Photo: DIY Theatre

I have been Associate Artist with learning disabled led theatre company, DIY Theatre, since 2006 running design workshops as part of developing new shows and creating props, sets and costumes for these. Recent projects have seen a move away from traditional theatre into sensory performances for small audiences in special schools and colleges. My work also features in their accompanying education packs.

Following The Thread takes the audience on a journey to the seaside and beyond. The centre piece is an applique teepee based on designs from workshops with the members. The light up jellyfish were a popular part of the show. This show toured into schools and centres to entertain audience members with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) taking them on a multi-sensory journey.

Give Me Space was the follow up show using the same format as Following the Thread. This time I ran puppet and mask workshops as part of the development of the show and was commissioned to create a flat pack space ship.

Next is Following Patient 36 exploring Learning Disability History and the resilience of people with learning disabilities in Salford and Greater Manchester. This had a period of R&D including some performances in 2019. Unfortunately development of the touring show was put on hold due to Covid-19.

Looking Back: Facing Forward is an original piece of promenade outdoor theatre take time and space to Look Back on Salford’s History and Face Forward to all our Futures as we readapt to life post lockdown. This was a development of Following Patient 36 via the Inside: Outside project. It premiered in Peel Park.

DIY’s new multi-sensory performance Hanging by a Thread is DIY’s third show specifically designed for sensory audiences. The show invites intimate audiences to connect with the natural world. As part of this, the company have been looking at sustainability – reusing and adapting old costumes and sets, using recycled materials to create new set, props & costumes, encouraging the use of recycled materials in the accompanying arts activities.

Visual Arts: As well as running visual arts workshops as part of the devising process, I test accompanying workshop activities on the group. As part of the Inside: Outside project, I ran a series of online Art + Nature workshops to create maps of our perfect parks. We used printing, collage, drawing and storyboarding to develop and design the final maps and looking at artists who depict nature in their work.

Also photos from Platform 1 development workshops & performance and Strange Capers.

Sue Caudle is Artist Director for DIY Theatre and directs all their shows.