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creating possibilities for disabled children


The Bamboozle Approach uses a series of behavioural and linguistic strategies which enable children to engage and explore freely, make their own decisions and find their own voice. We use the Bamboozle Approach in the three strands of our work. It informs the way our actors connect with audience members during performances, is key to enabling how parents and their children engage fully with activities during our family residencies and is shared with school staff in our Education programme.

The Bamboozle Approach in action in schools

The impact of applying the Approach has most recently been seen at Lakeside School in Welwyn Garden City where we are privileged to be working on an ongoing culture change project with an extraordinary team of staff and leaders.

The teachers and autism leads at Lakeside say this about the impact of the Approach:

  • ‘All staff are on board. Teaching now reduces anxiety and gives greater chances for child-initiated learning.’
  • ‘The Bamboozle Approach has reduced the number of violent incidents. Some of the battles I had before are now non-existent. Our children are much calmer and happier.’
  • ‘I have loved every minute of the Bamboozle training. It has really given me confidence and confirmed how effective working in this way can be.’
  • ‘I have a better understanding of what “explore” and “interact” actually mean – which helps with target setting and assessment.’
  • ‘I feel liberated and inspired! I have learned so much!’

The Bamboozle Approach in action during performances

Our actors use many of the Approach strategies to connect with individual audience members during our performances. This enables children to:

  • Engage and interact

I have never seen these 2 children so engaged or seen them interact with adults in this way. The children pick up on a different energy in this enabled space, where nothing is expected of them, which allows them to interact and explore in ways I have never seen before.’ Teacher – Oakleigh School.

  • Explore freely and make their own decisions

Children who would not usually independently explore stood up and actively engaged. Vocalisations, words, and phrases were spoken that are rarely heard in the classroom setting. I was overwhelmed by the response from our children’. Josie McGrath, Priory Woods School.

The Bamboozle Approach in action with Families

Our actors and facilitators use the Approach during our family residencies:

  • To create an enabled space where the whole family can be themselves

‘The Bamboozle experience is very special and very important to our family. It’s the only place we have found that we can go as a whole family and be valued and accepted unconditionally. To feel this is a very special, powerful and healing experience for each of us.’ Clare Blakey, parent.

  • To give children space to make their own decisions – find their voice

Amazing! Anesh loves coming, he gets so excited about it, freedom to explore without being restricted. He loves music and most of all being himself, choosing to do things, choosing to be himself‘. Krishna Jadeja – parent.

The Origins of the Approach

In developing the Bamboozle Approach over the past 25 years we have drawn on, and continue to draw on, many influencers and experiences. It builds on over 50 years of classroom and education experience, expertise from the Leicestershire drama advisory service of the 1980s and the study of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It draws on Dorothy Heathcote’s work and embraces current research into how children learn and engage including that of: Carol Dweck, Alfie Kohn and Nancy Kline. And crucially it has benefited from the wisdom of hundreds of artists, parents, teachers and school staff, as well as thousands of children and young people with whom we have worked over the last 25 years.

Two Beliefs

  1. Children, whatever their abilities or disabilities, know more than we might think, and can do more than anyone yet realises.
  2. Removing judgemental praise enables learning; it is therefore our job to create an enabled space in which children can explore the world.

Five Principles

  1. We create an enabled space which is free from interruption, respectful of everyone in it and where people are valued and neither praised nor criticised.
  2. We let go of the need to get a result. This does not mean that we don’t have a desired outcome. We do. It does mean though that we are not driving children’s responses in any particular direction. We are all therefore free to explore together.
  3. We let go of any expectations of what a child can or can’t, will or won’t do. Then we are free to focus on what’s possible.
  4. We give the very highest quality of attention and look for every possible indicator of communication.
  5. We go to where the children are physically and emotionally in order to build rapport, before making invitations to engage.

100+ Strategies which are designed to:

  • Establish an enabled space – a relaxed working environment where individuals are free to engage with activities in their own way, at their own pace and on their own terms.
  • Indicate the importance of clearing time and space to allow anything to happen.
  • Allow us all to trust in instinct and trial new approaches while taking calculated risks.
  • Value each child as an individual.
  • Allow us to be patient – leaving the situation sometimes ten times longer than you feel comfortable with to allow time for a response.
  • Be flexible – careful planning, but the ability to deviate from the agenda on a journey of exploration and discovery.
  • Give us the opportunity to be carefully attuned to children’s responses and the ability to react to this in subtle and gentle ways
  • Ensure that all concerned have fun while working and playing!

How to access training in the Approach

Click here to find out about our training courses. Email nicole@bamboozletheatre.co.uk to discuss tailor made courses for your school.

Bamboozle video

Watch the Approach in action with a commentary explaining the thinking.


Downloads and Resources

Head over to the shop for resources.


Our Shows

Touring inclusive, interactive shows in UK and internationally.



Residencies and training courses.



Creating accessible multi-sensory experiences.


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