Four caretakers pose with their cleaning implements in front of a painted grey wall as if they are in a rock band. Three of caretakers are wearing a matching light pink uniform with a grey tabard over the top and they are posed around the ‘Chief’ in the middle of the frame who is wearing a yellow hard hat covered in square mirrors and a poncho made of different coloured rubber gloves - green, pink, yellow and blue. The caretaker on the right is carrying a large yellow traffic cone, to the left of the ‘Chief’ the caretaker is holding a broom with yellow bristles, and to the right of them, the caretaker is presenting a dustpan and brush out to the side. The ‘Mess’ logo is to the left at the top of the page, and the Tenterhooks website is written underneath,

produced by

Scottish Theatre Producers Logo


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


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.


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.

The Chief is standing against the grey painted wall and is wearing a pink t shirt and trousers with a grey tabard over the top. He is pulling a yellow rubber glove onto his hand in front of his body, and his face seems like a mixture of surprise and disgust. Behind him, the other characters’ arms fan out on either side. They are all wearing pink rubber gloves.
Image show the MESS monster. A man covered in pink, yellow, green and blue gloves that make up a coat. He is wearing a disco ball hat and smiling

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.

A girl sitting in a wheelchair has a big mac button on her table, and a pink glove on her hand. She appears to be smiling. Her mum is kneeling beside her and looking in her direction and seems to be laughing. Her sister is standing next to her mum, holding a big yellow sponge, and is smiling.

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

A long white vertical flag is standing up between 2 yellow traffic cones and behind a yellow sign that says, ‘CAUTION! MESS! Please wait here for one of our caretakers’. The flag is decorated with pictures of props from the show - a dustpan and brush, rubber gloves, a litter picker and a duster, all in pink and yellow pastel colours. At the top of the flag it says ‘Oh Yes! It’s MESS’ and at the bottom of the flag, it has

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.


  • non-verbal
  • 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
A close up picture of the ‘Chief’. His head is covered with red, yellow and green jay clothes. He is pulling them away from his face, and he appears to be very upset.

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!

Covid-secure performances


MESS is performed outside and in theatre spaces across Scotland

Social Distancing

Performances will be socially distanced with performers maintaining a distance of 2m from the audience.

Audience bubbles

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


What people are saying about MESS

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

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.

Contact us

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