Following Patient 36

Photo: Following Patient 36

Following Patient 36 is DIY’s performance piece exploring Learning Disability History and the resilience of people with learning disabilities in Salford and Greater Manchester.

Following Patient 36 in 2020

During the early part of 2020 DIY developed a positive relationship with the Working Class Movement Library in Salford, which was once itself a hostel for people with learning disabilities. We visited on a couple of research trips and were given access to an amazing collection of placards, badges and photographs which inspired us in developing our show.

The Digital Story

Telling our story online – in film, sound, text and images.

Our plans for live performances at Working Class Movement Library and Manchester Histories Festival during Summer 2020 had to be shelved owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Because we are unable to share our performance on a live stage for the foreseeable future, we have made this interactive story book as our way of sharing our work. We are pleased to have been able to share this widely and to take it ‘on tour’ during the Autumn of 2020, participating in Manchester Histories Digifest 2020 and Enrich Online Festival.

Please click to view.

Loved your production, amazing transition to online performance, really one of the best I’ve seen.

Dr Winter Phong, Oklahoma State University


The Online Resource

During Autumn 2020, we created a Resource page on the DIY website which brought together our Following Patient 36 Digital Story and a new supporting Resource Pack with the aim of helping schools, colleges and other organisations to explore issues relating to UK Disability History Month (18th November – 18th December) and the International Day of People with Disabilities (3rd December 2020).

This online resource was piloted with two educational partners; Loreto High School and Manchester Hospital School.

The class responded very positively to the materials. They were very interested and shocked to hear about the treatment of learning disabled people and had stories from older family members to share about poor treatment and lack of understanding. They really loved the song at the end and particularly empathised with the lack of personal space and belongings.’

Gabrielle Shahidi, Head of RE, Loreto High School


This performance, both live and digital, and its accompanying resources, would make an excellent additional focus that would complement learning in many areas of the secondary curriculum.’

Richard Demby, Teacher, Manchester Hospital School

Have a look at the Following Patient 36 online resource page

Background and R&D

Back in 2018, DIY members took part in performances of Madhouse Re: Exit with Access all Areas Theatre Company, as part of The Lowry’s Week 53 event. DIY actors played a character called Patient 36 who guided audiences around the fictional Paradise Fields institution in a show which took a critical and challenging look at Learning Disability HistorySee more about DIY and MADHOUSE re:exit here

DIY members wanted to learn more about Learning Disability History. First we started to find out a lot more about what it was like in the institutions. Then we started to wonder what happened here in Salford. What happened when people came out of the institutions, as part of Care in the Community? That was how the idea for our Following Patient 36 Project was born.

Research and development for “Following Patient 36” was undertaken in 2019. We created a performance piece which incorporated live action, film, live and recorded music. The process involved was documented in our programme for the R & D sharing events – click the image below to see this.

You can see our programme for the Following Patient 36 sharing events, this is a picture of the cover

Sharing ‘Following Patient 36’ in 2019

photo from sharing event - scene showing how we interviewed people who had lived in an institution

New Adelphi Theatre

DIY held a residency at the New Adelphi Theatre at Salford University during July 2019 . This culminated in the first sharing of where we were up to with research and development for ‘Following Patient 36′ with our of our R&D performance piece.

Chetham’s Festival 50

In October 2019, Chetham’s School of Music celebrated its 50th birthday with ‘Festival 50’ – ‘a lively open weekend showcasing the region’s creative spirit’. DIY were invited to take part and we performed some of the songs devised for Following Patient 36. Find out more on Chetham’s own website.

Eccles Town Hall

DIY staged a second sharing performance in Eccles Town Hall in November 2019. This event gave us a second very positive opportunity to gain feedback from a live audience.

We were delighted that nearly 100 people came and even more delighted when the company received a standing ovation!

Photo of feedback written paper T-shirts and hung on a washing line

To make the show even stronger in the future we asked for feedback using symbol supported forms and our T-shirt washing line.

During this project DIY have been working with:

  • Sue Caudle (Artistic Director)
  • Mary O’Neill (DIY Supporter)
  • Hilary Easter-Jones (film-maker)
  • Richard Easter (soundtrack)
  • Nerissa Cargill Thompson (designer)
  • Ian Dean (technical support)
  • Susan Guest (movement)
  • Sarah Atter (live music)
  • Andrea Fanchette (graphics and performance photography)

Thanks to: 

logos of The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England



Photograph Acknowledgements:

  • Images of Brockhall and Calderstones Institutions courtesy:
  • Brenda Kay
  • Duncan Mitchell
  • David Whalley
  • Gill Cott
  • Lancashire County Council Museums Service
  • Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Pathways Associates CIC
  • Image of Prestwich Mental Hospital
  • Martin Parr © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos Click to find out more about Martin Parr
  • All other photographs, DIY’s own.


This short trailer was used to promote public sharings as part of the research and development phase.

Exploring Our Past, Making Our Future. This film explores the devising processes used by DIY Theatre Company to  to develop 'Following Patient 36' Please be aware some of the scenes are disturbing. A film by Hilary Easter-Jones

Film 'The Mental Deficiency Act 1913', produced as part of the research and development work for Following Patient 36. Please be aware some of the ideas shown are disturbing. A film by Hilary Easter-Jones


  • Work in Progress Sharing Event at New Adelphi Theatre

    5 July 2019
  • Cheetham's School of Music

    20 October 2019
  • Eccles Town Hall

    19 November 2019
  • Manchester Histories DigiFest 2020

    5-6 September 2020
  • Enrich - online - Festival

    6 September 2020
  • Connect LD+ 2020 online festival

    7 September 2020
If you'd like DIY Theatre to perform at your centre, please get in touch