Bamboozle deliver a range of services for schools including visits from our touring shows and our education and training packages. Packages can range from a one-day INSET session to a year-long culture change project.
The measurable benefits experienced by pupils and staff from our experiences mesh strongly with the government’s engagement model assessment framework. Whether you are with us for a 40 minute performance, or for a series of education workshops, our aim is to create lasting impact for both pupils and staff.
We seek to open up possibilities using our Bamboozle Approach – a thoroughly researched, tried and tested methodology which focuses on meaningful creative engagement and interaction for learning disabled children and young people. The techniques and mindset that we bring can be used in any classroom setting to explore myriad themes in the curriculum.
Whatever the scope of our project, we realise that school budgets are under constant pressure. We’ve spoken to schools who we work with closely to explore the methods used for financing our visits. We’ve shared these below:
We are beyond thrilled to announce that we have received another amazing donation from Taylor Hobson and the Ametek Foundation of £23,615.92!
Our Artistic Director Christopher Davies, along with Bamboozle team members Jade and David, visited the Taylor Hobson office in Thurmaston where they were met by Jain Kirby, Daniel O’Connor and Tracey Allford for a festive cheque presentation.
Christopher commented that “this incredible sum will enable us to do more of our often life-enhancing work with children and young people, along with their families and carers. Our work unlocks the doors to a world where disabled children and young people can find their own voice – a voice which is listened to with care and attention. All of us at Bamboozle are extremely grateful for Taylor Hobson and The Ametek Foundation’s continued generosity – it means a great deal to us and those who we support.
Jade, Bamboozle’s Tours and Gala Producer added; “we’ve received support from Taylor Hobson and the Ametek Group since 2017, and over the past six years, their donations amount to an astonishing £63,701.92. Not only have we received donations, but staff members have also volunteered on our Backyard project which was such a great help. We’re so thrilled that employees at Taylor Hobson have chosen to support us for a number of years – it’s really moving for everyone who feels the benefit of their generosity”.
The donations are raised via the company’s payroll giving scheme, match funding, along with employee bake sales.
Thank you so much Jain, Daniel and Tracey, and everyone who donated.
Your can find out about Payroll Giving – or a Give as You Earn scheme – here on the Charity Aid Foundation’s website: www.cafonline.org.
How do you make an event extra special? With stunning flowers from Whittingtons. We were absolutely thrilled to be supported by the Leicester branch for this year’s Secret Garden Gala dinner.
Each year we choose a different theme for our annual fundraising Gala dinner and charity auction. This year we chose ‘Secret Garden’ because so much of our work has been outdoors, and the impact for our young people being immersed in nature during our creative theatre experiences has been so beneficial for everyone involved. The chance to bring the outdoors inside for this special night was an exciting prospect.
Located at Freeman’s Common, the team at Whittingtons provided us with a selection of their beautiful silk flowers, wisteria trees and leafy archways which helped us to bring this beautiful theme to life.
“When Whittingtons said that they were keen to support the Gala we were absolutely thrilled!” adds Jade Frost, Bamboozle’s Gala Producer. “Their store on Freemans Common – just around the corner for Bamboozle HQ – was a treasure trove of stunning silk flowers, trees, and all manner of event décor. The team at Whittingtons: Louise, Lesley, Charley and all of the customer support team where so generous with their support. We couldn’t have made the event without them. Our guests were stunned by the venue”.
Bamboozle designer Connie Burley chose a gorgeous range of flowers and foliage from Whittingtons’ extensive selection and created a stunning hoop chandelier and wall hangings using trailing foliage, including ivy, ruscus, amaranthus, soft pink, purple and white roses, alongside pops of colour with bright sunflowers.
Connie also designed the table settings featuring golden candelabras, (loaned by Iron Swan), and draped with ivy and wisteria. She also sourced delicate vintage vases and china teacups which nodded to the Edwardian era, alongside glass jars which were upcycled with lace and hessian. The teacups were filled with moss and fresh flowers from Whittingtons to create a sense of gentle garden whimsy. The vases were filled with fresh roses, lisianthus, veronica, gypsophila and carnations. Winstanley House’s drapes were added to with peach lace tie-back and decked with pink and purple roses. Connie also creating hanging lights made from vintage watering cans with fairy light trailing from the spouts.
We couldn’t have been happier with the look that was created for this special event, which raised over £13,500 in support of our free immersive theatre experiences for families in 2024.
Thank you for your support.
April is Autism Acceptance month. Acceptance and understanding is at the heart of everything Bamboozle does.
We believe that children across the whole of the autistic spectrum should have the opportunity to access the best cultural experiences. In 2013, we produced our first autism-specific touring production: Moon Song.
In 2016, we visited Curve Theatre with the show as part of Local Offer Live, sponsored by Remploy. The experience was filmed, and in the 20 minute video below, our Artistic Director Christopher Davies describes key elements of how the show was made, and how we perform the show influenced by Bamboozle’s methodology, seeking to create a fear-free environments in which children participate in their own way and at their own pace.
Since 2013, the show has been on four UK tours to special schools and appeared at Shanghai Children’s Art Centre in 2019.
The show was developed through a series of interactive workshops with children and teachers at Stanton Vale School, Redgate Primary Academy and Yeoman Park Academy. We designed the experience for small groups of up to six pupils, with a team of four performers. Maintaining small audiences enables our team to provide a high level of focussed attention and the opportunity for intensive interaction.
Feedback from our original Moon Song tour:
“It allowed the children to freely explore the environment and allowed them to initiate interaction when they felt ready” Kingsley School.
“The children’s engagement was fabulous to watch. Nothing is wrong in the children’s reactions and you make what they say part of the production” Redgate Primary Academy
“The props and resources enabled students to engage and respond in their own way and allowed them to choose themselves how and it they responded / participated” Ash Lea School
To find out about Bamboozle’s upcoming autism-specific touring shows, visit our Storm show page.
Set design for The River in miniature by Nettie Scriven.
The development of our Spring term touring production The River is well underway.
Artistic Director Christopher Davies leads our team in devising a new multi-sensory experience inspired by rivers. Christopher has long been inspired by these bodies of water – so integral to life – and a source of many multi-sensory possibilities.
The show is being designed by Nettie Scriven, with music and sound by Craig Byrne and puppets created by Sue Pyecroft. Actor musicians Rosie Fox and Neyire Ashworth also joined us for our Research and Development process.
About the show:
Our audience will be taken on a journey from the river’s source in the mountains as it flows downstream. They will encounter the river’s lively residents from an energetic salmon swimming against the current, a stately heron in her nest, a playful otter, dragonflies emerging from under the surface, and perhaps even spot an elusive Kingfisher!
We’ll meet a water goddess who brings mystical otherworldly music to the ferryman at work in his boat. A storyteller weaves together these moments along the rivers’ journey towards the ocean.
We feature an array of textures, from rippling silks to grassy bull rushes. Reflected light and water play at the start of the show conjure up the rivers’ source.
There’s a variety of live music; instruments with tactile vibrations, alongside pre-recorded sound which create layers of atmosphere. Songs and sounds in the show range from evoking a jaunty playfulness on the surface to the strange eeriness of the under-water world.
The River is designed for disabled audiences with complex needs; catering for groups of just 6 children in each 40 minute show, performances offer high levels of focused attention and 1:1 interaction with our team of artists, who tailor each moment for our audience’s individual needs.
Artistic stimulus for the piece includes:
The show’s designer Nettie Scriven, has also found inspiration in the colour palettes of Anish Kapoor to Matisse, and her costume designs have hints of the Pastoral genre. The set design in particular responds to a line from Hughes’ poem The Kingfisher, as the bird darts ‘beyond the water/ Shivering the spine of the river’ (25-26).
About the design:
Nettie’s use of heightened colour in the set and costume adds vibrancy to nature’s more muted tones.
The colour palette of the characters’ costumes – rich blues, salmon reds, and earthy yellows and greens – represent the energies of the elements they are closest to. The costumes also have a timeless feel which nod to our enduring spiritual and physical relationship with rivers.
Here we’ve featured some images of Nettie’s design concepts for the performance space and costumes. There are two distinct areas; the first where our audience will gather together with our characters before travelling through the mountain gateway to follow the river. (The squares represent the spaces for our six audience members, placing them in the heart of the performance).
Rehearsal are the show start in two weeks’ time, where we’ll be welcoming our team of artists, Amy Whittle, Ben Moores, Ravneet Sehra and Naomi Sparrow to bring the show to life before embarking on our 6 week tour to special schools across the country.
Watch this space for more images from the show as it comes together!
For the second year running, we’ve been delighted to appear at Wild Rumpus’ Timber Festival, located in Feanedock, The National Forest, running 1st – 3rd July.
At this year’s festival, the Bamboozle team took two different experiences along to the festival. The first was our Bamboozle Backyard sessions; creative outdoor explorations facilitated by Bamboozle characters, designed for children and young people who are on the autistic spectrum. These sessions are for small groups of up to 6 children and their families.
The second was our large-scale outdoor theatre experience, Firebird. Based on the myths and legends of the Phoenix, Firebird follows the story of a caretaker who discovers a Phoenix’s egg and cares for the hatchling. Throughout the show the hatchling grows from a small feathery chick to a huge sleek creature with a five-metre wingspan, swooping above the audience.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to The National Forest who awarded us £6,673.20 in support of our visit to the festival, as well as supporting community engagement sessions at Forest Way School.
Wild Rumpus – Timber’s organisers – want to make the festival accessible for families with children who have additional needs. They provided complimentary tickets for families registered with Bamboozle to help open up the festival experience to those who may face various challenges to attend.
“We never thought attending a festival like this would be an option to us. It had its challenges, but we overcame them all and came home with so many amazing memories. Thank you so very, very much!”
– Parent from Timber Festival 2022
Thank you Wild Rumpus, Timber Festival and The National Forest for making this experience possible. We hope to be visiting again in 2023!
Photos by Leyla Guler.
We are delighted to announce that Minuteman Press Lutterworth are our confirmed Programme Sponsor for this year’s Gala.
Minuteman Press Lutterworth is a family run printing company, owned by Marie and Scott Doherty, with over 10 years experience in the Print, Marketing and Design industry. Based on Lutterworth High Street, they provide all manner of design, print, marketing and advertising services to the surrounding areas including Leicester, Rugby, Hinckley, Market Harborough, Blaby, Wigston, Enderby and Narborough – as well as further afield.
Marie and Scott have been long term supporters of Bamboozle, and are always ready to help when it comes to getting anything printed!
Business owner Marie tells us “we’re delighted to be sponsoring Bamboozle’s Gala programme this year. We’ve come to know the charity really well. The work they do with families throughout the region is really inspiring, and we’re keen to support Bamboozle in any way we can”.
Thank you Marie and Scott for your fantastic contribution to making our Gala an extra special evening by providing beautiful full colour programmes.
Please visit Minuteman Press’ website to find out more about their service.
In the summer of the first lockdown, Sue Pyecroft, our Director of Production and Design, contacted Paul Howgill, the manager of Rowley Fields Allotment and Gardens, with an idea for a project designed for families who have children on the autistic spectrum. We were looking for a secure wildlife area, or an overgrown allotment plot in which we could run creative outdoor session for families. Paul replied saying that Rowley Fields had just the space – a Wildlife plot! The Wildlife plot was perfect and became the home of Bamboozle’s ‘Backyard’. The plot was secure, had a pond, a cabin and lots of trees.
Over the summer of 2021, The Backyard became a place of relaxation, curiosity and magic for 50 families who booked onto an hour and a half session from May through to August. The families from Leicester and beyond who visited The Backyard were welcomed individually at the allotment gates, and then entered through a willow tunnel – at the end of which they met a potion maker called Glendolin. Another character called McGeorge, was found under an ancient Hawthorn tree, trying to float stones in a tin bath filled with water!
After a welcome song on a picnic blanket, the parents and carers were given a cup of tea and encouraged to relax and put there feet up as the young people explored the site. Some children created magical potions, collecting ingredients with Glendolin. Some children helped McGeorge make a raft out of twigs so that the stones would float. Other children made dens, clay faces, their own songs, or played hide and seek. There was no fixed agenda and because of this the children played and interacted in ways they felt most comfortable. Lydia, mother of Lizzie told us:
“I’m so grateful to you all. It has been amazing to see how quickly Lizzie has relaxed and how much she has talked! Lizzie often doesn’t talk with new people and in new situations, yet here she has chatted happily. Lizzie was allowed to open up her in her own time and was enraptured with the activities. This feels a very happy, magical safe place”.
Vicky Davies who came with her daughter Chloe, said about The Backyard:
“Anxiety ebbs away rapidly, the magic of the location and the wonderful people involved, are a purely ‘magical’ combination. It is also a chance for parents to take a little ‘me’ time while our kids are happy and safe. It’s like walking into a daydream”.
We are so grateful to Paul Howgill, the allotment committee, and the plot holders at the Rowley Fields Allotment and Garden site, who made us feel welcome and helped to make the project happen. We’re also grateful to the funders of the project; we are able to provide these sessions for free thanks to vital investment from Arts Council England: National Lottery Project Grants; BBC Children in Need; The Henry Smith Charity and The National Lottery Community Fund. As well as Bamboozle’s individual, corporate and community supporters.
In an exciting development, Leicester company Taylor Hobson who are supporting Bamboozle as charity of the year 2022 will be leading some renovations to our site at Rowley Fields to enhance the experience for our families on our next round of sessions! Watch this space!
We also wanted to make the experience accessible for families in Nottinghamshire, and were delighted to find a suitable site at Windmill Community Gardens. On the 12th and 13th of April we ran sessions for 8 families, who were also surprised with Easter Eggs kindly sent to us by members of staff at Taylor Hobson. Thank you for a lovely Easter treat!
Our sessions at Windmill Community Gardens were generously supported by Nottinghamshire County Council.
Do keep an eye on our Families & Community page for when we next have Backyard sessions available.
We are delighted to be taking two of our productions overseas again this year. Our productions Storm, and Rain Rain, both designed for children on the autistic spectrum, will be appearing at international children’s festivals this May and June.
Starting with Bibu Festival in Helsingborg, Sweden, our production Storm, inspired by Shakespeare’s Tempest, will be performed on the 19th and 20th of May.
“Bibu is Sweden’s most important meeting place with, for and about professional performing arts for a young audience – an arena where all of us who work with children, young people, performing arts and culture gather every other spring to experience and discuss the important performing arts for children and young people”. www.bibu.se
Find out more about Bibu Festival on their website: www.bibu.se
For our second international appearance, we are taking our production Rain Rain to BRIK Festival, with shows at Theater de Stilte, Breda, on the 9th and 10th of June.
“The biannual BRIK Festival (formerly known as the International Stiltefestival) was
initiated by dance company de Stilte in 2011. It originated from the company’s
desire to share the many beautiful performances encountered on its international
tours with their audience in Breda. Offering children and adults the opportunity
to travel the world of non-verbal theatre in just one week, without having to leave
Find out more about BRIK Festival on their website: www.stiltefestival.com
We are delighted to welcome guests from our corporate community at our Gala this year. Thank you so much for your support – we are looking forward to welcoming you at the event!
“We have heard amazing things about the Bamboozle Gala, and we are thrilled to be able to attend this year! We have been avid supporters of the Bamboozle Theatre company for many years, and they are always at the heart of our fundraising efforts. We are really looking forward to celebrating this wonderful cause with so many of you”.
“We are really looking forward to the Gala. It’s an important event in Bamboozle’s fundraising calendar, and one that the team put a huge effort into organising. There’s always a great atmosphere in the room”. Jim Hartshorne, Bamboozle’s Chair of Trustees and Managing Director for DHL supply chain.
From May Marketing: “May has been an avid supporter of Bamboozle for many years. From day one we’ve been inspired by their creativity and passion – you only need to attend one of their unique performances to see why! Their carefully considered inclusivity makes a positive difference to disabled children and their families, helping many find their voice and ways in which to be heard”.
From Torr Waterfield: “The Gala is the best event of it’s kind that we go to. We’re really pleased that the event can take place this year after two years of postponement. We’re looking forward to attending and supporting Bamboozle’s work.
We are delighted to announce Woodhouse Wines are our confirmed wine sponsor for this year’s Gala.
Woodhouse Wines has been trading for over 30 years, providing a premium service that allows customers to explore and understand the vast range of wines available.
Selecting and offering wines that are ready to drink, Woodhouse Wines give advice and recommendations to customers, tailoring your wine needs for any occasion.
Providing each table at our long-awaited Gala evening with a bottle of Spier Sauvignon Blanc (S. Africa) and a bottle of Bona Vita Merlot (Australia), our guests are in for a treat with thanks to business owner Jonathan Simpkin.
“The opportunities that Bamboozle provides for children and young people are so important. They are a charity which speaks to the heart, and I’m delighted to be able to support the Gala in this way. I wish you all the best for a wonderful event”.
Thank you Jonathan for your fantastic contribution to making our Gala an extra special evening. Please visit Woodhouse Wines website to find out more about their service.
We are delighted to announce that Torr Waterfield are our confirmed Entertainment Sponsor for this year’s Gala.
Torr Waterfield are a dedicated team of accountants and business advisers providing a first class client service. Based in Leicester, they have been established since 2000 and continue to build on their reputation for providing excellent advice and first-class services.
The firm are driven by supporting their local community and regularly take on fundraising challenges in the name of good causes.
They’ve been big supporters of Bamboozle for many years, having taken on the National Three Peaks for us, and attended many of our Gala evenings.
Tom Simpson, Director at Torr Waterfield says: “It’s the best event of it’s kind that we go to, and it’s a pleasure to support the Gala in this way. It’s a magical night, and the entertainment is a huge part of that. The whole team really put on a show”.
This year’s event will be including live music and promenade performances to entertain our guests.
“The Gala is an opportunity for us to enjoy an evening out beyond the office – it’s a wonderful event, and all in the name of a brilliant cause” adds Mike Waterfield, fellow Director at the firm. “We urge you to support the event if you can”.
Thank you, Torr Waterfield – your support makes a huge difference, and we look forward to entertaining you at this year’s event!
We’re thrilled to announce that Bamboozle has won the category of “Charity of the Year” at the Niche Business Awards 2020.
For the past six years, Cross Productions have been running The Niche Business Awards which quickly became one of Leicester’s most prestigious events of its kind. On Friday 22nd January, the rescheduled ceremony was hosted virtually for the first time due to the impact of COVID-19. Finalists were able to watch from the comfort of their homes as BBC sports presenter Ian Stringer compered the glittering event via Zoom.
Christopher Davies, Bamboozle’s Artistic Director, and Natasha Davies, Bamboozle’s Business Liaison Officer attended the virtual event.
“We’re honoured to receive such recognition from Leicester’s business community” comments Christopher. “It’s been an unprecedentedly difficult year. Our sector has been devastated by the pandemic, and our team have been working tremendously hard since the summer to adapt and deliver the best experiences we can for our service users in the circumstances. Winning the category of Leicestershire Charity of the Year is a real boost for everyone involved in our organisation”.
The category of Charity of the Year was sponsored by Morningside Pharmaceuticals, and finalists were evaluated on four areas: financial performance, personal qualities, managerial skills, and contribution to Leicestershire’s development.
This year’s panel of eight judges represented a wealth of expertise and experience from across Leicester’s top-performing companies: Ian Borley, Partner at KPMG, Scott Charlish, Chartered Financial Planner at Brewin Dolphin, Amanda Gray, Managing Director at PPL PRS Ltd, Sam Hagger, Co-founder and Director at The Beautiful Pubs Collective, Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, Chief Executive at Morningside Pharmaceuticals, Allison Tripney, Head of Community at Leicester City in the Community, Glynis Wright, Head of Family law at Nelsons, Leicester, and Jigna Varu, CCO at Micro-Fresh.
“We’d like to thank the panel for their support – it must have been a difficult decision to make between such worthy finalists” adds Natasha. “Niche Magazine and Cross Productions have been a great supporter over the years; 2020 is our third year of being nominated and we couldn’t be happier to receive the winner’s title in what has been, and continues to be a difficult year”.
Fellow finalists included Focus; a charity who have been inspiring young people, aged 13- 25 years, to make positive changes in their lives and in their communities for over 30 years, and Leicester Children’s Holidays, a charity who (since 1898!) have provided free respite breaks for children aged 8 to 11 who face difficult circumstances at home. Both organisations make a huge different to the community.
We’d like to thank you everyone who is involved in making Bamboozle the organisation it is; from our talented freelance artists and technicians to our core office team. Our success in providing meaningful opportunities for learning disabled children to experience the world through multi-sensory theatre, along with their families, carers and teachers, is a result of your dedication and commitment.