For Immediate Release
Oily Cart & National Theatre Wales present Splish Splash
Written & directed by Tim Webb
Designed by Jens Cole
Music direction by Max Reinhardt
Music composed by Max Reinhardt and arranged by George Panda
Watery Wonderland Awakens the Senses
Oily Cart is delighted to announce its swimmingly special new show – Splish Splash. Staged entirely in and under water, this brand new and immersive production is an Oily Cart & National Theatre Wales co-production, commissioned as part of NTW’s NHS70 Festival, a month long celebration of 70 years of the NHS.
This watery wonderland will tour hydrotherapy pools in NHS hospitals, hospices and special schools across Wales in July, playing to an audience of just 2 young people and their carers in each performance, and featuring a buoyant cast of 4 actors and a musician playing live on floating instruments.
Splish Splash is a unique theatrical experience devised by Oily Cart – the internationally acclaimed children’s and young people’s theatre company who, for over 36 years, has pioneered and remains at the forefront of work for very young children and young people with complex disabilities
Staged in hydrotherapy pools transformed into floating fantasy lands by underwater lighting, clouds of bubbles and curtains of spray, Splish Splash comes complete with an original script and score that can be felt as much as heard, transporting participants into a magical space.
On 5 July 1948, one of the biggest ideas ever to come out of Wales was born. The brainchild of Ebbw Vale MP and the UK’s Health Minister Aneurin “Nye” Bevan, the National Health Service was a revolutionary idea, formed along with the Welfare State during Britain’s austere post-war period, and under the principle of collective responsibility. National Theatre Wales will celebrate the NHS’s 70th birthday in July 2018 with a month-long festival, inspired by some of the founders, staff and patients of this unique institution. This countrywide tribute to the NHS will feature seven multi-platform productions and events, made and performed live across the country and online: Oily Cart’s Splish Splash is one such production.
In true Oily Cart tradition, where all kinds of shows are created for all kinds of kids, Splish Splash comes in three versions: one for those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, another for those on the autism spectrum, and a third for the deafblind. Each show is tailored specifically to the needs of its audience who – as active participants – fully determine the course of their watery and holistic journey, where every sense is ignited and delighted.
Splish Splash also marks the final creation by company co-founders Tim Webb and Max Reinhardt, who stand down later this year – after 36 years at the helm and 87 productions together – to make way for new creative leadership. Head of Design, Claire de Loon, the third and final cog in the original Oily Cart wheel, stepped down in 2016. Part of their legacy is this new strand of work for deafblind audiences, and Splish Splash is the company’s second show with a version tailored to this audience. The first, Kubla Khan, debuted to great acclaim last year and will tour once again this spring and summer to special schools across the UK.
Tim has written & directed Splish Splash, with music direction by Max who has also composed the music, arranged by virtuoso percussionist George Panda. George will perform live at each show from the water with a specially constructed marimba (aka marineba!), on calabash bass drums and on Tibetan singing bowls – all of which will float. These specially commissioned instruments have been designed and made by Jamie Linwood. The show is designed by Oily Cart stalwart Jens Cole.
Splish Splash opens in Wales in early July. It will then tour across NHS pools, hospices and special schools in Wales throughout the month before embarking on a UK tour in September and October.
Artistic Director Tim Webb says:
“What can theatre bring to the beauties of the hydropool? For the most part the pools, whether in schools or hospitals, are used in a straight-forward, therapeutic way, with physiotherapists relying on the support of the water to exercise limbs in different ways. But at Oily Cart we believe that the pools and their surroundings can be transformed into magical spaces where every sense is delighted, and in which we can create close-up performances that will engage young people, transcending the barriers that stand between them and others and the world around.”
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