for Arts
& Culture
Theatre | Norwich

Frozen Light TheatreThe Isle of Brimsker

Frozen Light is a theatre company creating multi-sensory theatre for audiences with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).

The Isle of Brimsker was their 2018-19 production about a lighthouse keeper, exploring themes of friendship, transition and how we respond to change.

Frozen Light Theatre

Frozen Light Theatre © JMA Photography

Target Beneficiaries

The target beneficiaries for this show were young adults and adults with PMLD, audiences that don’t usually access theatre in mainstream arts venues.

Beneficiaries were targeted by partner venues on the UK tour and audience development was supported by Frozen Light. The performances were attended by groups from school and college, residential care homes, day centres, and individuals accompanied by family members/support workers

Frozen Light are committed to overcoming attitudes and barriers imposed by society on people with PMLD. Through their work, they aim to raise expectations and improve the quality of life outcomes of people with PMLD.

The evaluation analysis used the ‘PMLD Standards’ (a published set of quality standards) as a framework. It comprises two sets of standards, the first focusing on the individual from a holistic, quality of life view; and the second, focusing on those providing services.


Unlike other theatre companies creating theatre for PMLD audiences (primarily targeting younger audiences) who take performances to specialist school/college settings, Frozen Light take their performances to mainstream arts venues, bringing these audiences into their local communities.

The following elements were incorporated into the show to achieve its outcomes:

  • reciprocal, two-way interaction with opportunities for people with PMLD to initiate and lead the direction and pace of travel of their interactions
  • clearly structured storyline with cues (e.g. changes in lighting, music speeds etc) to convey information to audience members
  • using sensory props, some concentrating on a single sense, others combined senses
  • performers checked with carers the most appropriate way to interact with audience (e.g. touching hands, stroking face etc)
  • using sign and visual communication
  • enabling individual responses to the show (e.g. moving around)
  • 1 to 1 attention and slow transitions
  • constant review (after each show) and improvements made by performers and team members
  • building layers of theatrical experiences (e.g. music, physical & sensory experiences) offering a variety of levels of access for audience members to engage in the most appropriate way for them
  • offering written guidance and face-to-face briefings for every venue and all personnel on the needs and access issues of people with PMLD
  • providing pre-show information for audience members (sent out with tickets)


The show was toured across the UK, in 53 arts or theatre venues, with 222 performances.

Isle of Brimsker Audience Feedback






There was overwhelmingly positive feedback from audiences and stakeholders. There were clear demonstrations from the audience of new responses witnessed, unexpected levels of concentration and perseveration often never seen in these adults before.

There was strong evidence to endorse achievement against each of the six Standards for Individuals and many examples of exemplary practice by the Frozen Light team in supporting and empowering people with PMLD.

There were demonstrated opportunities for improvement against the Standards for Organisations for many of the venues hosting the performances from making spaces more accessible, to staff training and inductions, and more inclusive programming.

Frozen Light is currently working on a new production Fire Songs, an immersive sensory sound experience for audiences with PMLD, performed in collaboration with a local choir.

Evaluation report


Luke just came alive when the music started


I thoroughly enjoyed seeing my son included, taking part and experiencing something he wouldn’t normally be able to tolerate. His quality of life has improved just by being here.

Participant parent


Arts Council England, Foyle Foundation, People’s Postcode Lottery, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation and partner venues.