By Design was the brain child of Ashleigh Edwards who wanted to join local artists together to make an impact in the region after she graduated from Guildford School of Acting and came home to Devon.


In May 2018, a socially engaged collection of artists who want to use the theatre and the arts to make a sustainable impact in people's lives was born. It has been a speedy and successful journey already. By Design teamed up with the knowledgable people at Plymouth AGE UK as we had a desire to fill a gap in the celebrations for the Mayflower 400 and provide a theatre programme to the older generation. With their support, we won a small pot of money from Take A Part, a Plymouth based organisation, to run our pilot programme in a care home. Manor Court took up the offer of visiting them and we delivered a 8 week course to over 11 eldery but very enthusiastic members each week. The group devised their own story and added theatrical elements such as props, songs, dance and pupperty along the way. We have had amazing feedback and are now in the process of applying for more funding.


It doesn't stop there! We also created a programme with Plymouth AGE UK and applied for the Mayflower 400 Vital Sparks fund. We were absoutely over the moon to receive funding in the first round. This means that participants will be able to attend one workshop each month for a year. Age UK Plymouth have linked up with a Care Home, Cozy Corner in Plymouth Massachuttes USA who have agreed to be part of, and respond to the project. This means that each workshop will be designed with Cozy Corner section in mind. The 13th session will be a celebration of the 12 workshops held within the year.


Our aim is to SEEK. DESIGN. ENJOY. We seek to find gaps that the Theatre and the Arts can design impactful programme for, with the pure intention that our participants as well as oursleves will enjoy the journey and the outcome.






‘'Loving Later Life' - as people age physical, mental  and emotional wellbeing is vitally important  to ensure a good quality of life in later years. Many older people can find themselves socially isolated or lonely and by providing opportunities for active engagement, fun and good company gives those, who may struggle to find a purpose in their lives, an active focus which can in turn improve their social networks and overall health and wellbeing. Age UK Plymouth is keen to support By Design to achieve their vision of bringing interactive theatre into the lives of older people.’


Lynne Hodgson, AGE UK Plymouth