• An investigation into more inclusive theatre -


    Dialogue across difference

  • Why is D-a-D needed?

    Theatre is not responding adequately to the challenges of our time.

    Communities around the world are fractured; nationalism and tribalism of all kinds are on the rise.


    The fallout from Brexit is the UK’s most prominent manifestation, but this is a global phenomenon.


    Meanwhile our theatre is driven by a marketing-led approach - mesmerised by the notion of “target audiences”:

    • the young, the old, the middle-aged; 
    • the affluent, the poor, the squeezed middle; 
    • the hip, the unhip; 
    • disabled, non-disabled, the "well", the "ill";
    • women, men, LGBTQ+; 
    • conservative, liberal, rural, urban … 
    But, this doesn't address our social ruptures.
    Culture is increasingly segmented, siloed.

    What are the barriers to inclusivity?


    In our public spaces, culture is almost entirely defined by exclusivity: 

    • sporting events are mostly gendered (in favour of the male); 
    • religious communities, despite interfaith initiatives, remain separate from each other; 
    • music events are boundaried by genres that generally centre on notions of gender, race, class and age. 
    The barriers to cultural participation are both physical and attitudinal:
    • ticket prices are too high for many;
    • transport is inadequate;
    • buildings and public spaces are inaccessible in many ways (not least to those with mobility and sensory impairments);
    • staff make you feel uncomfortable;
    • explicit and implicit dress codes seem arbitrary and exclusive;
    • merchandising and catering feels like a rip-off.
    • etc (fill in your own barriers here...)
    So, how can theatre start to break open these silos?

    Imagine a hopeful, democratic, inclusive and creative culture.

    Imagine a growth in theatre that brings different people together - addressing the issues of the day, but in a way that foregrounds the universals and celebrates differences.


    This should not be reduced to a marketing challenge, nor is it a call for a lowest common denominator populist theatre.


    It is, however, an acknowledgment that our theatre can be non-elitist and popular. 


    The challenge is for theatre artists and producers to create thoughtful and uplifting theatre that can have a broad appeal and bring together disparate people - those who would never normally inhabit the same space - into a theatre space, creating a powerful, albeit temporary, sense of community.

    Time for a movement.

    There's a lot of great performance of different kinds across the UK and worldwide where culture is being used to create a Dialogue-Across-Difference: 

    • intergenerational work
    • storytelling
    • co-creation between professional artists and communities
    • relaxed performance
    • hip-hop theatre
    • fill in your own example here ...
    What they share is that the performance event is striving for genuine dialogue. This is not a proselytising theatre; it is created in a spirit of generosity, hope and democracy. 
    However, these tend to be isolated pockets of activity.
    This project aims to create dialogue about that dialogue, and by doing so provide some energy behind an important movement.
  • What is Dialogue Across Difference?

    A framework to support the creation and evaluation of theatre that brings people together

    The 4 Key Elements: Social, Educational, Emotional & Spiritual

    This model is developed from a tool used by marketing agency Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM). MHM designed a hierarchy of motivation moving from the social to the intellectual to the emotional and finally the spiritual. D-a-D has been inspired by MHM's work, but rather than a hierarchy, views the four elements as interlocking. The term "educational" is preferred too, as it takes this element out of the head and into learning more broadly.


    This framework is the foundation of a practice-as-research project.


    The investigation will look at how this framework can be applied to dramaturgy (the composition of performance) and evaluation of performance experiences.


    The aim is to produce new knowledge about making performance more inclusive and to share the knowledge effectively with people working in theatre.

  • the projects

    The starting point for Dialogue Across Difference (D-a-D) has been theatre-maker Danny Braverman's theatre projects

    A story of love, art, history and fish balls. 2012 onwards

    Working in collaboration with Director Nick Philippou, Danny Braverman's critically-acclaimed, award-winning solo show has now achieved over 150 performances across the world. In evaluating why the show "works", Danny was introduced to Morris Hargreaves McIntyre's model of motivation and adapted it as a tool for his work.

    Welcome to the steam baths. Welcome Home. 2015 onwards

    Danny directed Nick Cassenbaum's solo show set in the Canning Town Steam Baths. Presented across the UK and in the USA and Malta, Danny and Nick started to apply the D-a-D framework to develop Bubble Schmeisis' dramaturgy

    A turbulent love affair between a performer and his audience. 2018 onwards

    The latest project represents a consolidation and development of the D-a-D framework, as Danny and Nick co-wrote this new piece inspired by Nick's appreciation of Michael Barrymore. A highly participatory event, My Kind of Michael premiere's at Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Fringe 2018.

    A youth musical project

    Written by Danny Braverman, Songs by Labi Siffre.

    This new musical is designed with and for young people. This project explores D-a-D as co-creation dramaturgy and to evaluate the experiences of young participants. The show has already achieved workshop productions at The Arcola Theatre and for Goldsmiths Musical Theatre Society. A pack to enable schools and youth groups to to produce the show independently is planned for 2020.

  • Audience Response



    Audience Feedback on Wot? No Fish!!

    Summerhall, Edinburgh Fringe, 2013

    It was audience responses to Wot? No Fish!! that set in train the need to find a new model of dramaturgy that would bring audiences together across difference.

    Audience Feedback on Bubble Schmeisis

    Rich Mix, London, 2015

    Just one video of many of audience response to Bubble Schmeisis. You get a real sense of the uplift of a shared event from these vox pops.