What is 7Sense Theatre?

7Sense is unique theatre designed specifically for audiences with profound, multiple and complex learning disabilities. Engaging all seven senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, vestibular and proprioception – participants are invited to immerse themselves in a creative experience, and find meaning within it, in their own unique sensory way. 

The Structure

Performers deliver carefully crafted, multi-sensory theatre with the aim of their audience growing from passive to active participants. The predictable nature of the piece of theatre offers opportunity for natural responses and is a safe environment in which to grow in confidence, self-expression and creativity.

Our experienced actor/musicians offer a personalised experience for each participant, allowing audience responses to affect the shape, pace, tone and mood.

The impact is seen in the repetition.

The empowerment comes from the familiarity.

The joy is in revisiting.

The Backstory to our 7Sense Immersive Theatre

One of our founding practitioners, Karen, developed this sensory form of theatre in 2015 at the SEN school in which she was teaching, for students with profound and multiple learning difficulties and profound autistic spectrum disorder. Inspired by a training week with Oily Cart theatre company, her weekly “school budget” version of their unique, sensory experience-based theatre practice had a significantly positive impact on the young people in her school with the most complex needs. Since then, encouraged by leading a successful year-long joint project between Berkshire SEN Schools – Addington and Brookfields – all three Make/Sense founding practitioners, Ellie, Jane, and Karen, have developed a passion and expertise for this work.

During the 7Sense Immersive Theatre session, students participate in different sensory experiences which fit into the narrative of a simple story. At the beginning of the new term’s piece R rejected many or all of the sensory experiences by pushing them away. After repeating the session several times in order to prime R for sensory experience to encourage maximum engagement, he engaged with different aspects of the drama session. He lifted his head to engage with scents and light stimuli, to look for the guitar on hearing the sound of it moving closer to him, as well as pressing the switch when prompted during the session. Anticipation and exploration are some of the Key Areas of the new Engagement Model, using 7Sense to measure the students engagement will be an exciting opportunity for all students!

A Gomez

Complex Needs Lead, Brookfields School