Oily Cart creates theatre for children and young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties across the UK.
Since 1981 Oily Cart has taken its unique form of theatre to children and young people in schools and venues across the UK. Challenging accepted definitions of theatre and audience, they create innovative, multi-sensory and highly interactive productions for the very young and for young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.
For the last 20 years they have occupied a Grade 2 listed annexe to a school in South London where they have rehearsal space, administrative offices, creative studios and workshops.
Our brief was to re-organise their modest building to meet their functional needs whilst improving accessibility, efficiency, and identity.
“The completion of the building marks a landmark moment in our history and we’re very proud of our beautiful new building.”
The Big Idea
We have worked closely with Oily Cart since 2002 to develop a sustainable building that will serve the organisation into the future. During this time we have acted as both architect and advocate for the work that they do, supporting them with fundraising and awareness building.
Within a modest budget we have helped structure a transformation of their building that offers a variety of flexible and versatile spaces for the inception, production and rehearsal of their special form of theatre.
A new ‘golden lift’ has been installed to deliver step free access to the first floor, a mezzanine ‘treehouse’ offers 50% more office floor space, newly serviced clean and dirty workshops have been rationalised to offer improved working environments and services consolidated to liberate space and improve efficiencies.
The Small Detail
Nothing pleases us more than a building that meets the needs of our client, and one that is instantly embraced and put to good use. At Oily Cart space is utilised in many ways – often unexpected and certainly not anticipated. The mezzanine ‘tree house’ has been used as a changing room and make up studio, photographic studio and meeting room. The studio workshop is easy to transform to enable the users to make large props, costumes and scenery. Almost as soon as our client moved back in the building they made a hole in the ceiling creating a fixing for an aerial acrobat! The building can accommodate these various uses with dignity and ease. We have created something fitting and purposeful for Oily Cart but also one that is adaptable and versatile, sustainable and long lasting – hopefully meeting the needs of their organisation for a long time to come.
The below model was made to support the client’s fundraising efforts, and went on to be selected for the Architecture Room at the Royal Academy 2010 Summer Exhibition.