Faced with a future of not being able to show work in venues, Oily Cart have devised new ways to connect with their audiences with an ‘Uncancellable Programme’ until 2022, launching with Doorstep Jamboree.
The Doorstep Jamboree travelling band will be popping up across London this September on the doorsteps of families with young people labelled as having complex needs who are still shielding.
The band will play Balkan-inspired tunes from Oily Cart’s sensory gig Jamboree. A colourful and joyful celebration of resilience, the tour is also a protest and advocacy tool to make sure those shielding are not invisible at this time.
Each performance will be unique and responsive to the individual family. Families who have been nominated and selected will be able to choose from a menu of performance activities based on their needs and preferences.
Activities include a personalised zoom performance with a song dedicated to the young person. This is recorded and added to an album of songs from Jamboree that the family will be sent afterwards.
Alternatively, the young person can select their favourite musician from the band to improvise outside their house for an hour. On arrival the musician will post bespoke sensory props through the letterbox, so they can jam together through the window or letterbox.
There is also the option for the full band to visit the family in their colourful Jamboree van, getting the whole street involved with a colourful parade and doorstep party. This will be designed to connect the local neighbourhood and make sure the shielding family are visible and an active part of the community.
Doorstep Jamboree is the first project in Oily Cart’s ‘Uncancellable Programme’, developed in response to the global health crisis. Over the next 18 months, the company will take work online, into homes and onto the streets to ensure they are serving their community throughout this difficulty time.
Doorstep Jamboree will take place at five homes in Oily Cart’s home borough Wandsworth and five more throughout London. There will be a ‘pop-up’ version that will visit the Richard House Children’s Hospice as well as children’s outdoor play centres and residential schools.
As part of this tour, Oily Cart will be releasing the Jamboree Album. This will feature tunes that were co-created with young musicians who are non-verbal and labelled as having complex needs through a research process which placed the Jamboree band in specialist schools around the country.
The album has been created for everyone, enabling young people who are non-verbal to be listened to even if they are not being seen out in public spaces.
Robyn Steward who is part of the Jamboree band and disabled activist said:
“Many kids around the UK have not been able to go out at all, this group of children have really high support needs but are still human and have positive qualities, but when you don’t see people it’s easy to forget about them. It’s also vital that children who are not able to speak are listened to through their own means of communication, which can be subtle. Jamboree was inspired by the ideas the kids gave us which we would have never come up with by ourselves. There’s a whole population of young people and adults who are not able to speak and who are having to shield, but they deserve to be listened to its not so easy for them to communicate so we have a responsibility to listen.”
Oily Cart’s Uncancellable Programme also includes a BBC Proms at Home collaboration, creating engaging and fully accessible online content that families can use at home which is connected to the classical music performances.
A sensory art film for neurodivergent young people is being made in lockdown, in collaboration with two artists who have experienced long term isolation through disability. The company is also developing ‘Space to Be’, an ‘at home’ project which combines sensory objects delivered to young people’s homes throughout the UK, with a supporting online component. The activity will develop over a week as a ‘slow performance’, with a focus on the wellbeing for the young person and their adult.
Ellie Griffiths Artistic Director of Oily Cart said:
“Based on many conversations with D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists and families who are still shielding, we have developed a unique artistic programme in response to the unprecedented situation of Covid-19. Although this context throws up new challenges, requiring new ways of working, Oily Cart is used to ripping up the rule book of traditional theatre to take it to places it has never been. Our mission now is to amplify voices of young people who are non-verbal, so they become a part of the conversation as the ‘new normal’ is being built.
This new programme is pushing us into exciting new creative territory and crucially, the quality of our work will not be compromised. On this tour, we will make as much noise as possible to ensure the young people and families are being heard at this time in their communities and on a national level. Shielding should not affect anyone’s right to creativity, their right to connection and their right to play.”
Thea McMillan, parent to young artist Greta McMillan, who has been shielding over the last few months said: “The fear and worry has been at times overwhelming, and we are people who are used to some very difficult situations and decisions. We know that this has been a really hard time for everyone, but I think it is still crucial to share experiences of families who are shielding, as this will hopefully help us as a society to keep them involved, included, empowered, even though circumstances may remain uncertain for them.”
Doorstep Jamboree and the accompanying album is proudly part of the We Shall Not Be Removed campaign. This is an alliance of the UKs disabled artists and disabled-led companies, coming together to campaign for an inclusive cultural recovery. #WeShallNotBeRemoved