Many of us with young families have felt the pressure of Covid- related restrictions over recent months. However, spare a thought for families with members with additional needs – those pressures are amplified.

One local group trying to alleviate those pressures is the Doorstep Jamboree travelling band created by theatre group Oily Cart. They have been popping up across Wandsworth reaching out to families with young people labelled as having complex needs who are still shielding because of Covid-19.

Each performance is unique and responsive to the individual family, and those nominated and selected will be able to choose the performance activity based on their needs and preferences.

Jam together Three members of the Jamboree band will improvise outside the young person’s house and before the mini show, the musicians will post a bespoke sensory prop, so the young person and the band can ‘jam’ together through the window or letterbox. Others can opt for a Zoom experience.

Oily Cart put out a call-out for families to be nominated, liaising

“The opportunity for music and noise making along individual interactions from the Jamboree artists and musicians entirely left us feel part of this musical show.”

with Wandsworth Council, SEN schools, and on social media. They were looking for families with a young person who has complex needs (including autism and PMLD), with a particular focus on those who are largely non-verbal and still shielding.

Ellie Griffiths, artistic director of Oily Cart explained, “Our mission 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.”

Uncancellable Programme 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 difficult time.

As Ellie explains, “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.

“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.”

Find out more about Oily Cart’s work


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