Sparking off connections

"I do think too that a new stimulus can spark off connections in the brain that hadn’t happened before. It’s like Yeats’s quote, 'education isn’t about filling your bucket it is about lighting your fire,' and what we are doing is adding the petrol. So people will be motivated to experience and they will want more and will look for exciting experiences, stimulating experiences, enjoyable experiences.

"I know that when we work with the people who are classified as with profound and multiple learning deficiencies, there are definitely people in those audiences who can’t hear or can’t see or can neither see or hear and probably have high medical support needs as well. Those in the autism spectrum, that may be only just one of their difficulties; nature has no problems in handing out the punishment. They are so much weighed down those guys by their physiological condition that, you know, life is difficult. With those guys you really have to find a way of showing them things.

"So, though we do plan separate performances for the autistic spectrum and those with learning disabilities, they get mixed up. So what we do is make a very rich offer, like for example that moment in Tube, the video where each child is shown on the screen. Now you may not be able to see yourself on the screen but you can hear your name and feel the presence of the people around and the care they are giving you and actually, if you are deaf-blind, you are still getting the movement of the chair as the chair is dancing to the music and again the physical presence.

"What I try to do if I am directing a show is to ensure that at any one moment, whatever your condition, there is something happening for you. If you have got all your faculties you can immediately relate to the world around you but because we are editing a special kind of reality we think that there is something there.

"That’s why I look at a show in rehearsal and ask “what if you couldn’t see this? What if you couldn’t hear this?” and the musical director does it, and the designer does it with our eyes closed or fingers in our ears. Another thing, if you are prone to anxiety, these funny people could be frightening and how would that be? They may be benign but how would you know?