Devoted and Disgruntled 13


Improbable’s 13th annual unconventional convention for arts people, Devoted & Disgruntled gets under way in January 2018.

With significant funding via Royal & Derngate’s Arts Council supported Changemaker programme and additional support from New Diorama Theatre, D&D 13 will be able to offer Access support in a wide variety of ways to D/deaf, disabled, BAME & neurodivergent participants, bringing more marginalised issues into the mainstream conversation than ever before.

D&D is an opportunity for arts people at every point in their careers, from audiences to artists, CEOs to FOH staff, grassroots groups to seasoned professionals, to come together and focus on the question WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THEATRE AND THE PERFORMING ARTS? D&D uses Open Space, which means everyone attending sets the agenda as anyone can call a session and bring the issues and topics they want to discuss to the floor. This year’s event is presented in association with Royal & Derngate, Northampton and The Core at Corby Cube, and in partnership with the New Diorama Theatre.

Devoted and Disgruntled is being held at ND2, One Triton Square, NW1 3HE


To really light a fire under the debates and discussions at D&D13, we need as many different voices in the room as possible.

To help make this happen, New Diorama has bought up 150 Devoted and Disgruntled weekend passes - worth £1,500 - and we want to give them to black, Asian and minority ethnic artists who otherwise might financially struggle to attend the weekend.

There are no age limits to this offer, you can be from any artistic discipline, working anywhere in the UK - or even further afield. Want to come? We want you there.

All you need to do to request one of these free tickets is email with your full name (the name you'll be picking the ticket up under) and let us do the rest.

The tickets are limited and are being offered on a first come, first served basis. So get emailing!


Improbable have been running D&D, a conversation using Open Space, since 2005.

Improbable's 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. 


Open Space Technology (OST) is a form developed to support groups to self-organize and collaborate around any question of shared concern. It gives all participants the chance to propose a starting point for discussion, take part in any of the conversations or flit between them all. It is particularly effective in dealing with complex issues where diverse and conflicting views are present. 

There are five principles that describe what happen in OPEN SPACE:

Whoever comes are the right people.
Wherever it happens is the right place.
Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
Whenever it starts is the right time.
When it is over, it is over.

THE ONE LAW of OPEN SPACE is THE LAW OF TWO FEET or THE LAW OF MOBILITY: If at any time you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing use your two feet to take yourself where your time will be better spent – only you know where this is.