By By Design, Sep 10 2020 05:07PM

Well, I got out my diary to start putting things in especially now my little one has gone back to school and its stops in September. I haven’t used it for 5 months so half a year has just been wasted. In paper terms. In actual terms its been full of family, becoming a key worker and redesigning our programme Friends Across The Sea into what is now The View Through My Window.

The view through my window is sunny and I think that is part of the reason I'm still mostly sane because its been a bright 5 months, weather wise. I guess as a team we wanted to make sure that the feeling of sunlight can still shine in many different ways in households that are isolating, shielding and just in the repetitiveness of lockdown. Armed with our tools, we designed a pack full of games like word searches and jumbles, creative tasks that allow you to evaluate your thoughts and memories and activities that explore the Mayflower 400 and inform you of its journey in a creative way.

I’ve gone on about it a lot, the packs, and that because its free and we are proud of what we have done. So proud that AGE UK Plymouth put them in their care boxes and Exeter City Council gave us a grant to create a DVD resource that went alongside the Creative Activity Pack. Yes, we are now producing a DVD. (Most care homes are limited when it comes to technology but most have a trusty DVD player)

The last blog entry was from when we launched our Friends Across The Sea project and since then quite a lot has changed but not the determination that the older generation need and deserve access to the arts. Why? Because its fun, uplifting, different, creative, expressive and normally reveals some weird and wonderful life experiences and skills amongst our older members. Like making cushions for the Queen, (true story) to painting a version of the new world full of UFO’s and writing poems about the fact that for them, this is not their first lockdown.

We now have a full team, three core members and one lovely associate artist who you will know if you joined us for the 10 weeks of live streamed Bingo during lockdown on Facebook. She did all the bingo cards! As a company we have been running for over two years and we have achieved a variety of good quality projects, that have made a difference to peoples lives.

Our motto is and we will continue to do all three of these things in the near future. As we turn on our camera’s from our front living rooms or in Ash’s case, on the top of Dartmoor with her dog, to record snippets for the DVD’s that will facilitate the packs for care homes, I hope the joy we get from theatre will also radiant into the residents care home.

Even if Autumn is upon us, lockdown restrictions are still playing a part in our lives, it will be sunny somewhere when our project takes the next step and you can have the whole team in your front living room, virtually.

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.