Our Vision

Improbable has always made work that makes a difference. Our vision focuses on the changes we want to see for our community, our society and for the world.

Our vision is a world where dreaming is taken seriously.

Dreaming might also be called imagination, the unconscious, instinct, impulse, the id, vision, the human spirit or any number of other names from cultures and disciplines around the world that seek to identify the processes that allow humans to access something beyond their conscious reasoning, something more powerful that enables us to create, work, heal and transform. Dreaming is the thing that makes art possible and being alive worthwhile.

We believe that art is for everyone and that this doesn’t simply mean they get to be part of an audience. Our society needs a cultural shift that puts creativity at the heart of everyday life. The prevailing perception sees culture as an add on after the important conversations have been had. In the world we envisage, theatre, art and culture are not confined to the spiritual or emotional, they are central to the development and decision making in social, organizational, legislative, economic and political spheres. In this future world, an international crisis would mean a government doesn’t send in the army, it sends in an orchestra.

Who we are

Pioneering improvisers, inventive creators, imaginative collaborators, authentic conversation facilitators.

Improbable was founded by Julian Crouch, Phelim McDermott, Lee Simpson and Nick Sweeting in 1996 and is currently lead by Artistic Directors Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson.

Improbable occupies a vital space in the landscape of UK theatre. At the heart of our artistic practice is improvisation. Whether in performance, rehearsal or development we will use the practice and philosophy of improvisation in the process of creation (even when we’re working on classic plays or operas).

We see improvisation in all its forms as a tool for social change. It is a deeply democratic art form that fosters a sense of community and empowerment amongst its participants and audiences alike and, in an age of increasing digital complexity, is determinedly live.

We’ve staged epic spectacles like Sticky, which was seen by over 250,000 people, theatrical classics like The Tempest at Northern Stage and the Oxford Playhouse, intimate puppetry like Animo in studios across the country, adaptations like Theatre of Blood at the National Theatre, operatic triumphs like Satyagraha at the English National Opera, London and the Metropolitan Opera, New York and female led impro project Permission Improbable which nurtures an improvisation culture grown by women. Our shows are live events encouraging conversation between us and our audience.

What we do

“There is never anything ordinary about Improbable”
The Observer

In addition to our theatrical escapades we run a vibrant participation stream working with people who may not be currently engaged in the arts in a variety of formats. Improbable is one of the UK’s most experienced Open Space Technology facilitators. With an unrivalled history and scale of practice, we have been nurturing a nationwide community of artists and theatre practitioners through our programme of Open Space events under the Devoted and Disgruntled banner since 2006.

This community has made shows, formed theatre companies, organised festivals, created collaborations and started new venues as a result of the conversations that have happened at Devoted & Disgruntled events. We now also offer our expertise to a growing number of people outside of the theatre sector, bringing the constructive and collaborate benefits of Open Space to the wider world.