Delia Derbyshire Day returns in January, celebrating an electronic music pioneer

DD Day 2016 official image by Andrea Pazos

DD Day 2016 official image by Andrea Pazos

Delia Derbyshire Day 2016, an exciting upcoming event in the Manchester cultural calendar has just been announced, taking place on Sunday 17th January.

Delia Derbyshire Day 2016, taking place at the Manchester’s new  international contemporary art, theatre, film and books venue HOME, will be a special music and visual art event celebrating the fascinating work and archive of Delia Derbyshire, a pioneer of electronic music, who worked for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and is perhaps most famous for realising the iconic, original Doctor Who theme in 1963.

Throughout her career, Delia had a close affinity with the visual arts, working on BBC projects about artists including Henry Moore, Francisco Goya and Eduardo Paolozzi, and collaborating with visual artists like Yoko Ono and Madelon Hooykaas.

DD Day 2016 showcases this interplay between music and visual art, and will screen two exciting new donations of experimental art films to the archive, for which Delia provided the music.

Collaboration between Delia Derbyshire & Barry Barmange for BBC Radio ‘Third Programme’. Originally broadcast on 5th January 1964
The event will also present the premiere performances of two new creative responses to the Delia Derbyshire Archive by artists Mary Stark (visual live art) and Mandy Wigby featuring Howard Jacobs as The Architects of Rosslyn (electronic and acoustic music).

The event will include a Q&A with the artists as well as filmmakers Madelon Hooykaas and Di Mainstone, chaired by Dr David Butler, Senior Lecturer of Screen Studies at University of Manchester and principal researcher of the Delia Derbyshire Archive – exploring the relationship of music and visual art and Delia’s work across these disciplines. During the day, there will also be hands-on family music workshops and a pop-up live improvised music performance to fill the HOME building with Delia-n spirit.

Delia Derbyshire, born in Coventry in 1937, was one of the pioneering figures in the development of electronic music in Britain. She worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop from 1962 to 1973 producing a remarkable, evocative and distinctive body of work that explored, as she termed it, “psycho-acoustics”. She is still best remembered for her extraordinary realisation of Ron Grainer’s theme tune for Doctor Who – a piece of music that would become an iconic part of the soundscape of British popular culture. She died in 2001.

Delia Derbyshire Day has existed since January 2013 to pay sonic homage to pioneering composer Delia Derbyshire via her archive held at University of Manchester’s John Ryland Library. This fascinating archive – some 267 digitised audiotapes, school notebooks, working notes and newspaper cuttings – is a rich source of education, inspiration and British musical heritage. The 2016 event has been awarded funding by The Granada Foundation, Arts Council England and University of Manchester.

Delia Derbyshire Day is fast growing as an arts organisation in the North West of England that champions the work and archive of Delia Derbyshire whilst also acting as a platform for developing talent in the region by commissioning new works by artists and composers who are dedicated to their craft and dare to be rare.

“The success of DD Day 2013 and DD Day 2014 far exceeded our expectations, demonstrating great interest in Delia’s work, her archive and support for our rather radical arts programming,” commented DD Day 2016 Project Manager Caro C. “We are so excited to have our event coming up at the lovely new venue of HOME.

“With DD Day 2016, once again we are taking a fresh angle on Delia’s fascinating work and archive which we feel is a rich source of electronic music heritage sitting right here in Manchester. We are excited to be able to present two new film donations to the archive, a new audio collage of archive material, new music and visual art commissions and hands-on electronic music making workshops for families. With a post-event Q&A, there will also be an opportunity to hear from and talk to some of the artists and filmmakers involved.”

Sarah Perks, Artistic Director: Visual Art, HOME, added: “We are delighted to be the host venue for this year’s Delia Derbyshire Day 2016. This is a developing and important regular event that needs a host venue which recognises and understands Delia’s cross disciplinary and innovative approach. It’s also an important collaborative event, and the use of artists’ commissions develops talent in the region. We particularly applaud the notion of celebrating an inspirational and successful woman in a largely male-dominated field.”

• Delia Derbyshire Day 2016, Sunday 17th January 2016. Time: Workshops for families: 11.30 – 1.30pm & 2.30 – 4.30pm; Pop-up performance 5.00pm – 5.30pm; Film & music event: 5.30pm – 8.30pm; HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, M15 4FN.  Tickets: Workshops: £5 per person, £4 per person for Big Family Card Holders. Film & Music Event: £8.50 full, £6.50 concessions. For more information visit:

The outline for DD Day 2016

TARDIS Music Quest: A Music-Making Family Workshop
11.30-1.30 & 2.30-3.30pm
Join us for a fun hands-on music-making workshop in the spirit of electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001). This will be a playful and collaborative music experience for all the family to explore and experiment with sound and loops. Age 6+, no musical experience necessary.

Live pop-up improvised music performance by Janet Wolstenholme
Inspired by the music and working methods of Delia Derbyshire

Film screenings, new commission performances and Q&A discussion

One of these days directed by Elsa Alexandra Stansfield & Else Madelon Hooykaas
30 min, NL, 1973, U cert, in English

One of these days was made as an image impression of a ‘person of today’ Marte Röling, an Amsterdam designer. The sounds throughout the day play an important role. The people talking and Marte’s reactions stimulated by what they say. At the end she realises her dream to decorate an ocean liner with favourite form: mouths. Music by Delia Derbyshire.

Two Houses
Directed by Elisabeth Kozmian
41 mins, UK, U cert, 1980

In 1977 two architects bought derelict houses in Kentish Town, North London and set out to renovate them. Being very different people, their ways of working and approach were completely different. Symbolically this film is about the process of renewal, about change overcoming decay, about courage and hard work. On a more pedestrian level the film is about people converting their houses, an occupation very dear to British homeowners who are always tinkering with do-it-yourself. For this film Delia composed a piano score.

With thanks to Matt Badham for the tip

Categories: Doctor Who, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Events, Other Worlds, Television

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