Jen Harris, freelance Drama Practitioner

photo of Jen and the rest of Doolally at the Happy Festival in Bury – May 2021

Jen and the rest of the Doolally team at the Happy Festival in Bury – May 2021

Jen has worked with DIY for about 14 years – so quite a long time. Jen has worked closely with the BUDS group and during the pandemic has been running BUDS courses on Zoom. She is a member of DIY’s Board of Directors. Jen says that

DIY is a very exciting company that I am proud to have been a part of for so long.

We asked Jen some questions about herself:

What sort of things do you do at DIY?

In my years at DIY, I have mainly been a drama facilitator on various projects. I did a stint at being the communication manager and then more recently, I was Education and Outreach Officer – with a role that included developing the Friday group. In this role, I went into schools and colleges with members of DIY to develop Arts Award projects amongst other things. I led and developed the BUDS group –  which was started to allow new people who wanted to join in with our activities a way in. I was the tech lead on various shows as well! I have been and still am on the board for the company too.

Tell us one of your favourite things about DIY Theatre Co.

People people people. The company is made up of a fantastic group of creative, interesting, thought provoking individuals who collectively make great work.

Tell us a couple of things you are most proud of doing at DIY.

Early on with DIY,  (2005/6) I loved developing ideas with Sue and the company on ‘Strange Capers’ – a show based on Romeo and Juliet. A time when I have special memories of the rehearsal space and playing with ideas. Pure joy.

I was also very proud of the company’s work on ‘Give Me Space‘. We all worked hard to develop ways to interact with audiences with profound and multiple disabilities. It was a big learning curve for all of us and I loved seeing the ways that our actors interacted with the young people in the schools and spaces where we took the show. Really sensitive, thoughtful engagement.

What else do you do, outside of DIY?

I am freelancer for various theatre companies – currently M6 Theatre, Small Things and Made By Mortals. I also sing in a comedy act called Doolally and we run and compere a cabaret night – ‘Tickle your fancy’! Great fun.

What motto do you live by?

If at first you don’t succeed, try try try again.

Tell us about a piece of performance or visual art that has inspired you.

Seeing the Grayson Perry exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery was a recent inspiration – because it was so equalling. There are art works by well-known artists alongside works by members of the public – sat next to each other – where everyone gets the same amount of space and I like that.

What makes you smile?

When little children say funny things.