Our first ever outdoor arts production!

Photo: Our first ever outdoor arts production!

Looking Back: Facing Forward was DIY’s first ever outdoor arts production! It was also our first production since the pandemic began.

A year ago, in June 2021, DIY actors hesitantly started meeting face to face again in Peel Park after a long period of meeting on Zoom. We were all nervous about meeting in person, but soon got very excited about the possibilities of working outdoors. Our Inside: Outside project took place during a really important period of coming together after a long period of separation – with all the Covid-safe and social distancing measures in place of course. The focus was on wellbeing and recovery and the project built on a conviction and awareness of how much both creativity and the natural environment can support the health and wellbeing of all of those involved – DIY actors and freelancers alike. Have a look at our November ’21 news for more about the R&D.

photo from our Inside: Outside session with Global Grooves in Peel Park

Paul, Amy and Chalotte taking part in our Inside: Outside session with Global Grooves in Peel Park.

DIY artists had the amazing opportunity to work with some fantastic practitioners in Outdoor Arts including Sonya Moorhead, Whalley Range Allstars, Beka Haigh and Global Grooves. It was wonderful to meet together in the beautiful environment of Peel Park and to work with such inspirational practitioners and companies. We were all very much struck with what we’d been missing out on when we’d been working online – it was something we had to do because of the pandemic, but it was no replacement for live drama sessions and the interactions that are possible when people are in the same space.

photo showing Sarah playing music and leading the procession of actors followed by the audience

June ’22 – Peel Park – Looking Back: Facing Forward live!

Well done. Very entertaining, informative and inspiring. Courageous performing in a public park – keep it up!
Audience feedback from Peel Park, 16 June ’22

A year on, on June 16th 2022, DIY actors performed live for the first time since the Pandemic began and we really enjoyed it! We performed our new show Looking Back: Facing Forward as part of a free event called Salford Rediscovered which was a lively celebration showcasing Salford’s artists, stories and green spaces.

Photo of Robert in an overall looking at DIY Actors dressed as patients. He is using a megaphone

Our promenade piece took our audience on a journey around different spaces in the beautiful Peel Park. It incorporated live music performed by Sarah Atter on the accordion and ukulele and puppets and installations created with designer Nerissa Cargill Thompson.

We can see David dressed as a patient in an institution. He is in an area on his own kept apart with yellow tape. We can also see Anna on the right dressed as a Doctor. She has a clip board and is looking at David sternly.


I loved this piece. It was happy and sad and hopeful. Everyone is involved.
Audience feedback from Peel Park, 16 June ’22

Audiences were invited to look back at Salford’s history and look forward to Salford’s future.

As we sang in our opening song:

Looking Back, to tell the tale

Looking Forward, follow the trail

Looking back through the smoke

Facing Forward, Seeds of Hope.

Close up of Scott from the end of the show when he is wearing his personalised t-shirt which tells us he is a DJ! He's very happy, smiling with his thumbs up.

Visit the Looking Back: Facing forward show page for more photos from the performance.


Salford Rediscovered was led by the Salford Culture and Place Partnership, the University of Salford, Solid Ground, Salford City Council, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, and RHS Garden Bridgewater.


Our thanks to Community Learning at Salford City College and Salford City Council Ranger’s Service for their support for this work.

Our thanks also go to the National Lottery Heritage Fund of this project.

logos of our funders who supported this project; Community Learning at Salford City College, Salford Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund