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Oily Cart collaborates with autistic young people

Published: 20 May 2022
Reporter: Vera Liber

Sound Symphony by Ellie Griffiths Credit: Brian Hartley

Sound Symphony, a co-production between Oily Cart and Independent Arts Projects, is a stage and online show resulting from collaborations between musicians and autistic young people, inspired by different ways of relating to sound and music. The Sound Symphony interactive web site launched on 22 March.

The show was originally created by Oily Cart’s artistic director Ellie Griffiths for a tour that began in Scotland in 2021 but was halted by the pandemic.

Sound Symphony is set in the world of a stuffy concert hall, where a group of classical musicians are set to perform a symphony. One of the musicians becomes inspired and distracted and begins to deviate from the score, playing with textures and sounds around them, inviting the audience to become complicit in their rebellion.

Griffiths said, “I was inspired to create this show after my friend Joe, a jazz musician and researcher, spoke about a synergy he felt when making music for sensory shows for autistic young people.

"Often the work created for autistic young people is simplified children’s tunes with lyrics, so we spoke about how interesting it would be to get a group of experimental musicians to do a residency with and collaborate musically with autistic young people.

"Sound Symphony has all of the improvisation, close-up work and real communication with its audience that Oily Cart is so well known for. It works on a level that all of us can enjoy, stripping back to what is human, what is felt. It is also an immersive, beautiful, anarchic world led by the audience in a very intimate way of working that often leads to powerful theatrical moments.”

Oily Cart is celebrating its 40th year of creating sensory theatre for and with disabled and non-disabled children and their families.

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  • Sound Symphony - Ellie Griffiths (Oily Cart and Independent Arts Projects)