DIY starts work on our new show – Following Patient 36

Photo: DIY starts work on our new show – Following Patient 36

Please visit our show page for more information on our work on Following Patient 36.

Following Patient 36

The inspiration for our next big show!

During May 2018 a group of DIY actors were involved in a fantastic collaboration with London-based theatre company Access All Areas. Our actors played Patient 36, a resident of the imaginary ‘Paradise Fields’ institution. Patient 36 guided audiences on a journey around the institution and into, the largely unseen and unheard, history of people with learning disabilities. The play, Madhouse Re:Exit, was built on the legacy of Mabel Cooper. Mabel was a learning disabled activist and resident of a long-stay hospital. She refused to be silent, refused to be ignored. Because of this Mabel is now becoming recognised as an inspirational figure in the history of learning disabled people .

DIY’s involvement in the Madhouse Re:Exit performances had a big impact on company members. As a result of this we wanted to find out more about the history of learning disabled people. We also want to share what we learn about this important part of our history with others.

Our members have started working on creating a brand new show with a period of Research and Development. Right now we are finding out about the experiences of people with learning disabilities who moved to Salford as part of Care in the Community policies.

Do you have a story to share about Care in the Community in Salford?

We have started to interview people who have first hand experience of Care in the Community in Salford.  Some of their stories are very hard to hear.

Please get in touch if you have your own experiences to share or if you know somebody who might want to share their experiences with us.

Exploring experiences from the past

DIY performers exploring ideas for ‘Following Patient 36’


We are finding the Research and Development stage of the project really exciting. We’ve been using drama to explore experiences inside and outside the institutions.

DIY members have already started to come up with lots of strong ideas. For example, Sharron Casey is doing some creative writing during the project. Here is a short excerpt of her work:

One day I was really really scared of the doctor. Then he said I will put people with learning disabilities into an institution and then throw the key away.
Then the people began to feel so scared and nervous. I can’t be happy, I have to share everything.
The doctor said he will lock you in a room with bars on the window and the institution was far far away.

In the photo above you can see us during one of our sessions with Susan Guest. We were using movement to look at the themes of ‘order and chaos’ and ‘control and freedom’. We have already started thinking about costumes with Designer Nerissa Cargill Thompson. Very soon we’ll begin working with film-maker Hilary Easter-Jones to look at how we can combine filmed material and live action for the show.

Sharing what we’ve learned

We’ve given ourselves a year to gather material and explore ideas and approaches for our new show Following Patient 36. But we want to let others know what we have found out. To make this happen, DIY will be sharing some of what we’ve learnt at community-based events later in the year.

Please visit our show page for more information on our work on Following Patient 36.