Happy Birthday! Celebrating 30 years of DIY Theatre.

photo: there are a group of people in costumes. Most have blue tunics but one is wearing a red and blue workwear shirt. They are all facing the camera, many have their hands raised and are shouting or singing. At front it says 'Celebrating 30 years 1994-2024' in colourful letters with balloons

2024 marks DIY’s 30th birthday and we are celebrating in STYLE!

For 30 weeks, from January to June, we will be gathering and sharing stories and discovering the difference DIY has made since 1994!

We’ve come a long way from the small group of people meeting for a couple of hours each week in St George’s Day Centre! Some of our founding members have been involved in DIY since the very beginning and are still very much involved!

Why not take a a few minutes to have a look at the DIY shows over the years?

DIY members are working on three different projects which will celebrate our history as a company. The 30th birthday activities will culminate in the creation of a film, a textile piece, a photography exhibition, a series of education workshops and two celebratory events during Learning Disability Week 2024.

We’re also thinking about the future and the difference we still want to make as a company. We’ve got lots of ideas to share and lots of things we want to do!

Find out more

We’re looking back and celebrating our history as a company and the difference we’ve made over the past 30 years.

I find it hard to put into words the difference DIY has made to me and my practice, but I will try my best. DIY has supported me from the beginning of my career and given me so many opportunities that I am so thankful for. DIY members have taught me what it means to be truly inclusive (which is ever changing, and I am still learning!) and this has shaped so much of my art practice with other groups. DIY has taught me that people with learning disabilities have so much to offer the creative space, and we should never stop pushing for people with learning disabilities to have space and time to lead. Thankyou DIY!
All the best

Molly, DIY Freelance Artist

Coming to drama has made me more confident and I’m not shy any more. I’m living on my own now and I’m more independent. I didn’t think I could live on my own, but now I do. Drama has helped me living on my own because it’s made me more independent.
Angela, DIY Actor and Leader

The involvement of disabled co-facilitators enabled us to gain a deeper understanding of disability led work and how this works in practise. I would recommend DIY Theatre to any organisation – artistic or not – as a way to better understand the needs of people with disabilities but also on how to make your space more inclusive to everyone’s needs.
Rachael Bamber, Engagement Manager, Burnley Youth Theatre

I really enjoyed how interactive the whole session was and getting to work with new people. I learnt how to create an interactive and interesting piece of theatre.”
Drama Student, University of Salford

Me leading with a disability shows that people with disabilities can achieve, a lot of people with disabilities don’t have the chance to do things – I tell people they can do stretches in their own way so that they feel comfortable – everyone helps each other to learn new skills.
Becky, DIY Leader

The project has supported pupils’ confidence, use of imagination, ability to work independently and ability to work with peers they may not have previously worked with… We have all really enjoyed working with the DIY theatre, our pupils look forward to the sessions each week and enjoy discussing with their peers what they have done in the sessions.”
Nuala Ruane-Durkin, Piper Hill Post 16 Department

We’d love to hear your birthday message! Visit our Help us Celebrate page to find out how

DIY makes me more confident. I meet new friends. I love coming.
Adam, DIY Leader

Thanks to everyone at DIY for welcoming us in, this has been one of my favourite experiences during medical school…The people have all been fantastic and had a huge impact on me. Keep on being the amazing, inspiring people you are!
Medical Student, University of Manchester

You have visited us many times and it is always a wonderful experience for our students… As you can see from the reaction of our students, it has transformed their ideas of working with individuals with an intellectual disability while also teaching them vital new skills in theatre making and facilitation.
Dr Sheila McCormick, Senior Lecturer, University of Salford

I like how DIY doesn’t judge me and doesn’t judge other people. I like how DIY helps me fill out big forms and how we work with different organisations. I like how we get different kinds of training to fulfil our potential.”
Charlotte, DIY Actor and Leader

I learned so much both from the DIY workshop leaders and the DIY members. Each session was a journey of fun, discovery and learning how lived experiences are valid and important when it comes to representing ourselves as digital leaders.
Audrey, DIY Freelance Artist

I think the sessions were great and really useful in helping the students think about barriers to communication and feel what it is like to be led in an activity that is challenging and hopefully inspiring.”
Rowan Morris, University of Salford

When I first started I had no confidence. I never thought that I’d be able to fit anywhere. That’s how I was at the beginning. Then through the years I’ve gone from not having any confidence to having lots of confidence now and being myself and not being judged. I think DIY over the years has changed me a lot. It’s given me confidence to actually be myself – able to speak about myself and to be able to show who I am inside and who I am now. I never knew what friendship was like – having the honesty and trust. Through DIY it’s made me feel part of an amazing group and be accepted for who I am.

I’m lucky to be part of something that changes people and I’m always learning new things. What I’m doing now is I’m actually teaching things that I’ve learnt at DIY at the church – everyone’s having fun and I’m paying it forward, sharing it at the church and getting everyone involved.
Becky, DIY Leader

I think everyone can learn something from DIY’s sessions. The world would be a much nicer space if everyone had the opportunity to come.”
Medical Student, University of Manchester

DIY taught me that no-one is limited and anyone can be creative.”
Drama student, University of Salford

DIY introduced the work in a sympathetic and clear way, showed the range of work and explained the needs of participants. In the short time we had the session was very full and interactive! Students’ understanding that disability is not a barrier to enjoying or delivering music and engagement projects is very important to us.”
Vicki Ciaputa, Chethams School of Music

DIY has made a difference to my practice by encouraging (and forcing!) me to work with new and varied art forms, with different learning styles, using different methods of communication and thinking of everything as a sensory opportunity….it’s all about total communication!”
Sarah, DIY Freelance Artist

It gets me out of the house. I meet people and it makes me feel happy. .”
Paul, DIY Actor

I’m a better actor. It’s been fantastic acting – we put a lot of effort into our work. I enjoy being an actor – especially when I’m on stage. It makes me feel happy when I’m on stage. We put in a lot of effort and it brings out the quality and the standard.”
David, DIY Actor

DIY Theatre has had a huge impact on my work.
It – and more importantly – the people who are ‘it’ – have made me think about how different people access different theatre games and exercises.
it has made me slow things down
it has made me try to say less when doing might be better or easier
it has made me consider different ways to connect with people of all ages and abilities
it has made me excited about sensory theatre
it has made me realise the impact that layering ideas on to simple exercises can have
it has made me see that leadership can take many forms
it has made me proud of what I see when DIY are in the space
it has made me feel part of a big theatre family
Thanks DIY”
Jenny, DIY Freelance Artist

DIY has made me think differently about how I work. I used to focus on the end result and now I enjoy all the bits in between, trying games and acting in different ways. Wherever I work, I think more about how to make my workshops accessible for everyone. I’ve loved learning new skills, I’m even staring BSL level 3 in 2024! The best thing is each artist at DIY is individual and they all teach me different ways to be creative.”
Georgia, DIY Freelance Artist

I’m better at working with the children in the schools. When someone gets annoyed or upset I calm them down.”
Cathy, DIY Actor and Leader

I was first introduced to DIY via, doing interviews for my MA, leading me to developing further as an emerging artist, building up my practice to lead finally develop my own project with DIY called The Backstage Project. Being with DIY has enabled me to also gain new contacts and work outside DIY. The whole organisation feels like a warm, welcoming family.”
Philip, DIY Freelance Artist

I’ve become more independent since I started at DIY. At the beginning I used to have to have staff with me but I don’t any more. I’m used to travelling on my own to drama now. I’m more independent knowing what bus to get. I’m getting better at acting. It makes me feel happy and excited.”
Robert, DIY Actor


Our thanks to the funders who are supporting the projects which will help us celebrate DIY’s 30th Birthday.

Exploring our Past; Shaping our Futures is being funded through the ‘Whose Art, Whose Culture Fund’ – Managed by Salford CVS on behalf of Salford City Council; monies from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund via Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

logo strip; 'Greater Manchester, Doing Things Differently', 'Powered by Levelling Up', 'Salford City Council', 'Funded by UK Government', Salford CVS, Making a difference in Salford'.

Our Close Knit sculpture project is being funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

logo of National Lottery Heritage Fund