a classroom theatre performance for young people with complex learning needs
is about turning an ordinary daily routine into an extraordinary adventure
features harmony singing, intensive interaction, character clowning, suspense, and surprise!
lasts 35 - 40 minutes
MESS characters interact with the audience throughout the performance. There will be frequent moments of stillness and silence to allow the audience time to process, engage and respond in their own ways. Adults in the room can support the performance by also being quiet during these moments. The MESS cast will facilitate audience interaction and can work hand-over-hand with the pupils as appropriate. We will celebrate and include any and all responses! We welcome staff to sit back, relax and enjoy!
Safety and comfort
We want to ensure all the pupils are safe and comfortable. We will check in with staff prior to the performance to learn about specific children’s needs which may affect our interactions with them. If ambulant pupils are moving around the space during the performance, we ask that a staff member stays with them. If a pupil feels particularly unsettled and needs to leave the room, we suggest they are given the opportunity to return later in the show to try the experience again.
You are welcome to take photographs during MESS. We ask that you please refrain from moving around the room to take photos so that we can ensure as much as possible that the children’s focus is on the performance. Filming is not permitted during the performance. We’d love you to share photos with us if that’s appropriate for your class. You can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and via our social media @tenterhookstheatre (Instagram), @TenterhooksHQ (Twitter) and #messtheshow
MESS is performed in your classroom, with the cast moving amongst the audience
We suggest pupils are seated in a circle, leaving a large space in the centre
Staff can be seated between or slightly behind pupils
Please leave space to allow performers to move beside and between pupils
Contact us at
Devised and performed by
Ben Winger (Lead Artist), Carmen Pieraccini, Diane Thornton, Kerry Cleland, Ronan McMahon, Suzie Ferguson
The pupils and staff of Oaklands School
In collaboration with the pupils and staff of Mavisbank school