Susan Q Yin Biwm Utpvvc Unsplash 2

Theatre Forum Open Space
10:00 – 17:00,
 Wednesday 13 April
Banquet Hall, Smock Alley, Dublin

On 13 April 2022 56 responded to an invitation sent out by Theatre Forum by attending an Open Space event to discuss the question: What are we going to do about the performing arts?

Open Space Technology (OST) is a great way for groups to think, talk and take action together. Participants self-organise to create their own agenda on the day with free-flowing conversations about what’s needed to create positive change.

After the Improbable facilitator, Pauline Mayers, opened the space the participants were invited to call sessions on whatever was alive in them at that moment. The result was 33 sessions across 4 hour-long time slots across the day that explored themes of audiences, diversity and wellbeing.

Here’s a full list of those sessions:

  • Where have the audiences gone? Will they come back?
  • How do we get audiences off the couch, out of the house and out to shows again?
  • How do we have access to venues?
  • Managing instability
  • The possibility of multidisciplinary / cross-disciplined?
  • Is any theatre non-political?
  • How do we support parents in the arts?
  • Artform collaboration?
  • How do we make work with no money?
  • How to compete with Netflix?
  • Perf arts what is good and not so good? Past, present and future.
  • How to re-create interest in arts?
  • In person digital hybrid – what’s next?
  • Accenteism. Intersections
  • Equality & inclusion. What might we have forgotten?
  • An actors’ centre for everybody!
  • Can the performing arts inspire climate action?
  • How can actors survive when there are no plays for them?
  • Are we avoiding the hard political questions?
  • Where are the clowns?
  • Clinically vulnerable. Did we forget?!
  • Are We Ok?
  • Engaging a more diverse audience
  • Actions not questions
  • Relevant?
  • What do we love about the Irish arts scene?!
  • Putting the artists in charge
  • Burnout healing
  • Touring: How to get great art everywhere?
  • What the fuck is that about?
  • Collaboration over competition with everyone (artists audiences). How?
  • Step Outside
  • Leaving it better than we found it

Read the full report

Would you like to organise an Open Space event? 
Improbable have prepared this document to guide you through. We can also offer 3x 1:1 sessions to help you plan your event.

Img 20220413 102236

Here is the original invite: 
Theatre Forum is delighted to be teaming up with Improbable Theatre Company team to host an Open Space conversation on Wednesday 13 April in Smock Alley, Dublin (10:00 – 17:30). It’s our first in-person event in two years and we’re really looking forward to it. The starting point for this conversation is What are we going to do about the performing arts? 

About Open Space
Open Space Technology (OST) is a great way for groups to think, talk and take action together. Participants self-organise to create their own agenda on the day with free-flowing conversations about what’s needed to create positive change. Read more about Open Space.

Many people will already be familiar with Improbable’s ongoing conversations using OST entitled Devoted and Disgruntled and some of you will remember that we did a number of Open Space style events in the past in various locations around the country. The Improbable team will be supporting us to deliver this event in Dublin. We’re also working with Improbable to build resources for you to organise your own Open Space event.

How will the event work?
Theatre Forum Open Space will run from 10am to 5pm on Wednesday 13 April. (If you can’t commit to the full day you are welcome to pop in and out).
The schedule is:
10:00 – 11:00 Opening Circle
11:00 – 12:00 Session 1
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch will be provided
13:00 – 14:00 Session 2
14:00 – 15:00 Session 3
15:00 – 16:00 Session 4
16:00 – 17:00 Closing Circle
Evening Ticket Offer in Smock Alley
Looking for América, €15 tickets (reduced from €20) with code America15.
We’ll be using the hashtag #tfopenspace throughout the day.

Who can come along?
Theatre Forum Open Space is for everyone, regardless of background, disability, gender, or race. The more diverse the room, the richer the conversation. You don’t need to be a Theatre Forum member to attend. The event is free but we do require you to register. You can find some general information on our accessibility below. When you register you can let us know if you have any additional requirements.

Pauline7726+1+editWho is facilitating this Open Space meeting? 
Pauline Mayer will guide us through the Open Space process.

Pauline is a multidisciplinary theatre-maker based in Yorkshire. Pauline’s dance career spanned 15 years, dancing, teaching and working with contemporary dance choreographers and companies across the UK. Now making work in her own right, Pauline’s interest is in reframing spaces and histories through experiential art and culture. Pauline’s critically acclaimed solo show 2017’s What If I Told You toured to theatres throughout the UK and was a shortlisted nominee for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. Pauline is an Associate Artist with the Leeds Playhouse.

More info

  • You can find out more about Smock Alley accessibility here.
  • Our event will take place in the Banquet Hall but we’ve also hired the Boys’ School for a quieter overflow space.
  • Personal assistants and carers are welcome.
  • We welcome participants who have Autism or any form of neurodivergence. We have written a clear-English guide on what to expect on the day.
  • The event will have quite a visual bias especially at the start of the event, however there is plenty of help on hand to navigate you through the process. We can provide someone to guide you should you wish.
  • Acoustics at Open Space events can be difficult. We are happy to provide ISL interpreters on request (please indicate when registering). Captioning for Open Space events is difficult as participants work in smaller break-out groups for the majority of the event, and captioning all the simultaneous conversations is not currently an option.
  • While we are not providing childcare, children are welcome in the space if supervised by their parent or carer.
  • We are happy to answer any questions about the process that you might have, so you can also contact us to ask for more information.
Photo Credit ©Susan Q Yin