Impossible Audiences: The Oily Cart’s theatre for infants, people with complex learning disabilities and other young audiences who are primarily non-verbal

The reading ‘Impossible Audiences: The oily cart’s theatre for infants, people with complex learning disabilities and other young audiences who are primarily non-verbal’ written by Tim Webb from the book ‘Theatre for Young Audience’, begins to explore how we can make theatre for young audiences who suffer from any form of disabilities. The specific young audiences with disabilities that are mentioned within the reading are: People who can’t hear, people who can’t see and people who become anxious when encountering new people or situations.

Oily Cart Theatre was formed in 1981 in London, this theatre company consisted of Claire de Loon, Max Reinhardt and Tim Webb. Inspired by “Theatre Kit” one of the first company’s in England to take young audiences seriously, Oily Cart Theatre wanted to create performances for children aged three to five.

With the negative pre-conceptions that surround young audiences, such as short intention span, having limited language skills and the ability to sit and watch, theatre companies were deliberately avoiding the young audience.

Taking into consideration the negative pre-conception’s (stated above) Oily Cart Theatre company were successful when performing for the under fives. Devising a piece that used themes, theatrical languages, live music and vocabulary that can be understood from the young children.

The chapter ‘Making theatre, not therapy’ within the reading, discusses the type of theatre that Claire de Loon, Max Reinhardt and Tim Webb produces within their company. Oily Cart Theatre produces theatre and not therapy, generating performances that are audience participatory and suitable for any person with a disability. Performances that allow young children with disabilities to participate and leave the performance with a new sense of self-awareness, self-confidence and self-capability. Not to disregard any help that carers and family offer, but to have the knowledge to be able to look after themselves.Therefore, Oily Cart Theatre tackle everyday situations that can stimulate and evoke a reaction.

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