About Delia Derbyshire Day

Delia Derbyshire Day (DD Day) is a registered charity with registered Charity Number 1164959.

Our charitable objects are:

  1. To advance the education of the public in music technology and the history of British electronic music via the archive and works of Delia Derbyshire.
  2. To advance the art of British electronic music via the archive and works of Delia Derbyshire.

DD Day offers public events and participatory activities in Greater Manchester, with national touring events and a developing education programme. So far, DD Day has commissioned artists based in NW England to respond to the fascinating archive of the late great Delia Derbyshire, producing new music and art that in turn inspires others.

We are a Manchester-based developing organisation which celebrates the work of the late Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001) – a pioneer of electronic music in England from the 1960’s.


Our work is centred around the Delia Derbyshire Archive which is held at John Rylands Library in Manchester, UK.

We feel this collection is a gem of electronic music that is a rich resource for education of electronic music and inspiration for creating new music and art.

Delia’s most famous work is probably her iconic realisation of Ron Grainer’s original Dr Who theme in 1963. During her time at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (1962-1973) and her freelance activity, she produced so much music and sound for radio, TV and theatre. Delia’s archive is housed at University of Manchester.

Delia Derbyshire Day are very grateful to have the support and approval of the Delia Derbyshire estate, which is essential to the initiative’s integrity.

Caro C is the instigator and current project manager of DD Day, and we have 4 trustees (David Butler, Dr Jenna Ashton, Mark Ayres and Brian Hodgson).

Caro C, Ailis Ní Ríain and Naomi Kashiwagi founded Delia Derbyshire Day in 2012 and as a team produced the first Delia Derbyshire Day 2013 which took place at a full capacity Band on the Wall, Manchester, England on 12 Jan 2013. The event included a screening of Kara Blake’s award-winning documentary The Delian Mode, panel discussion with esteemed Delian experts and debut performances of 3 new music commissions by Ailís Ní Ríain, Caro C and Naomi Kashiwagi plus DJ Tukatz and live visual accompaniment by Kara Blake.They then toured these music commissions and film to full-house audiences in Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle.

These events were a lot more popular than we expected. Interest and demand was high for further events of this sort and the word inspirational came up a lot in audience feedback – both for Delia herself and our work.

So, a second Manchester event DD Day 2014 took place on SAT 12 APRIL 2014 at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation with a fresh format and new artist commissions by Daniel Weaver (electro-acoustic) and Andrea Pazos (film and live digital visuals). This event was followed by touring events in Hebden Bridge, London, Bristol and Norwich. We presented new artist commissions (Daniel Weaver & Andrea Pazos) and a 45 minute audio visual collage of Delia Derbyshire archive material compiled by David Butler (lead researcher of DD Archive).

A third DD Day 2016 public event took place on 17 January 2016 at HOME in Manchester with hands-on workshops for families, a special music and visuals arts programe and a pop-up live music performance filling the HOME building with Delia-n spirit. This was a visual arts focused event where we screened two artist films for with music composed by Delia which had recently been donated to the DD Archive: Two Houses by Elizabeth Kosmian (1980) and One of These Days by Madelon Hooykaas & Elsa Stansfield (1973). New artist commissions were presented by Mary Stark (a 17 minute handmade film to accompany a new audio archive collage by David Butler) and Mandy Wigby as the Architects of Rosslyn with Howard Jacobs (new music commission inspired by the DD Archive and a live soundtrack to a collage of films by Di Mainstone). We were very grateful to have Madelon Hooykaas (herself a pioneer of video art) present at DD Day 2016 and taking part in an artists Q&A.

For our fourth DD Day 2017, to honour would have been Delia’s 80th birthday year, we held a special Heritage Lottery Fund supported DD Day 2017 cultural heritage event at Band on the Wall, Manchester, UK.

Our daytime workshops for children and adults were fully booked, with many learning electronic music production and sound recording techniques for the first time. Participants were supported to work with found sounds and sound loops like Delia did. Plus there was the opportunity to try out the MS20-mini and ARP Odyssey synthesisers on loan from Korg UK. A highlight was the attendance of our trustee Brian Hodgson (colleague and friend of Delia as well as working on Dr Who for many years) who was himself inspired by the workshops. One parent got in touch to say: “A day later my daughter was getting to grips with LMSS freeware…well it worked for New Order!”

For our evening live event we were excited to welcome Delia’s friends and colleagues from The BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Dick Mills, Brian Hodgson and BBC archivist Mark Ayres joined us to share memories of Delia and insights into her working methods including “How we made the Dr Who theme.”

Further insight into the sonic treasure trove that is the Delia Derbyshire archive held at The John Rylands Library was provided through Dr David Butler’s 17 minute audio archive sharing accompanied by an exquisite film from Andrea Pazos inspired by Delia’s archive, music and tactile working methods.

A busy Band on the Wall audience were wowed by new Delia inspired art commissions and live performances. From Tracey Zengeni’s energetic live painting responding to a mesmerising new composition by Manuella Blackburn. The Architects of Rosslyn brought the house down with their intricate and visceral live electronic score accompanying Di Mainstone’s uniquely surreal films. One audience member said “Humble and engaging speakers with incredible stories to share, fantastic music and cross media performances too.”

Our first ever DD Day marketplace proved extremely popular and we so appreciated our team of generous volunteers who supported our workshops, ran the shop and interviewed audience members with energy and enthusiasm.

With mammoth thanks to our funders Heritage Lottery Fund and supporters Korg, we are thrilled that Delia Derbyshire and the work of DD Day continues to inspire the next generation of music makers and audiences.

Next up for us are summer DD Day performances at Blue Dot Festival on Sat 8th July, Full of Noises on Sat 5th August and Festival Number 6 , date to be confirmed between 7-10th September 2017.

We are currently carrying out a “Delia Derbyshire 80th birthday electronic music heritage project” supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund. This includes DD Day 2017 in Manchester on Sat 10 June, touring events and showcases, electronic music making workshops, an 8 week education project and more. Please visit the News, Events and Education pages for more information as this exciting project progresses.

Further performances and screenings of DD Day produced works have followed in the UK and abroad.

We are very grateful for the support of the following funding bodies so far: Heritage Lottery Fund (2017), Arts Council England (2013, 2014 & 2016), The Granada Foundation (2016), University of Manchester (2016) and Women Make Music funding programme from the PRS for Music Foundation (2013). Project partners include John Rylands Library, University of Manchester, One Education Music, Philtre films, Full of Noises Festival, DWAN (Digital Women’s Archive North) and Band on the Wall.


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Comments On Delia Derbyshire

Delia Derbyshire found music in every sound she heard. From the terrifying thrum of the bombs falling on her home city of Coventry when she was a child, through the endlessly-varying tonalities of the human voice, to the sounds of wild animals and the internal combustion engine.

Mark Ayres

DD Day trustee and BBC Archivist, composer and member of current band The Radiophonic Workshop.

Delia is inspiring because she was making music we would listen to now, but like 50 years ago. And it must have taken her ages as we have computers now

Year 6 pupil

Oswald Road Primary School, Manchester

DD Day has gratefully been awarded funding from:

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