Devoted & Disgruntled

What do we do about East Asians trapped as portraying the Other?

November 2, Clare Theatre, Young Vic, 6-10pm

An invitation from Vera Chok, actor, writer & performance-maker:

Other. A person or group intrinsically different from, or opposite to oneself; not local/British/contemporary/normal; (verb) to alienate.

This question isn’t just for actors or makers of East Asian descent. We invite you – theatre makers, organisations, casting directors, directors, writers, dramaturgs, designers etc. to listen, interrogate, and take action with us to shift the landscape of British theatre past the Othering of East Asians on stage and off.

I’m Vera Chok and I’m an actor, writer and performance maker. What has changed since the 2013 D&D on East Asian actors and roles? While East Asians are more visible and have achieved huge successes, I believe that we are still being marginalised despite being the third largest ethnic group in the UK.

East Asians. Someone posited its practical meaning is, “Chinese-looking people”. What ways are East Asians actors, and thus East Asians, Othered? Can we imagine an East Asian playing the protagonist/parent/romantic lead/a working class person going through a universal human experience in a contemporary British setting? Let’s talk honestly about what character traits we associate with East Asian bodies. What can we do to end this?

I place hope in human connection, dialogue, and social change via community. Let’s meet up, expose our assumptions, celebrate our achievements, and move forward with a clear goal – a world where East Asians are not treated as Other.

Free entry, but please book via Eventbrite as spaces are limited.

@laura_annelliot Thanks @DandDUK for a thought provoking day & excellent conversation. Leaving buzzing to make things happen that aren’t currently happening

D&D is one of the places I go to learn how to live in the future that I want. – Chris Goode

Improbable have been running Devoted & Disgruntled (D&D) – an ongoing international conversation about theatre and the performing arts – using Open Space, since 2005.

“D&D 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…and I wanted to do something about it.

D&D 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.” Phelim McDermott (Artistic director)

Open Space Technology (OST) is a format which supports groups to self-organise and collaborate around an area of shared concern or interest. All participants have 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.

Over the last 25 years OST has been used across the world in an incredible range of contexts: to design aeroplane doors, resolve land disputes, address economic, environmental, social, political and artistic issues of every kind. Groups of six and of six hundred have used it with equal success.

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 Open Spaces offer immediate access to the people who might support and help us do it. We meet each other outside of our usual roles and conversations happen, not mediated through the usual hierarchical structures, but through our passion.

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