[OSList] An Improbable invitation. A poem about a job.

Alan Halford alan at alanhalford.com.au
Sat Nov 20 05:05:18 PST 2021


On 20 Nov 2021, at 8:42 pm, Phelim McDermott via OSList <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org <mailto:oslist at lists.openspacetech.org>> wrote:

Hello lovely space openers. 

I wanted to share something. Firstly it’s about a job advert but also about how stuff we do at Improbable has been changed by the practice of invitation. 

First off I’m sure my wife Matilda won’t mind me sharing this story. She formed and co-runs an organisation called “Mothers who make” it’s an online and offline support group that grew out of one of our own open space events. It supports the idea that we need to open more space into our work and life spaces so that the the roles of both mother and maker are not separate or marginalised by the other. 
Check it out you might want to take part. You can join from anywhere in the world. 

https://www.improbable.co.uk/job-vacancies <https://www.improbable.co.uk/job-vacancies>

Anyway a few years back Matilda put out a job advert for a Producer role at MWM in a traditional way. Job specs, salary, responsibility etc.. she got at most a handful of replies. So she decided to create an informal advert. An invitation. She spoke from her heart and from her passion and vulnerability with real honesty about what the job would be and what it would involve. Raw. She got 100 applicants. A real indication that it’s not just the sessions called but the original invite that need passion and responsibility to give it grip. 

https://www.improbable.co.uk/ <https://www.improbable.co.uk/>

So Improbable (link above) is a company that makes shows and opens space wherever we can are currently looking for a new executive director. We put out the formal job advert a few weeks ago and shortly afterwards we put out our informal invite which is  below..

Please spread the word and notice that we are hoping to ensure no one should exclude themselves from the possibility of interviewing, especially if you don’t work in theatre. 

Yes this might be you. 

Here is the Invitation:

https://www.improbable.co.uk/posts/executive-director-informal-job-ad <https://www.improbable.co.uk/posts/executive-director-informal-job-ad>  

Here’s the text so you don’t have to click a link! 


An invitation to Join us. A poem about a job. 

On our Gathering blog, https://www.improbable.co.uk/posts/the-gathering <https://www.improbable.co.uk/posts/the-gathering>
you may have read that we’re looking for a place to belong and to create belonging. We've been gathering clues, seeking out places, talking to people, in our quest for a home for the company. We have also just put out a call for a very particular, key collaborator - last week, we announced that Improbable is looking for a new Executive Director. 

Our Executive Director will, of course, be helping to take care of Improbable - what it is, what it does, what its unfolding vision is, and what it may be. However, one vital focus of this person's role will be helping to make The Gathering, our home for Improbable and our practice, happen. 

You can read the formal job ad here. 

https://www.improbable.co.uk/job-vacancies <https://www.improbable.co.uk/job-vacancies>

It does what job ads have to do – it talks about tasks, responsibilities and qualifications. There is a heading called 'Person Specification' which lists things like: 

Excellent written and oral communication skills
Excellent project management and time management skills
Experience of line management and excellent people skills
An understanding of funding systems and track record of fundraising from a variety of sources


What it doesn't and can't talk about is spirit. 

Spirit Specification. 

So we want to do that here. Not to list the spirit needed by the person in the Executive Director role because the specific thing about spirit is that it does not belong to anyone. It exists between people. An understanding of this is at the heart of the company's practice, that the brilliance of the work, be that an Opera, an Impro, or an Open Space event, does not lie in any one person's singular stellar performance, but in the atmosphere between the players, even amongst the audience - between all the participants, it emerges. Much like in a poem, the meaning unfolds from the combination of the words and their particular clustering, their constellation. 

Here then, below, is a kind of poem. A list poem. It shares something of who we are, and of our spirit.

This is our 'Spirit Ad':

We are Improvisers. Performers. Directors. Writers. Artists. Facilitators. Parents. Partners. Friends.

We are leaders. We are listeners. 
We are tricksters.

We have spent our lives following our curiosity, trusting the unlikely, believing in the quirky, the subtle, and the irritating, giving time and space to all the improper things that are usually dismissed or discarded in a creative process. We are also all these things ourselves: improper, quirky, irritating. We are not always easy to live with.

We are often… Sad. Overwhelmed. Furious. Funny. In despair. In hope. Determined. Devoted. Disgruntled.

We believe that Improvisation can save the world. 
We are wildly ambitious and not attached to the results. 
We believe in the power of vulnerability.
We are committed to celebrating and holding space for the marginal. We mean those marginalised by race, sexuality, gender, class, (dis)ability - all of these things - and we also mean the marginalised in ourselves: the dreams, dilemmas, accidents, odd impulses, uncanny images.

We are Improbable, seeking a home, and, right now, seeking a collaborator, otherwise known as an Executive Director, to help us make it all happen. 

If the spirit of this speaks to you... 

If you care, not only about theatre but the way in which theatre is made...

If you believe grief has as much value as gold...

If you believe poetry is as hard as nails...

If you believe spirit has as much leverage as a plan...

If you believe leaders are followers...

If you believe silence is as eloquent as words, and that listening is as important as speaking…

If you believe that dreams are as real as the real...

If you’re happy to step out before the ground has appeared...

If there’s one thing that you know and it is that you ain’t learned nothing yet...

And, in a time of despair, if you believe the story of the artists is not over just yet...

Then, maybe, you should apply for this job.

Formal invite here:
https://www.improbable.co.uk/job-vacancies <https://www.improbable.co.uk/job-vacancies>

And, as we say when we are Opening Space - after that moment of silence when we are waiting to see whether everyone is done calling their sessions - if you are thinking maybe you should, maybe you shouldn’t, maybe you should......

People from diverse backgrounds, in every sense of the word, are encouraged to approach us. Unlikely, implausible and improbable applicants, are, by definition, extremely welcome. 

Lee, Phelim and Matilda


Phelim X 

Sent from my iPhone
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Alan Halford & Associates
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www.alanhalford.com.au <http://www.alanhalford.com.au/>
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