Devoted & Disgruntled (D&D), Improbable Theatre’s annual nationwide three-day event where challenges in theatre and the arts are discussed, will take place this March in Leeds. Now in its eighteenth year, anyone who is passionate about the arts from audiences to artists, CEOs to Front of House staff and grassroots groups to seasoned professionals is encouraged to attend. This will be the first in-person three-day event in five years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
D&D uses Open Space technology which, aims to keep participants highly engaged by allowing them full control over their experience through organising their own agenda. Anyone can raise any particular issues or challenges at the start of the day, which are then discussed at breakout sessions where findings are later logged and reviewed. Attendees are free to come and go as they please and can sit in on any session they wish. On the final day of the event, reports are read out to the wider group and more sessions are held to discuss next steps and actions. All reports are saved to the D&D website and can be accessed by anyone at any time.
Devoted & Disgruntled began in 2006 with the aim of nurturing a nationwide community of artists and theatre practitioners. Over the past eighteen years, the communities formed, and discussions held have started new venues, produced shows, formed theatre companies, and organised festivals including Fun Palaces, an annual, free celebration of culture in local communities across the UK. The project began at D&D’s 2013 event in a session lead by writer and theatre maker Stella Duffy, who wanted to honour groundbreaking theatre director Joan Littlewood. The first Fun Palace took place in 2014, with 138 events across the UK and internationally and now, ten years later, there are over 300 that take place each October.
Matilda Leyser, Associate Director of Improbable said, “’The question of what are we going to do about Theatre and the Performing Arts feels more important than ever. Many of us are feeling pretty hopeless about everything right now from funding to AI, but I also feel that artists can provide hope. What has helped me in similar situations over the years is the company, wisdom and motivation from our D&D events, which strip away all possible distractions and take us back to the connection between people. This is our eighteenth year and we wouldn’t still be doing these events if they didn’t have an impact and we didn’t come away from them feeling like we can make a difference. As the company has grown, we’ve always come back to it. There are things I want to talk about but I also want to hear from anyone who loves the arts like we do. Everyone is welcome and we’re excited to see what the weekend holds!”
Improbable is a world leader in improvisational and emergent practice, a pioneer of Open Space Technology, and has created some of the most acclaimed and ground-breaking theatre and opera from any company over the last 25 years including multi-Olivier winning productions such as My Neighbour Totoro; epic outdoor spectacles like Sticky (which was seen by over 250,000 people); theatrical classics like The Tempest at Northern Stage and the Oxford Playhouse; intimate puppetry like Animo in studios across the country; adaptations like Theatre of Blood at the National Theatre; operatic triumphs like Satyagraha and Akhnaten at the English National Opera in London and the Metropolitan Opera in New York; and female-led impro project Permission Improbable. The company is led by Artistic Directors Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson.
This year’s Devoted & Disgruntled takes place on:
Saturday 16th March 10.30am – 18.00, Sunday 17th March 10.30am – 18.00,Monday 18th March, 10am-14.00 at The Warehouse in Holbeck, Leeds. Visit here for further info…