Pool Piece was a hydrotherapy pool show that toured special schools in London during June and July 2008 and to special schools around the UK in September and October 2009. In each show two young people and their carers joined Umbrella Man, Bubbles, and Sponge in the water for a series of interactive multi-sensory sessions. Our underwater lighting transformed the pool into a magical environment and live music was played on authentic gamelan instruments at the side of the Pool.
"Watching the children's responses to Pool Piece it is clear that Oily Cart's work is testament to the fact that theatre created with a strong aesthetic and high artistic values can also have tangible other benefits. A silent, unresponsive child suddenly whoops with delight; another movers her eyes to follow both sound and light".
- Lyn Gardner, Guardian Unlimited, July 2008
"The Blues" are played from Memphis to Mali. An intimate show involving original live music, innovative lighting, and interactive video projection, Blue took place within a specially constructed installation, the ‘Blues Shack’. The audience were invited to enter this ‘wonderland’ evoking the sights, sounds and smells of the deep south, and spending some time with Belle, Lightnin’, Champion, Ace, Skip and Big Jack as they awaited the arrival of their train. Blue toured special schools in the UK in summer 2006 and from May to October 2007 including a three-week residency at the Unicorn Theatre, London.
What's interesting about the work is the way it breaks down all the traditional barriers between performer and audience and the rules that cast the actors as active and the audience as passive. The show opens with the children offering up the contents of their own "blues boxes" of precious memories and objects. This is not a theatrical experience that you watch, but one that you all share. Other contemporary theatre-makers should take note."
- Lyn Gardner, Guardian Unlimited, July 2006
Conference of the Birds
Inspired by the 12th century Persian poem, Conference of the Birds took place within an enchanted, nest-like environment. Live music, based on traditional Persian forms, incorporated the young people's names into improvised lyrics as they reclined in gently swaying suspended chairs. The show featured a number of successful innovations, in particular a strand for young people with an additional autistic spectrum disorder and the extensive use of projected video to enhance self-awareness. Conference of the Birds toured from June to October in 2004 and from June to July in 2005.
"Every once in a while one discovers a theatre show so special, so beautifully crafted and so emotionally affecting that one feels simply privileged to have experienced it. Conference of the Birds is such a production.
"I have no embarrassment in saying I was quite moved to tears by the enthusiasm, joy and contentment which is achieved by this most impressive of theatre productions." * * * * * 5 Stars
- Mark Brown, Sunday Herald, June 2004
"A beguiling mixture of art and therapy... It is impossible to know precisely what the children feel; all one can say is that they reacted with visible curiosity to a succession of sensory stimuli. With six performers, [Tim Webb] has created a work that reduces theatre to its simplest ingredients: a story, a message, a succession of physical sensations.
It is all done with tact and charm. As for whether it is theatre or therapy, the point seems academic. It simply reminds one that all art, if it's any good, has a curative aspect." * * * * Four Stars
- Michael Billington, The Guardian July 200
Something in the Air
Originally commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Something in the Air was a collaboration with the aerial theatre company Ockham's Razor. For each show an audience of six young people and six carers were seated in specially created 'nest' chairs and raised into the air to fly in safety and comfort with the Ockham's Razor aerialists. Oily Cart were involved in residencies at three Manchester schools in the run up to the show and there were also six public performances of Something in the Air at the Contact Theatre in Manchester in July 2009. The show then toured to Newbridge School Oldham, Trinity School Dagenham, The Unicorn Theatre London, and Galeri in Wales during April and May 2010.
Something in the Air then toured venues and SEN schools around the UK in Spring 2012 to huge acclaim.
"Their latest piece – created for children with disabilities or autistic-spectrum disorders, and cannily commissioned by the Manchester international festival – is a kinaesthetic adventure for an audience of 12 at a time. Created in collaboration with aerialists Ockham's Razor, it conjures a forest-like setting where the sound of wildlife mingles with eerie music as the cast fly through the air like exotic birds. We watch from flower-covered chairs that rise up into the air, swing, turn and bounce up and down. We feel as if we are flying, too, freed from the restraints of our bodies and gravity itself. The show is truly participatory, unlike so many others in which it seems as if the cast are having more fun than the audience."
- Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, July 2009
Oily Cart toured a version of DRUM which is suitable for very young children with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
The drums in this show were specially made for Oily Cart by Jamie Linwood. Click here to visit his website and see some photographs of the drums being made.
Oily Cart returned to Manchester International Festival for a third time from 27th June - 8th July 2011 with a new commission to create a production for children with profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
With the support of Seven Scent, fragrance creators for PZ Cussons, Oily Cart transformed four Manchester Special Schools into oases of beautiful fragrances and wonderlands of evocative perfumes.
Oily Cart then toured a version of GORGEOUS in Autumn 2011, suitable for young people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder in SEN Primary and Secondary Schools.
The Oily team of all-singing, all-dancing beauticians promenading the UK in order to create a series of stylish transformations.