Devoted & Disgruntled
Improbable have been running D&D, a conversation using Open Space, since 2005. Artistic director Phelim McDermott writes:
Devoted and Disgruntled was born out of frustration. I was frustrated both with theatre and with myself. I knew things could be better in theatre and I also knew the way I responded to that situation could be more creative. I wanted to stop moaning and actually do something about it.
The Devoted and Disgruntled events and the community that has developed around them involve people taking responsibility for making better theatre and making theatre better. D&D has become a way to engage with the stuff in the wider theatre world I only knew how to complain about before.
The events are liberating because they create an environment of possibility. A place where we are confronted with the refreshing yet challenging realisation that things will only change if we decide to make them. Often this situation can leave us feeling that we have to do everything on our own. However D&D offers immediate access to the people who might support and help us do it.
Another great thing about D&D is that it is a very different kind of conference. A place where we meet each other outside of our usual roles. Conversations happen, not mediated through the usual hierarchical structures, but through our passion. Because of the “Law of Two Feet” the people who are not interested are not there to hold us back.
“D&D is genuine horizontal engagement!(No -not that kind …unless I’ve been going to the wrong sessions). 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
Neil Murray cited ”D&D Scotland” as instrumental at the beginning of their journey setting up the NTS.
Over the nine years that D&D has been happening in all it’s different forms, numerous conversations have happened and lots of change and action has come about. But most inspiring of all is the building of a passionate community of people prepared to support each other to ask difficult questions about theatre, how it is made, presented, received and what we are doing about it.