Socially engaged collection of artists who want to use the theatre and the arts to make a sustainable impact in people's lives. Finding the gaps where theatre belongs.


By By Design, Sep 19 2019 12:52PM

Starting this September on the 25th, By Design will be working with AGE UK Plymouth to deliver a monthly workshop until next September 2020, where we will be holding a celebration event. Each month, we will take an artistic approach to exploring the Mayflower story with clients of AGE UK and those from the surrounding area who use the facilities. We will look at themes and subject matter and discuss and create according to the groups abilities and desires. This journey of discovery and conversation will ultimately work towards a presentation next year that anyone can attend and celebrate the passions and thoughts of the Mayflower story through the eyes of the older generation.

'Friends Across the Sea,’ will aim to connect and create with others from America so the end product is a result of collaboration and creativity as well involve a range of citizens from Plymouth. We will be using live feeds, social media and word of mouth to find as many people as possible to either join the group at Mount Gould Day Centre or respond to our activities and workshops online and send us your art work, videos, photos to add to the collection of creative repsonses from our group.


Taster Workshops for anyone over the age of 60, we want to include the experiences and voices of as diverse a group of older people as we can. If your under 60 and are interested in being part of the process come along as well. We have tea and cake!

25th Sep

30th Oct

20th Nov

18th Dec

Come along, chat with us and slip tea and eat cake. We will explain the project and why we need you!

By By Design, Dec 6 2018 02:08PM

We are over the moon and thrilled to announce that By Design Theatre, in partnership with Plymouth AGE UK, were successful in the first round of funding for the Mayflower 400 events. Funded by Vital Sparks, led by Fiona Evans (middle in pic) has meant that By Design can led creative workshops for the members of the Plymouth AGE UK community, starting in September 2019.

12 workshops, once a month, with a focus on the Mayflower narrative and the themes that speak to the older generation. Not only are we excited about designing this amazing programme but with the help from Lynne Hodgeson (right in pic) we were able to team up with Cozy Corner, a care home in the USA to work with. This means we have 'Friends Across the Sea,' which we can't wait to share with, devise with and work towards a theatrical expression of our journey over the year.

For more information and to keep updated visit our FB page

By By Design, Aug 6 2018 03:02PM

Thank you to AGE UK Plymouth and Tammy for our training today. We are now part of the Dementia Friends badge group.

It was a great workshop looking at perceptions, assumptions and how the brain reponses to Dementia and how we may see it from outside. We did a few quizzes, got asked questions and even completed a role play. Really inclusive and well presented and will be vital to our work with AGE UK Plymouth.

To support our friends and their work, we will be organising with Tammy another 1hr session in September which is completely free so you to can receive some training too.

If you interested in this or know anyone who might be message us or comment below. It will be near the end of September and be based in Plymouth :0

By By Design, Jun 13 2018 10:56AM

For those of you who still aren't sure what our project goals are please continue to read this blog.

We are By Design Theatre.

By Design is a new collective group of artists that are currently in the very early stages of working with AGE UK Plymouth. We identified festivities for the older generation for the Mayflower 400 were limited. When approaching AGE UK Plymouth with our idea to create a piece of theatre for this target group, this meeting resulted in a stronger commitment to include participant involvement in the actual programming, devising and production of theatre.

Below are three question about why this project is important.

First question: is there a need for this?

First answer: yes there is a 100% need.

"Theatre, music, dance and art make older people feel happy and help combat loneliness and help combat isolation." Performing arts survey reveals benefits of culture for the elderly

Second question: will older people be able to get physically involved?

Second answer: there is a theory that ageing is all about mind-set. If you have a healthy attitude to ageing then you will age more gracefully whereas if you have a negative outlook to ageing then you may actually make yourself more sick. An example of this being the boy who cried wolf- if you tell yourself something enough then it will most likely happen to you.

A quote to support this..

"negative expectations can become “self-fulfilling prophecies.” In other words, when an older person believes that older people are vital and vibrant, he or she is more apt to take care of him — or herself. In contrast, when an older person believes that aging equates to sickness and infirmity, he or she may subconsciously become sick and infirm."

Also, theatre has other types of health benefits such as social and psychological.

"For the seniors, theatre has many health benefits—physical, mental, psychological and cultural. But the social factor is so important." Community and Senior Theatre: A Perfect Match by Bonnie L. Vorenberg

Question three: why here and why now?

Answer three: the older generations have been denied this for too long. Being able to participate in Theatre should not be a privilege- it is something that every person on is planet should be able to get involved with. No matter what age! They have a lifetime of experience to share, they are creative and most importantly they should not be ignored!!

"When it comes to exploring cultural value as perceived and understood by older people, the difficulties are compounded because of how we construct and view these members of our society. Cultural institutions, as well as individuals, tend to hold stereotypical and deficit views of what older people are or are not capable of and will tend to write off, or ignore, their contributions to their communities and localities in cultural as in other arenas" (Cutler, 2009).

So, if you like the sound of what this project entails then please like our page and keep up to date with everything we are doing.

Soon going to launch a crowdfunding campaign so if you have some spare pennies lying around then please donate as we want to offer this programme free of charge to its participants!

Thank you for all your support so part on this exciting adventure.

By By Design, Jun 11 2018 12:52PM

Last Thursday, our tummies were filled with excitement, butterflies and soup. Yup, you guessed it, the event we kept banging on about was about to start. SOUP at Take A Part in Plymouth where everyone paid £10 for soup and the money went towards the winning pitches and the Junk Food Shop who produced the soup from diverted food.

The soup was amazing and so was the outcome. We actually won which is why we took this weird and wonderful photo above! We have gained funding from the Michael Bridgewater Fund and will work with the Efford community to deliver our project.

We just want to say a massive thank you to those who brought soup and voted for us. We also want to thank Take A Part for creating a safe and comfortable atmosphere, its so important when your knees are shaking when its you turn to pitch. Well done also to Flo and the Imperfect Orchestra.

Can't wait to start seeing our seed of an idea grow.