Links with other Charities

Oily Cart

Work made specifically for PMLD children is disappointingly rare. But there are companies and artists who specialize. Frozen Light and Bamboozle in England and Replay in Northern Ireland are some of the better known. What connects these companies, is not just the fact that what they do is shaped by the needs of this very particular audience, but by the influence of three extraordinary people, whose 35 years of experience in this sector has made them world leaders in this field. Tim Webb, Claire De Loon and Max Reinhardt are the founder members of the Oily Cart theatre company. Their exceptional arts practice, has evolved over what must be one of the longest examples of collaboration in the theatre world. Each has their own discipline. Tim is the writer, director and dramaturg, Claire the designer and creator of their multi-sensory aesthetic. Leaving Max to create the music, for this most interdisciplinary work, where music is theatre and theatre is music. Oily Cart are supporters of the Margot Florence Foundation and they are keen to help us realise our ambitions.

Tim describes their work as making theatre for ‘impossible audiences’. Whether babies, autistic children or those like Margot, with profound and complex needs, the Oily Cart audiences have required very specific approaches and working methods. They have blazed this trail and as mentioned in the video it was my desire for Margot to experience their work that led me to instigate the first of the artist’s residencies that took place at Ashford’s Wyvern school. This year will see residency number 4 and so far 62 artists from all over the world have been trained to work in this way.

Since 1981 Oily Cart has been taking its unique blend of theatre to children and young people in schools and venues across the UK. Challenging accepted definitions of theatre and audience, we create innovative, multi-sensory and highly interactive productions for the very young and for young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.

By transforming everyday environments into colourful, tactile ‘wonderlands’ we invite our audience to join us in a world of the imagination. Using hydro-therapy pools and trampolines, aromatherapy, video projection, and puppetry together with a vast array of multi-sensory techniques, we create original and highly specialised theatre for our young audiences.

All sorts of shows for all sorts of kids!


Our impact

Oily Cart is committed to producing quality theatre for two audiences who are often neglected in terms of cultural activity: the very young and young people with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) and/or an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC). We rely on the generous support of individuals, businesses and trusts to maintain our work. Your support will help us make a positive difference to the lives of these young people and their families.

Oily Cart tours each year to special schools and venues across the UK and internationally. Our productions play to over 7000 children and young people each year.


Oily Cart considers this work to be of great importance because it aims to:

  • make a positive difference to the lives of young people and their families, who are often excluded from cultural activities because of the barriers they face through disability.
  • encourage participation in and enjoyment of cultural activity for the very young and young people with severe learning disabilities, aged 3–19.
  • provide shared social experiences where families can participate together.
  • respond to significant demand from special school and family audiences where there is a serious gap in cultural provision for these audiences.
  • raise the public and cultural profile of these audiences and the importance of cultural provision for them.
  • place the young person with a disability as the reason for and the central focus of the work.

Complex Disabilities

Oily Cart creates theatre for young people with complex disabilities (Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities or an Autistic Spectrum Condition). This highly acclaimed work often utilises unusual settings such as hydro-therapy pools and trampolines and incorporates a vast array of multi-sensory techniques including water and bubbles, paper fans, perfume sprays and ultra-violet lighting.

Our performers are trained to respond sensitively to each individual's reaction and to tailor each sensory experience to the young person with whom they are working. Each participant will have a unique experience, precisely reflecting his or her interests and ways of communication.