They started at Britain Yearly Meeting in 1978 and have been growing ever since. They run a number of projects, most specifically for young people, some resulting in a performance but most simply seeking to help people express their spirituality through a creative medium. Thanks to this work promoting the personal development of young people, the Leaveners is a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS).
The Leaveners work falls into three areas: Quaker Youth Theatre, Quaker Music Making and Words, Signs & Vibes. Although The Leaveners are one organisation, they often work as individual groups; most of their larger projects involve more than one of these groups and many participants are involved in more than one of the groups.
Quaker Youth Theatre (QYT) is committed to promoting the values of The Leaveners and Quakerism amongst Young Friends, and primarily uses residential workshops and projects to do this. QYT is the longest running project of The Leaveners, and began in 1978 with a street theatre performance at Britain Yearly Meeting. From these roots, they have grown into running week-long projects dedicated to producing a single piece of amateur theatre. Primarily based in Birmingham, they have put on plays in the Crescent Theatre, as well as in meeting houses across Britain.
In addition to annual projects, The Leaveners also offer singing workshops to Quaker Meetings. Although some projects require musical proficiency, they also endeavour to make music accessible to everyone, and thus changed their name to Quaker Music Making, from Quaker Festival Orchestra and Chorus in 1997.
Words, Signs & Vibes (W,S&V) works with deaf, partially hearing and hearing young people, both Quaker and non-Quaker. They run a weekly drama group for young people, and also hold 1 or 2 week-long projects each year, usually during school holidays.
Words, Signs & Vibes separated from the Leaveners in July 2008 and has since become an Independent Voluntary Organisation.