Led by an enthusiastic chief caretaker, the team demonstrate their cleaning abilities to the audience with singing and dancing. But one of the caretakers is rebellious and causes a stir by finding a pink rubber glove amongst the yellow ones. This discovery sets off a celebration of mess which delights the rest of the crew but shocks the chief. The mess gets so big that it consumes the chief and transforms them into a multi-coloured messy creature. They are delighted! A carnival begins. Everyone celebrates the fun that unexpected, messy situations can bring.
a bold, playful and emotionally engaging theatre performance. Made for young audiences (age 5-18) with complex additional support needs, and their families.
tells the story of how an ordinary day in the life of a team of caretakers turns unpredictable when, for the first time ever, they attempt to clean a space which has people in it.
features comedy, surprise, celebration and mild peril!
has a running time of 35 minutes
Since 2019 MESS has toured to SEN schools and families’ gardens across Scotland, and to North Edinburgh Arts, Beacon Arts Centre, Macrobert, Platform, Eden Court, and Glasgow International Comedy Festival.
Information for MESS audiences
MESS is a highly sensory, stimulating experience with socially-distanced audience interaction throughout. There are frequent moments of stillness and silence to allow the audience time to process, engage and respond in their own ways. We celebrate and include any and all responses.
Before you arrive
We suggest you listen to the short music clip below. Early in the performance, each audience member will be invited to control the caretakers’ singing by pressing a big mack button which plays this music. If you have a big mack button at home you could record this clip onto your button to listen at home and familiarise yourself with the sound.
We suggest you watch these films which introduce the world of MESS
Shows will begin at the times advertised.
Please feel free to arrive early if you need to get settled, use the bathroom or see the space before the show begins. For outdoor performances, please come prepared for the Scottish weather! We will provide umbrellas if it rains. Please bring your own blankets if you feel it might get cold.
When you arrive
Head for the MESS muster point. There you’ll be greeted by the Chief. He’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.
We want to ensure our audience are safe and comfortable. We will check in with families prior to the performance to learn about specific children’s needs which may affect our interactions with them. Audience members are absolutely free to come and go during the show if they need to. For example, if a young person becomes over-stimulated or unsure.
Press to find out what's inside
The Chief will give each family a bucket of objects. You keep these with you during the performance.
In the bucket you will find:
- A Big Mack button
- A pink rubber glove
- A sponge
During the show
At points during the show our caretakers will invite you to use each object at specific points during the performance. Our caretakers will clearly indicate when it’s time to use them. If you or your child does not want to use the objects, that’s absolutely fine. There is no "right" way to interact with these objects and our caretakers will help you to explore them.
- amplified sound
- lighting effects: mirrors and LEDS. No flashing lights
- harmony singing
- objects for the audience to touch: big mack button, rubber glove, vibrating speaker
After the show
We encourage you to take the pink glove home with you as a memento and a playful opportunity to keep exploring MESS together!
MESS is performed outside and in theatre spaces across Scotland
Performances will be socially distanced with performers maintaining a distance of 2m from the audience.
Shows have a maximum capacity of 3 families. You will be seated together.
Keeping our audiences and creative team safe
Covid safety officer - Mickey Graham
All sites are fully risk assessed. The cast and creative team are socially distanced when not performing. Cast and creative team wear masks when not performing. There is no prop sharing between cast members. Performers have masks ready should an audience member approach them directly. Cast members are temp checked daily and lateral flow checked weekly before indoor performances
MESS Creative Team
MESS was originally conceived by Ben Winger and developed by the creative team in collaboration with pupils and staff at Mavisbank School, Airdrie
Scottish Theatre Producers
Ben Winger, Diane Thornton, Suzie Ferguson, Kerry Cleland, Ronan McMahon, Carmen Pieraccini, Lucy McGreal
The pupils and staff of Oaklands School, Edinburgh
MESS 2021 Tour Production Stage Manager
MESS-adapted Sound Design
MESS-adapted Lighting Design
MESS 2021 Tour photographs by
2019-20 SEN schools tour photographs by
2019-20 SEN schools tour filming by
Twin City Pictures
Covid-secure performances were developed in consultation with families from Mavisbank School, Airdrie; Riverbrae School, Linwood; and Hazelwood School, Glasgow.
Thanks to National Theatre of Scotland, Southside Studios Glasgow, Surge Scotland, Beacon Arts Centre, MacRobert, Platform, NEA, Eden Court, GTAC.