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Oily Cart

The Founders

Tim Webb MBE - Artistic Director (1981 - 2018)

Tim retired at the end of 2018 as Artistic Director and CEO of Oily Cart, for which he wrote and directed more than 85 productions over 37 years. Most of this time he worked in close collaboration with the company's fabulous co-founders, Claire de Loon and Max Reinhardt. Together, they developed a close-up, interactive and multi-sensory form of theatre, specialising in productions for the very young, and for young people with complex needs, inclusing autism, that has proved influential both in the UK and internationally.

He's still not managed much proper retiring yet. At the end of 2018, he wrote and directed Stranden, a piece for young people with complex needs, for the Swedish National Touring Theatre, and in 2019 he is teaching in the UK, USA, Japan and China.

Max Reinhardt - Music Director (1981 - 2018) 

When they co-founded Oily Cart in 1981, Max (aka Dave Bennett) had already become the musical part of Tim's political Punch and Judy show, and collaborated with Tim and Claire on childrens' projects at Battersea Arts Centre, where he was head of an experimental community education project, facilitating parents and children shared learning experiences. His background: rock bands, songwriting, teaching at all levels from University to nursery; his degree: English Literature. Since then of course - until September 2018 when he and Tim stepped down - Max has been Musical Director of the Oily Cart, composing or co-composing and arranging the music and songs in all the productions, and performing in 34.2971% of the shows.

His freelance relationship with the company allowed the evolution of a varied freelance career: in radio (Late Junction BBC Radio 3, Global Beats BBC World Service); as associate artist with Oxford Contemporary Music (Instant Orchestra projects and Playing the Curriculum, a free music initiative for schools); music event curator, club DJ and member of various musical mutations (Andy Sheppard's Short Cuts, Shrine Synchro System) with Rita Ray; and composer (for Oxford Contemporary Music, Spitalfields Music Festival and BBC Children's TV).

Claire de Loon - Head of Design (1981 - 2016) 

Claire spent the first seven years of her working life as a freelance theatre designer, working mainly in rep. She met Tim Webb while working at the Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow. Her work for young people includes productions for the Unicorn Theatre, Greenwich Young People's Theatre, and Glasgow Citizen's TIE.

Claire has combined her design work with a career spanning thirteen years in arts education. She was Kids Klub Ko-ordinator at Battersea Arts Centre, the founding director of the Tower Hamlets Youth Arts Project, ILEA Advisory Lecturer in Fashion & Design and Art & Design Team Leader for the Hammersmith & Fulham Community Education Service.Claire has designed over 70 Oily shows, as wel las countless education packs, books and posters. She describes her approach to designing these shows in the book: Oily Cart - All sorts of theatre for all sorts of kids.

Claire retired in December 2016. Her last show for Oily Cart was In A Pickle. She is currently working on the digitizing and cataloguing of the Oily video archive.