Sunday, 7 January 2018

Devoted and Disgruntled Invitation - Neurodivergence

Hello! My name is Griffyn Gilligan. I am an actor, theatre artist, and advocate with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

I want to invite you to Devoted and Disgruntled. 

Devoted and Disgruntled is a gathering where people meet to talk about theatre and performing arts. It is a meeting for people who work in theatre, people who go to the theatre, people who study/write about theatre, and/or people who are interested in theatre, but don’t have much experience with it.

Even if you or your loved one(s) have little experience with theatre, but you want to make it more exciting and accessible, this event is for you.

Theatre can be a beautiful way to hear a story or experience something new and exciting. For neurodivergent people and people with mental health concerns, it can also be confusing and surprising.

For those of us who attend theatre shows, work in theatre, or know someone who might enjoy theatre, we all want to work together to make shows and venues more inclusive, supportive, and far-reaching.

The topic question for the event is: “What Are We Going to Do About Theatre and the Performing Arts?”

This year, Devoted and Disgruntled wants to make the event as accessible and welcoming as possible. We especially want to open it up to people who don’t often get a chance to express their experience with theatre or their opinions about it. Improbable is the theatre company who hosts the event. They have extra funds this year to make this event as accessible as possible to D/deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent participants.

This is an incredible time of change and dialogue, both in the arts and in the world. If you want to have your say, listen to new voices, and/or just learn new things about the arts,  Devoted and Disgruntled is an amazing place to do that. 

If you aren’t familiar with this gathering, here is how it works:

  1. It takes place over the course of three days. This year, it is happening from 20-22 January.

    It will be located in a large, open office space in the centre of London at:
    ND2, 1 Triton Square, London, NW1 3DX.

    Here is a PDF map of the space:

    It will take place each day for about 8 hours on the first two days, and 4 and a half hours on the third day. You can come and go as you please.

  1. This gathering uses something called Open Space practice. This simply means that you may engage or choose to not engage in any way(s) and at any time(s) you want. Anything that can be done to support the way you want to engage in a conversation will be done. That’s whether that is verbally, written, physically, etc.

  1. Here is how Open Space works practically:

Anyone may bring up a topic of conversation. There are four or five discussion slots per day. You may request a time and an area of the room to have your discussion, but you may not get your first choice. You may bring up as many or as few discussion topics as you want. There is no pressure to bring up a discussion topic at all.

Once a session (time slot) begins, you may attend any conversation(s) you want to attend. There will be about a dozen or so happening at the same time, spread between different areas. You can stay in one place or move between different groups. You may also leave or re-enter the building at any time you wish, for any reason.

At the beginning and end of the day, everyone is invited to sit in a circle. At the beginning of the day, the circle is a place to bring up discussion topics. At the end of the day, the circle is a place to share any final thoughts you might have about what the day was like for you. There is no pressure to share anything at either time.

  1. There are two breakout rooms: One quite, dimly lit space and one space where you are encouraged to make loud noises, tics, or stim as you please.
  1. There are clearly marked guides, or ushers, who are happy to help you at any time. They can direct you to toilets, breakout spaces, a specific discussion you wish to attend, or to and from the building where the gathering is happening
  1. Any sounds, tics, stims, movements, etc. are welcome in any space at any time.
  1. Here is the main webpage for the event:

    This page has more information about access support, ticket schemes, travel and nearby housing, and more.

    If you scroll to the bottom, that is where you can purchase tickets in advance.
  1. Here is the webpage for access information:
  1. If you have any questions or requests in advance, I would be happy to hear them and do the best I can to support you, along with the rest of the team at Improbable.

    You may e-mail me at:
  1. You may purchase a ticket when you arrive, or you can purchase online in advance. A full price ticket for the weekend is £20. A Concession price ticket is £10, and is intended for students, those with disabilities, those past the age of retirement, people with financial difficulties, etc. You will not be asked to show any kind of proof if you book a concession ticket.

    There are also free tickets for D/deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent participants being offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Check the access site above for more information on those.

Thank you for reading this invitation. I hope to meet you there in a few weeks!

Very best wishes,

Griffyn Gilligan

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