The Create Lab

Our work with special schools to explore the creativity of young people with learning disabilities.

Create Lab is where all our work starts.

We work in special schools and SEN units, using nonverbal physical theatre to explore young people’s creativity. We work with the same young people over months, sometimes years, leading to positive impact on learning outcomes, capacity to learn, confidence and sense of self, and the roles they can play in the world.

Nonverbal Physical Theatre involves play, simple props, music and movement. It’s a highly adaptive and individual process, and we work with a small pool of specially trained facilitators. You can read more about our methodology here.

In Schools / Residencies

Every school we work with is different, because every child we work with is different. Where possible we work with schools over several years, through residencies where an Open Theatre practitioner is based in the school for one or more days a week. We’re always open to conversations with new schools, and to smaller-scale or one-off projects for us to learn more about each other.

Open Theatre is proud to be working in partnership with schools starting their Artsmark Award journey. By supporting Artsmark settings, we’re helping put the arts at the heart of education, inspiring young people to create, experience and participate in high quality arts and culture.

Find out more about Artsmark at

To find out how Open Theatre can support your Artsmark journey, contact Mel

Working with Richard Hayhow has helped us develop the non-verbal communication and social skills of all our children in an entirely new, imaginative and fulfilling way. It has not only enhanced our practice but has given the children an opportunity to develop in a relaxed, non-threatening and creative atmosphere.

Lead Teacher, The Pines School

Outside & After Schools / Enrichment Projects

We run a number of enrichment projects for young people who want to invest more of their spare time in exploring their creativity:

  • Drama clubs set up as after-school activities on school premises
  • After-school drama sessions at the mac for young people and their families, every Wednesday 5-6pm. Email for details.
  • A programme of summer holidays drama activities at The REP for two age groups – 8-11 and 12-15

For young people showing real enthusiasm and passion for the arts, in school or during enrichment projects, we encourage taking part in our Talent Lab projects, which include opportunities to perform at the REP and the Hippodrome, as well as to take the lead on their own creative projects.

If you would like to find out more about us or the programmes we run, get in touch, or better still…