Spare Tyre has been a pioneering theatre organisation for 40 years. ST40 acknowledges our achievements and reflects on how the participatory arts movement has responded to pivotal social and political moments through history.

The archive you hold is a valuable resource in helping us all reflect on the extraordinary transformation of Britain since the 1970s, as well as being a key piece of the jigsaw that is contemporary theatre history

François Matarasso

The Spare Tyre archive can be found at the V&A Theatre and Performance Collection*. On this page you can explore our interactive timeline, read about our journey, watch and listen to a selection of 41 interviews, and visit our Moving Portraits gallery.

The participatory arts movement is linked to the feminist movement, the disability rights and equality movements, the empowerment of older people, and the LGBTQ+ movement - Spare Tyre has been at the forefront of these debates, and so our history provides a unique perspective of their evolution. 

ST40 provided an opportunity for us to speak with our peers; we produced 41 interviews providing a valuable insight into the development of the participatory arts movement and Spare Tyre's role within it. It also allowed us time to reflect on our 40 years of ground-breaking theatre; explore the interactive timeline to learn about how our work has evolved and what influenced us to delve into new territory.

If you are interested in arranging a presentation of ST40 resources for your university or college course or module, please contact or call 020 8692 4446 (ext.273)

ST40 is dedicated to everyone who has been part of the Spare Tyre journey

*Please note that the Spare Tyre archive will be closed to visitors while the V&A is working on their exciting plans to transform how you can access, explore and experience their world-class collections of art, design and performance through their V&A East project. To prepare for this major move, they will be temporarily closing the Theatre and Performance Reading Room at Blythe House on 18th December 2020 before re-opening in their new home in Stratford, East London in Spring/Summer 2023. 

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Funding raised by The National Lottery
  • History book

    Explore our interactive timeline to uncover 40 years of powerful theatre, learn about the wider social and political events that influenced the participatory arts movement, watch and listen to clips of songs and videos from our archive, and read about the Spare Tyre journey.

  • Interviews

    These interviews provide a valuable insight into the development of the participatory arts movement, and Spare Tyre's role within it.

    Full-length interviews can be found by visiting our archive at the V&A Theatre & Performance Collections, and shorter versions can be seen and heard here.

  • Moving portraits

    Identity and self-expression have always been prominent themes in our work. Moving Portraits was a series of workshops we held nationwide in 2017 in collaboration with our peer organisations; providing an opportunity for learning disabled people to explore the idea of representation and control how they are seen by others.