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Devoted and Disgruntled

06 February

Ayesha Casely-Hayford | Actress blog

A conference for 350 people,  with no agenda – Devoted and Disgruntled.

With invitation from their artistic director Phelim McDermott, the Improbable Theatre company created and have been successfully hosting Devoted and Disgruntled for ten years. It is a two and a half day conference for the arts and performance industry. Anyone can attend, from within the performance industry and outside the industry. It is an “Open Space” event. You turn up, throughout the day people call sessions on a topic they are interested in, everyone then disperses and you join the session you want to join. The sessions are set to run for 1 hour 30 minutes. There may be twenty people in a session, there may be one. The session may last for an hour, it may also last for ten minutes. That’s all there is to it. Oh, and “The law of two feet”. If you want to leave a session, leave. No obligations, you are giving others a gift by your departure!

I went to my first Devoted and Disgruntled event this year, 24th to 27th January 2015 at York Hall in Bethnal Green, East London and titled “What are we going to do about the future of theatre and the performing arts?”. It was energising. I met people who were interested in what I wanted to talk about and people who gave me great ideas for my own work and future dreaming. Open Space is a brave idea and it definitely works. It returns trust and confidence to the participants. Those that are present make it happen.

Relative to conferences I’ve attended in the past – it’s a hippy event. I was even able to do some sewing with a woman called Regina. Regina has a plan to make 700 dolls. She places a heart in each doll and she stuffs the doll with dreams. That is, the inside of pillows that people have slept on, dreamt on and donated to her. I contributed two dolls and had a very relaxing time! “Dreams and a Heart”. Sweetest idea ever.

I went to Devoted and Disgruntled with my own agenda – I called a session on “Employment Law for the Arts”. Balancing my inner hippy with a bit of law  – balance is good. All the right people attended my session and all that should have happened happened. The session is over, but my report lives on here. Next step, bring it to life.

Here’s more about Improbable Theatre, the principles of and reports from Devoted and Disgruntled 2015 and my pictures from the weekend and if you’re the right person to come, maybe see you at Devoted and Disgruntled next year:

Ayesha Casely-Hayford | Actress blog

Ayesha Casely-Hayford | Actress blog

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