The Music Chair

Music Wheel Chair AsseblyIn collaboration with Rick Bausman ( we have developed Rolling Splendor: Rolling Splendor organizes fast-paced ‘inclusive’ events for those with and without disabilities. A contracted community starts with the making of objects, then training and rehearsals all towards culminating performances. These renowned performer/educators expertly lead the groups into rousing theatrical and musical events. The pieces made to attach to the wheelchairs are light, strong, beautifully decorated, and  attach in minutes. When needed, Chairs are equipped with on-board power, lights, amplification, etc.

Musician in Rolling Music ChairThe Music Chairs create a unified ‘Big Band’ look and the Visual Chairs allow performers to work shadow, light, and animated flat ‘side-cars’. Scores, stage directions, and most of the imagery have already been created. Each performance preparation leaves time for students to create some parts so that each group feels their own connection to that particular show. This also gives communities knowledge of how to make their own Wheelchair Theaters after the directors have gone. Diagrams and construction plans are offered wherever Rolling Splendor operates. Theatrical groups with all the bangs and whistles can establish themselves in perpetuity.

This year we offer ‘Akiwowo!’. This work, created by famed Nigerian drummer Olatunji, takes an African village through difficult terrain and wild animals to the train where they head off to the market. The performance includes puppets that ‘fly’ over the audience, two pipe-and-drape hand puppet stages, a rolling train, 7 musicians, and 7 rolling shadow and light theaters. Puppeteers double as stage hands pushing the theaters in beautiful, choreographed movements. It is possible to include more than 30 in a full production. The mixing of differently abled populations has lasting positive effects.

Butterworth's Theatrical Wheelchair AttachmentsThe theater chairs shown are examples of possible designs. Some communities may want logos displayed that celebrate local organizations, schools, etc.

Because wheelchairs move with astounding smoothness and fluidity, we see the potential for parades, outdoor concerts, small and large ensembles, and full theatrical performances with all the effects inherent to professional staging. The possibilities are boundless.

Custom models are available. For bands, parades, and theatrical events logos and thematic paintings can be added simply.

A partnership (Rolling Splendor) joins Butterworth Productions and The Drum-workshop, Inc.  We have developed programs utilizing 6 ‘Visual Chairs’ and 6 ‘Music Chairs’. Scripts, scores, and stage directions allow groups to quickly involve communities in full, highly entertaining theatrical events. These inclusive performances can involve disparate community schools, organizations, and cliques in a rousing, nurturing convention.

The Rolling Splendor Articulating Boar Theater Prop ChairWe see these smooth moving wheelchair theaters as vehicles to the stars.

The designs and decorations of all these inventions are easily changed for each event. With these first models we wanted to show ‘possibilities’.  Each organization and each event will have its own needs.

The Wheelchair Theater Project was awarded it first grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts in 2009. By this point one projection model,  one music model, and one ‘animated flat’ ‘side car’ have been successfully completed. The parts to all these inventions are light and assemble in minutes.

Local programs in schools and theaters are in the works. National and international excursions are planed for the future.

These chairs can all be customized to fit the individual and the individuals needs and desires. The Music Chair is a fine example of how any wheel chair can become a valuable asset to any production.