Project information


Paint is a performance that will tour to special schools for young people with disabilities and sensory impairments. A young person enters and leaves a trace in the space using paint. A performer and musician interact with the young person encouraging self expression and communication.

March 2013 - July 2015

Charity information

Interplay Theatre Trust

Interplay Theatre Trust logo
  • Need


    Young people with profound sensory disabilities experience barriers to enjoying and experiencing the arts due to their disability. Interplay want to remove these barriers and provide an excellent arts experience for these young people. The long term goal is to pave the way for new responsive communication technology to aide young people, using the arts as a tool of exploration.


    Paint is an intimate, improvised show targeted at young people with profound sensory disabilities. Set inside an inflatable dome and using paint as a material of expression one young person enters the space and interacts one to one with a musician and performer. The movements, ‘like signals’, facial and vocal expressions of the young person are all interpreted throughout the performance, leading to a very intimate and special interaction between the young person and performer.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Break down barriers of communication experienced by young people with profound disabilities.


    » Tour our sensory production Paint to special schools around the country.

    Filming the performance, tracking like signals and responses of the young person, as well as recording feedback and responses from the staff and carers at schools.

    Aim 2

    Carry out research into new digital communication technology to aid young people with disabilities


    » A robust evaluation and research period in partnership with Andrew Curran, paediatrician at Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool and a lead digital partner.

    The creation of an immersive environment where creativity can be expressed and the effects on students with disabilities can be investigated.

    Aim 3

    Enable more young people with profound disabilities to access the show.


    » Fundraising campaign around the activity, involving stakeholders aiming to attract corporate partners and individual donors.

    Touring the show to over 600 young people in special schools around the country, and involving three of our partner schools in the research and development period.

  • Impact


    The Paint show will bring about increased understanding of communication needs of young people with profound disabilities. The project will pave the way for increased research and responsive innovations in communication technology for these young people.


    The show is very expensive for schools, due to the intimate nature of the production. One young person can enter the space at a time, and the interaction can last anywhere between 20 and 45 minutes. This is a barrier for schools as they wish for all of their students to be exposed to the work.


    We will keep donors informed of our progress with quarterly updates, containing formative feedback from artists, schools and students where possible. Donors will be invited to a special preview of the work at our premises in Armley, Leeds before the tour in Spring 2013.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £115,745

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      Amount Heading Description
      £18,475 R&D Period Year 1. Fees for the creative team, set, equipment and materials and travel to partner schools
      £33,460 National tour Year 2. Tour costs, offsetting the costs for schools
      £63,810 Digital development Year 3. 3 month R&D period. Working with lead partners and touring the digital version to schools
  • Background


    Interplay is based in West Leeds, and tours our work nationally to special schools. In year 1 the initial research and development period will be based here at Interplay, and work with Fairfield School (Batley, West Yorkshire), Hadrian School (Newcastle) and Priory Woods School (Middlesborough) before embarking on a national tour in 2013.


    The primary beneficiaries will be children and young people with profound multiple disabilities and sensory impairments.
    Secondary beneficiaries will be staff at the special schools and parents/carers, who will be involved in the evaluation phase and key to the success of the project.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Interplay has been creating multi-sensory work for children with profound disabilities for many years. We have a wide network of schools we work with around the country and continue to direct our theatre shows across the five senses.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Steve Byrne

    Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Interplay. Steve will direct the performance.

    Dr Andrew Curran

    Leading neuorologist at Alder Hey Hospital. Andrew was our lead consultant on our initial research in to the research project.


Will pay for one school to access the show proved that some of the pupils can be touched at a level which brings them to reactions that are so rare in their everyday repertoire

Evelyn Hirst, Teacher, Fairfield School