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Oily Cart

In a Pickle

An Oily Cart production commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, first performed as part of the World Shakespeare Festival 2012.

This is total theatre experience for children aged 3 to 5, their families and friends inspired by The Winter’s Tale. Our young audience join us on a voyage of discovery through the landscapes of Shakespeare's imagination and the music of his language.

The story begins when the Shepherdess and her flock of sheep have a party to celebrate the sheep shearing. When they come across a lost baby, they have no idea what to do. But surely the children can help. Following clues we will sail the salty sea to the mysterious royal court in search of a happy ending. There are many sensory delights including beautiful costumes, enchanting live music, lovely perfumes and delightful textures along the way.

The music is available to download from CD Baby


Oily Cart really are masters at immersive, original and important theatre-making for young audiences. Not only that, they really cater for the grown-ups too. This story was moving and magical.

Curious Mum 

The show sparkles with the sharpness of its imagination and the clarity of its design, and it is for this reason that watching is a delight for children and adults alike.

A Younger Theatre 

It is a show full of visual, aural and contact experience, as delightful for accompanying adults as for its target audience, but, like all Oily Cart performances, is guided by careful observation of audience members to approach them in a way that is welcome and sensitive to individual responses.

British Theatre Guide

It introduced the children to Shakespeare in such a gentle way and made it all come to life.  I shall definitely be taking the children to see another production by Oily Cart as soon as we can – and I’m so glad we didn’t go to the panto instead!

The Newby Tribe 

Claire de Loon’s set and costume designs are sumptuous, and cleverly weave in Tudor influences

Children's Theatre Reviews 

Another lovely show from the loveliest of companies, one that has remained at the forefront of British theatre for over three decades.

The Guardian ****

This is a lovingly lavish production which could just produce a new generation of Shakespeare lovers.

The Journal

The combination of storytelling, dressing up, dance and puppetry was simple, clever and inventive, the harmonious performance style making it far more than the sum of its parts. In A Pickle is theatre at its playful best: destined to create strong, dreamlike memories of Shakespeare’s landscapes in the young audience - something older fans could love too.

What's on Stage *****

Picture by Gina Print, courtesy of the Royal Shakespeare Company