues to be immeasurable and lasting – beyond statistics. I used to feel defensive about its immeasurable nature, used to feel the need to emphasize that it is more than a talking shop, or a place to complain, that many things do happen as a result of it – shows, projects, initiatives, companies, venues, collaborations etc. By now however I feel it can speak and stand up for itself.
And now that the conversation has gone nationwide our big London D&D is an opportunity for those we have met around the country to join us at our annual gathering.

Last year, we invited you to speak for yourselves, to write your own invitations to D&D, because it is your event – made by the people that turn up to it. Below this are some of the things you said.

Just one more thing from me: whilst D&D has proved its place in the cultural landscape, sadly this cannot be said for theatre and the arts in general in the UK at this time. The Olympics have come and gone. Theatre, in both opening ceremonies, could not have done more to be considered the darling of the nation. Not up there with Ellie Simmonds and Claire Balding but close. Have you noticed a more generously disposed government, press, blogosphere towards the arts in general and theatre in particular? No, me neither. If we are going to change, shape, influence or navigate the destiny of our art form, now more than ever it is down to you and me, and the best place for us to connect is at D&D in January.

Now, over to you…

Phelim McDermott
Co-Artistic Director, Improbable

(PS: For booking, access and other information, please scroll to the end of this e-mail)

Before I went to D&D, I heard a lot of talk about the Arts Community, but it was D&D that made me feel as though I was part of it.
Rebecca Atkinson-Lord

Things happen because of D&D. I elbowed my uncle into coming along. He met people and ended up playing Prospero in a supermarket.
Laura Hayes

The first time I went was the first time I really felt like part of a community expressing itself. It’s not even that you should come, but you’ll want it as soon as you’ve been.
Tassos Stevens

it’s changed my world. It’s changed not only my ideas but my practice. It’s changed how I make work, how I meet people, how I think about what I do. It’s changed what I want from a room, from a process, from a conversation. I’m incredibly thankful for the destupidizing influence of D&D in my life.

D&D is one of the places I go to learn how to live in the future that I want. Don’t waste time resisting, like I did. Resistance is futile; presence is fertile. You should come.
Chris Goode

I always feel totally equal to everyone in the room, there is no real hierarchy, and there’s time for my voice to be heard, if I want it to be heard – and there are not many places I can say that about.
Shelley Silas

I genuinely thought I wouldn’t like D&D. It sounds too good to be true. I won’t start wheeling out the cliches but D&D is the biggest circle of people I have ever sat in. And that’s worth something.
Rachel Briscoe

A Collaborative Theatre Companies online platform was created after I accidentally sat on a chair with a small group of people.
Li-E Chen

I realised this was going to be different. And it was. It was fantastic, engaging, energising, I met tons of brilliant people doing brilliant things, and emerged with reams of notes, tons of websites to check out, lots of people to follow up with and, most importantly of all, a renewed sense of community, optimism and excitement.
Tanja Raaste

If you don’t go, you can’t complain about your voice not being heard…you might meet that one (or ten or a hundred) other person who feels exactly the way you do and it could be the start of something important….It’s not just about talking. It is ultimately about actions. And your first action should be to book a ticket.
Jayne Kearney

The people I’ve met and the conversations I’ve had each year always slightly reorganise the wiring in my brain. I come away changed, challenged, excited and the upshot is that my practice has been profoundly altered (for the better).
Emma Adams

I will stress the ‘performing arts’ notion, as last year I wondered why there weren’t more dance, circus and live artists, and I would urge you to encourage a variety of people to come and feed the event with their experiences and questions.
Clara Giraud

That’s what I love about D&D. The starting points are conversations. You meet people as people, not as their job titles or CVs. It’s how it should be really, but as you and I both know, it’s not like that most of the time.
Annie Rigby

I don’t know who you are, and you don’t know who I am, and I already know there will be something of value in our meeting.
Stella Duffy

D&D isn’t about factionalism, or what you do, or what kind of theatre you like. It isn’t about critics in one camp, directors in another, devisers in another, writers in another. It isn’t about networking and sidling your way up a ladder. If it were any of these things, it would be awful….The more people, the more backgrounds, the more variety in the room, the better D&D is. If you’re not sure whether or not to come, whether you’ll fit in, whether it’s for you, I have one thing to say. Don’t be ridiculous. D&D is for everyone, anyone, who has any feeling at all for theatre. Come.
Maddy Costa

To read the full invitations from last year go to:

And if you want to write your own invitation for this year you can go to:

So, see you there, and bring a friend.


What are we going to do about theatre and the performing arts?
Facilitated by Phelim McDermott
A 3 day event.
26th & 27th January 2013, 10am - 7pm
28st January 2013, 10am - 2pm
York Hall, Bethnal Green, Old Ford Road, E2 9PJ

Although Open Space may be new to you it has been used successfully all over the world.
It is an exciting open-ended event that enables a self-organising group to use its collective imagination to deal with complex issues and it will achieve this in an incredibly short space of time.
By the end of the event the following will have occurred:

- Every issue of concern to anybody will have been raised, if they took responsibility for doing that
- All issues will have received full discussion, to the extent desired
- A full report of issues and discussions will be in the hands of all participants.
- And YOU will have taken part in making it happen.

Improbable are committed to ensuring that Devoted and Disgruntled 8 is a democratic and accessible event so please contact the office to discuss your access requirements. Please be aware that in order to provide the services you need, we will need up to two weeks notice, so please do get in touch as soon as possible.

Voice: 020 7240 4556

Devoted and Disgruntled 8 is wheel chair accessible.
We are offering sign language interpreters, with two weeks notice.
Our information is available in a range of formats.
Assistance dogs are welcome.

We ask all participants to commit to the Saturday and Sunday. We do hope that you will return for the Monday morning but understand that the beginnings of weeks bring new commitments. 
£24, £18 concession(student, unwaged, over 60) All support workers / access assistants are free. 
Group discount:five tickets for the price of four. A group of five gets five tickets for £96. 
(All proceeds are to cover direct costs of this event including the hire of the space, refreshments and equipment hires. This year we have increased out ticket prices for the first time, separating out VAT. However, money should never be a reason not to attend D&D, so please do get in touch if the ticket price is a barrier- and equally, if you can afford a little bit more, please do donate, to support the places for people who can afford less.)

Book online through the D&D Website:
Tickets will be offered on a first come first served basis so please book early to ensure your place. We regret that we will be unable to offer a refund if you are unable to attend.
If you have any questions, or experience any difficulties booking online then please email on: or call on 020 7240 4556





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      See all



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