MESS

Theatre for young audiences with complex additional support needs

An ordinary day in the life of a team of cleaners turns extra-ordinary when, for the first time ever, they try to clean a room which has people in it…


MESS is a non-verbal performance. It features character clowning, harmony singing, intensive interaction, sensory engagement, suspense, and surprise.


MESS characters interact with the audience throughout the performance. There are frequent moments of stillness and silence to allow the audience time to process, engage and respond in their own ways. The cast playfully and skillfully facilitate physical, emotional and vocal audience interaction. We celebrate and include any and all responses.


MESS has been adapted for Covid-secure performances in July-August 2021, with support from Creative Scotland.


“I cannot overstate how highly my pupils and staff team would recommend Tenterhooks. I’ve never seen such a phenomenal performance. Blown away today. A stunning experience for our children” Langlands Primary, Glasgow


“Above and beyond other experiences – really special. Enjoyable, well-pitched, stimulating, fun, interesting for pupils and for adults. Great example of intensive interaction, the value of silence and non-verbal communication” Castleview School, Stirling


“Such an uplifting and fun, immersive experience for our pupils (and staff!). This is the first theatre experience that has really and truly met the needs of our pupils with more complex needs.” Carrongrange School, Grangemouth 

MESS Creative Team

Produced by Scottish Theatre Producers

Devisers/performers Ben Winger, Diane Thornton, Suzie Ferguson, Kerry Cleland, Ronan McMahon, Carmen Pieraccini, Lucy McGreal 
Designer/Maker Fergus Dunnet
Composer John Kielty
Outside Eye Anna Newell

Creative Consultants Pupils and Staff at Oaklands School, Edinburgh
Photography by Mihaela Bodlovic 

Filming by Twin City Pictures

MESS-adapted Sound Design Bal Cooke

MESS-adapted Lighting Design James Johnson

MESS 2021 Tour Production Stage Manager Mickey Graham

MESS was originally conceived by Ben Winger and developed in collaboration with pupils and staff at Mavisbank School, Airdrie


Thanks to National Theatre of Scotland, Southside Studios Glasgow, Surge Scotland, Beacon Arts Centre, GTAC, Platform, NEA, Eden Court, Renfrewshire Leisure.

Funded by