'The best thing about So Many Words'

Here's a video we made during February Half Term about all the different games and things we enjoy at So Many Words . . . 

So Many Words is a vibrant arts organisation working with young people aged 12 – 21 who have learning disabilities.  Starting as an afterschool club in 1995, the company has grown and flourished to become a regional arts base for young people who want to use drama to explore their creativity, express themselves and fulfil their potential as artists.

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So Many Words is member-led, meaning that our young disabled members are involved in making decisions about how the company is run and what projects they would like to do next.  Our work aims to challenge stereotypes and show the public what disabled people are able to achieve.

The group creates unique productions of multi-media theatre, which are performed at the Lowry Theatre and across the North West.  All our shows are entirely devised by the actors who use their own experiences to create thought-provoking entertainment.

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So Many Words uses Theatre of the Oppressed to allow young people to explore issues, problem-solve and break down barriers.  The techniques provide members with an inclusive method to voice their opinions, speak out and feel empowered.  This work is mentored by Julian Boal, son of Augusto Boal, the founder of the Theatre of the Oppressed movement.

The company trains young disabled adults who have a passion for the arts, so they can become workshop leaders, directors and theatre technicians.  Recently, our young leaders have designed a workshop package about Disability Awareness which has been delivered to professionals from Mencap, The National Trust and council staff in the North West and Midlands.  

Our Current Work

Workshops, projects, performances, festivals and more... 

The company is currently recuiting young people to take part on an international arts trip to the Dordogne region of France in September of this year.  The group will use the beautiful surroundings to inspire artwork, theatre and drama.

'On the trip to France, I would like to experience going to a different country and maybe even to speak some French!  I think I'll be able to gain more skills that will help me to be a better workshop leader, and pass things on to other people when I get home.'          

Pam Bates, group member and volunteer

Every Thursday, the company is joined by community dancers from DanceSyndrome.  The sessions are fully accessible and young people involved learn to choreograph their own expressive dance routines and develop movement skills.

'I've been doing workshops with DS at Oakwood.  Since our first workshop at Oakwood, it has made me confident because I'm running workshops and exercises and I have to plan how to do it all.  Leading in the workshop, and seeing them copying me and listening, makes me feel in control and confident to take the power to lead the group.  This makes me happy.  Dance is good exercise and it gets me working with other dancers at DanceSyndrome'           

Peter Pamphlett, workshop leader

Young actors meet every Saturday during term-time to develop their acting skills and experience different aspects of theatre.

'Young people with special needs, come here because it lets them socialise with the group members, that they already know and let young people meet new friends which they don't know yet. We all learn about acting skills, projection, communication and co-ordination.'          

Simon and Nicole, group members

Julian Boal is the world's leading practitioner in Theatre of the Oppressed techniques.   He has been involved with the company for 8 years as a consultant and mentor, developing our facilitators and driving our programme forward.

'2 years ago, I worked with Julian Boal when he came over from France and did some work with So Many Words Theatre Company on Theatre Of The Oppressed. I was excited to meet him. I couldn't wait to work with him on Theatre of the Oppressed project because I always wanted to see what it would be like to use drama to change the world.'          

Pam Bates, group member and volunteer


The group works regularly with top Manchester poet, Mike Garry.  His projects open up the world of text to young people, and break down the barriers associated with reading and writing for our members.

'Mike makes everybody laugh.  He's got good poems and he gets us writing some.'  


Our Previous Work

Achievements, reflections and memories of past projects...

So Many Words opened 2012 with two fantastic performances at the Lowry Theatre.

'So Many Words did 2 plays this year. 1 play was in March and the other play was in April.  The play in April was attended by hundreds of people in the Quays Theatre at the Lowry Centre. That felt to me like I was a star singing on stage!'

8 young performers collaborated with Opera North, Candoco Dance Company, Mike Garry, Ben Dixon and DanceSyndrome to devise our most ambitious piece of dmultimedia theatre to date.  The show was performed twice at the Lowry and the group performed for the first ever time at the Royal Exchange Theatre.

'I really enjoyed the whole performance I was in.  It was at the Royal Exchange Theatre.  It had lots of characters and and lots of audience watching the stage.  We had Ben Dixon singing with us.  We had a big screen.  We had to have lots of rehearsals.  I was nervous on stage at first but we had stage directions with Jamie.'          

Toby, group member

In May 2012, 6 members of the company passed their Silver Arts Award.  The group worked with DIY Theatre Company over a 9-month period to research and evaluate the arts, meet with local artists, perform their own pieces of drama, and explore how they might develop their own career in the arts.

This made the young people very proud of the project that we have done.  Also the group had fun by joining in and getting more experience.  We would all like to say a big thank you to DIY Theatre for helping us with all of this.'  


Find Us . . .

So Many Words is based inside Oakwood Academy (previously Oakwood High School) which is the last school on the right at the bottom of Chatsworth Road, Eccles.

Postcode: M30 9DY

Contact Us . . .

If you want any more information about our projects, or want to find out how to get involved please fill out the form on the right, or call us on (0161) 921 2898

We are always on the lookout for new members, volunteers, or arts practitioners who are interested in getting involved . . .