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Finding Joy

Finding Joy toured the UK in 2013 and 2014 and internationally in 2015. It is available for booking by venues and promoters.

Joy puts her coat on - Finding Joy Picnic - Finding Joy Waiting for the train - Finding Joy Nightmare - Finding Joy

Vamos Theatre in a co-production with The Courtyard, Herefordshire’s Centre for the Arts presents

Finding Joy

A comic, anarchic, touching and heroic full mask adventure

"an immensely affirmative joie de vivre...Catch it while you can" The Stage

Joy is 83 today: she’s funny, loves to dance, and is losing her memory. Her grandson Danny is rebellious, fearless, bright, and always getting into trouble. When, out of the blue, Danny decides to look after Joy, they discover a shared playfulness and a mutual affection. But is that enough to take on the challenges ahead?

Vamos Theatre’s wordless theatrical world brings this story of lost memories and discovered love vividly to life, in the production that established Vamos Theatre as the UK’s leading full mask theatre company.

Performed by a cast of four, Finding Joy has toured to over 100 venues across the UK, to audiences of more than 15,000; the production opened at the London International Mime Festival 2014 and premiered internationally at the Jyväskylä Festival, Finland in 2015. The show is suitable for 12 years and upwards.

Finding Joy is funded by Arts Council England and Worcestershire County Council

Finding Joy is currently available for booking by venues and promoters. Booking contact: Vamos Theatre +44 (0)1905 312921 or contact us via the contact form
For German speaking countries contact: Angelika Martin:+49 (0)8122 42666 or

Photo credit:
Graeme Braidwood Photography

Photo prep by alienpen

Finding Joy

Click here to read more audience reviews and post your own comments

Vamos Theatre's craftily constructed and crowd-pleasing piece...The show brilliantly conveys a sense of how frightening the world seems through Joy's eyes ... the company of four are always fleet and the storytelling is excellent
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

A genuinely original, beautiful piece of work which deserves to be seen by a wide audience BRIGHTON FRINGE 2014 ARGUS ANGEL WINNER
Duncan Hall, The Argus
(see the full review here)

5 stars*****: Finding Joy, now showing at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol, can be summed up in two words: simply beautiful. Finding Joy is superb. Rachael Savage...directs the show in a sensitive and moving manner, bringing pathos, humour, fear and love all the way through it. The play is performed by ...James Greaves, Richard J Fletcher, Nanou Harry and Sarah Hawkins. Wearing full masks and with no words they portray the gamut of emotions throughout the piece that take the breath away...The masks are designed and made by Russell Dean and what an impressive job he has done. This is an all round impressive production – I left in tears, and I wasn't the only one!
Barbara Maxwell, What's On Stage (see the full review here)

5 stars***** Told with no words, just a beautiful soundtrack echoing different periods of Joy’s life, the magic of this production is the incredible story telling through mime alone...Vamos are masters at what they do: this production emphasises that they have managed to secure their place as one of the best full mask companies around.
Rhiannon Lawson, The Public Reviews (see the full review here)

5 stars***** The company are quickly cementing its position as one of, if not the, leading full-mask mime companies in existence. Considering how marvellous this show is, it is fair to say that the company won’t be knocked off their perch just yet.
Finding Joy was an incredibly moving and wonderful piece of theatre. Quite simply, a triumph.
Dan English, InQuire (see the full review here)

Finding Joy is the latest full-mask production from Vamos Theatre, and it is a spellbinding example of how talented contemporary theatre can be, as well as how innovative, imaginative and important...[it is] an excellent way of reminding us that the smallest acts of human kindness pay the biggest dividends.
Jane Duffus  Bristol 24-7 (see the full review here)

5 stars*****: This is an outstanding piece of innovative full-mask mime theatre from the wonderful Vamos Theatre Company. It will make you laugh and cry in equal measure - a view of the future we might all might face. Don't miss!!!
Time Out User Review

Touching and well observed
Nola Rae

5 stars*****: The masks are expressive and the gestures full of emotion...The storyline is brutally honest and by the end, silent tears were rolling down our cheeks. Thunderous applause erupted and we spotted a few tissues being fished out of pockets - Look out for Vamos Theatre
Tripping Theatre (see the full review here)

5 stars*****: The cast’s well-rounded technique seamlessly combined with the beautiful music and the visual effects results in an emotionally nuanced performance that keeps the audience transfixed. Life-affirming, funny, deeply touching and highly, highly recommended!
Katerina Yannouli, Plays to See (see the full review here)

This is a fantastic evening. A difficult subject is faced with humour and hope without being trivialised. This production manages to remind us of the human being locked inside the eroding memories, the struggles of all those involved, and the rewards of finding joy despite the loss of the real Joy.
Joan Phillips, The Public Reviews (see the full review here)

It's a real testament to Vamos' skill that, despite having no dialogue, Finding Joy portrays the universal themes of love and family perfectly.
Helen Jauregui, Animations Online (see the full review here)

It makes you feel. It shows the isolation of old age and youth. It shows how humour and love can bridge generations. It shows how funny the elderly can be. It shows how scary it is, becoming lost in dementia. It would still be a fantastic production and performance without the masks, but it is all the more remarkable for it.
Jake P Johnson, Jake Tries Things (see the full review here)

All credit to director/writer Rachel Savage and her team for tackling this sensitive subject with such dedication and compassion, creating a piece of theatre that engages and moves you, whatever your age, and really makes you think. I’ve always loved Trestle Theatre who specialised in mask work, but I have to say that I feel Vamos Theatre have excelled all expectations with their storytelling.
Julia Pattison, Pocklington Arts Centre

thanks for a beautiful show last night.  Really moving, the audience loved it, can't wait to see what you come up with next
Kate Tyrell, Executive Director, Exeter Northcott Theatre

I've just seen 'Finding Joy' - a stunning piece of unique theatre - thank you, thank you! Wonderful experience - managing humour and poignancy with the most amazing skill - so very moving
Susie Bate

Just come from your show at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury. This was one of the best pieces of theatre I've ever seen. So funny, moving, warm and thought provoking. What a simple yet at the same time incredibly complicated piece of work with such a powerful message of love and living for the moment. Please, please come back to Shrewsbury again.xx
Sophie Peach

Just seen Finding Joy one of the most brilliant, moving theatre productions I have ever seen. I've never seen mask theatre before and couldn't believe how expressive body language could be. I left the theatre feeling choked up. This should be essential viewing for anyone involved in care of the elderly. Please do add me to your mailing list
Marjorie Farnsworth

My wife and I loved Finding Joy. We saw it at Theatre Severn on 20 May. It was beautifully observed, full of humorous detail and very touching. The staging was brilliantly conceived: set, costume, masks and sound track created exactly the right framework. The performances were delightful: engaging, sympathetic, entertaining, played with skill, speed and panache. We really look forward to the next Vamos production
Ron Berry

Tonight I was lucky enough to see you perform Finding Joy. As a parent of a young man with significant learning difficulties included poor speech I was hugely touch by your skill and level of understanding of how to value our relationships with vulnerable members of our society. You captured the type of relationships that I hope my son will be lucky enough to have in his life as well as those I hope he does not have to endure. Thank you for a wonderful evening.
Sarah Thomas

Saw your show at Crich. Wonderful. So clever.Went because have seen you before and really enjoyed it.
J Colombo

Just to say thank you so much for an entertaining and thought provoking evening in Crich last weekend. We loved the whole show - masks, characters, music, humour and humanity.We hope you will return soon.
Christine and Mike Edwards

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed myself seeing you last week here in Jersey. Absolutely loved the show and so did my fiancé. Have always been on the lookout for your manifestation since the days of Trestle Theatre. Glad you are back to full flow (c:
Matt Crick

@vamostheatre go and see everyone -you will love it- I have seen it twice now
Sian Williams via Twitter

‘Finding Joy’ @VamosTheatre is even more touching, funny, brilliant on second viewing.
Alison Child via Twitter

Fantastic show tonight. Will definitely get to the Swan on 11th or 12th. Just so many little touches and subtleties will need to watch again. Loved the music too.
Phil Shepherd via Facebook

My parents went to see you in Abergavenny last night - they thoroughly enjoyed the performance - so moving. Even my Dad 'The Reluctant Theatre Goer' thought it was brilliant !!!
Flamenco Loco via Facebook

Wonderful performance tonight at The Courtyard, Hereford. Moving, profound, funny and truthful. Go see Finding Joy.
Georgia Hill via Facebook

Just saw Finding Joy in Porthcawl. Absolutely brilliant. The company gave such a wonderful performance. Funny and very touching. Can't wait to see them again.
Sharon James via Facebook

Really enjoyed Finding Joy. The relationship between Joy and her grandson was beautifully played. The final scene with the always-busy daughter finally taking the time to love her mum, rather than just tend to her needs, was very touching.
David Bloy via Facebook

What a brilliant are all so talented. i am looking forward to seeing you next time.x
Kirsty Martin via Facebook

My friends and I saw Finding Joy in Lierpool last night it was fantastic, Thanks to everyone concerned I hope to go to Clwyd Theatre in May when Finding Joy is on and introduce some friends to a totally different Theatre
Buddy Woods via Facebook

How can a play with no words speak louder to me than any other? @VamosTheatre's Finding Joy that's how. Memories of a great Nan to the fore
Jamie Rees via Twitter

Vamos Theatre are superb - FACT!
Peter Doran ‏via Twitter

@VamosTheatre Brilliant performance at Porthcawl tonight.. Superb!
Karyn Davies via Twitter

Engaging, emotional, wordless eloquence and brilliant storytelling/performance of wonderfully human story. Thanks
Geoff Cripps via Twitter

Catch Finding Joy if you can. Brilliant show!
Margot Eagle via Twitter

We saw Finding Joy last night at the Landmark in Ilfracombe and wanted to say a big thankyou to your team for such a wonderful production - please please visit us again I am sure when word gets round you will have an audience worthy of your work - Brilliant - so moving. Thank You
Pam Ebert

Just a quick note to say that I went with friends to Exeter to see your latest production Finding Joy and thought it was excellent. As head of drama in a secondary school for years ... and having set up the 'lantern arts center' in raynes park, london ... I can recommend the show as brilliant in terms of its aesthetic value and educational in terms of its didactic approach to dementia ...well done!
Jacqui Parkinson

Very moved, amused and delighted by your performance of Finding Joy on Tuesday at Exeter's Northcott Theatre as were the various friends I encouraged to come to see you. I do hope you will bring another show here very soon
Elaine Henderson

This production is fantastic, I’d go so far as to say it is one of the best productions that I have seen in Exeter for some time
Freddie House, Exeter Northcott's Young Critics

Here is some feedback from the group I took to see Finding Joy on Saturday. I brought a mixed group of 30 ranging from 7 years old to 50andthensome and every one of them engaged fully – I’ve never seen the teens so quiet! Thank you again for a wonderful experienceI I loved Danny's journey from rebel to carer to intermediary between his mum and his Nan. When Mum started packing that suitcase (was their any significance to to the fact that it was the same one used in the flashbacks to Joy being evacuated?) and Joy ran into the streets my heart started breaking, when Danny found her...I lost it, weeping wreck!
Carol Turner, Education and Special Projects, North Devon Theatres

I recognised so much of my own mum in Joy...this piece has reminded me that humour ( and hugs) can illuminate even the darkest of days, and that each dementia sufferer has a unique and special life story. When Danny found that old reel of film , an important piece of his Nan's life was revealed to him and restored to her...
Donella Woolmer

I loved the production, and especially the relationship between Joy and her grandson. Even though the masks had only one expression, they seemed to show so many different emotions, because of the actors' wonderful body language. There was a great contrast between light and dark, humour and sadness. I think it was a really thoughtful and topical play to produce, because sadly so many old people have to suffer like Joy did. I really enjoyed it - I would love to see the company again!
Rachel Ann Woolmer

 From scene to scene different emotions were drawn out from the audience, laughing one minute, crying the next, and I was even squirming in my seat with guilt as I recognised some of my own behaviour. The smallest of gestures conveyed so much meaning, and without words we focused on body language. Amazing human observation and amazingly well performed! I should love my family to see this as it would help them deal with what Great Nanny is going through.
Sarah Jackson Anderson Gallagher

The following comments are from carers attending the Finding Joy performance at the Cornbow Centre, Halesowen

++The performance has made a lasting impression on me, and memories of Joy and her Grandson keep flooding back!

++Not a word was spoken but so much was conveyed and understood. Vamos are amazing. If possible I would make the Finding Joy performance mandatory attendance for all of our staff (and beyond!)

++I particularly enjoyed the grandson,disorientated on his drugs and Nan just disorientated, sort of mirroring each other in the street...lovely moment. Also wasn't it remarkable that even though you knew their faces were masks, their expressions seemed to change as they acted different thoughts and feelings. ou could tell the group had really studied the effects of dementia, could n't you? The confusion and actually the cruelty of hospital regimes and the comfort of the handbag.

++We have just been saying it was a training course in itself.

++Just a line to say that we found the performance of Finding Joy at the Cornbow last night to be very moving and thought provoking: I am sure it will be a talking point for some time to come.

++I felt I must contact you to congratulate you and all your colleagues on a truly a wonderful evening at the Cornbow last night. An incredible performance conveying so much information without one utterance – powerful stuff!!! Personally I found the event extremely moving and though provoking.

++My friends and I thoroughly enjoyed the Vamos performance and were amazed that such wonderful creativity of mask and mime with so few performers could bring such an amusing, poignant and powerful message. Thank you very much indeed for arranging and offering it to the carers of Dudley.

++This was a poignant performance for me as my mother is living with dementia but I thought that the actors put across the message in such a way that even if you had no knowledge of the condition you would be moved. The relationship between the Granny & Grandson so mirrored that of my own Mom & Nephew, then there was the stressed daughter who until the very end you had no sympathy for! Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Have just seen 3rd Vamos mask theatre show and have loved them all - absolutely brilliant! First saw Nursing Lives (I am a nurse/midwife) and was blown away at the energy and emotions portrayed with out speech! Last night we watched finding joy which was so moving - I had a lump in my throat. Should be essential viewing for all nursing students and carers of the elderly! Keep up the amazing work.
Joyce Basford

I was lucky enough to see Finding Joy on Friday evening and would like to say how beautiful and balanced it was at addressing such a common but feared illness, the performance was especially hard but wonderful for me to watch as my lovely grandma is currently in hospital with dementia related illness.
Rachael Merry

As a proudly deaf person, I was able to engage and understand all of the message within the play, without the need for an interpreter.  The visual narrative was superb , and portrayed a difficult subject in a sensitive and positive way. 
Aimee Cockle

Amazingly moving and emotional production by @VamosTheatre this evening at Halesowen Cornbow Hall
Adam Aston via Twitter

a great show and came away with so much to think about
David White via Twitter

Lovely show from @VamosTheatre @NDevonTheatres last night. Beautifully performed, appealed right across the age range.
North Devon Theatres via Twitter

Really enjoyed watching the production this evening It was very true to life and touching
Hannah Slater via Facebook

what an amzing show tonight at the landmark ilfracombe.very moving and a great set thank u hope u will bring nursing lives here whan on tourspring 2015
Dave TW White via Facebook

Brilliant evening at Jersey Arts Centre yesterday - stunning. Thank you!
Maureen Bourniquel via Facebook

OUTSTANDING.THOUGHT PROVOKING AND HONEST thank you for a fabulous performance this evening.
Dudley Voices for Choice via Facebook

Absolutely loved #FindingJoy by @VamosTheatre tonight @tftheatres a tender story of familial love, a teenager, a Grandma...and her handbag.
Wendy Johnson ‏via Twitter

Loved loved loved @VamosTheatre @Tobacco_Factory last night. screamingly funny and poignant.
Bristol Storyfest ‏via Twitter

#FindingJoy @VamosTheatre was so unbelievably touching. Refreshing to see such a talented company continuing to do what they do best.
Fiona Steed via Twitter

@VamosTheatre well done on an incredibly powerful performance, had me in tears
princess jasmine ‏via Twitter

@VamosTheatre Beautiful show tonight - best production I've seen in a long while and I'm so glad I came smile
Jyothi Giles via Twitter

@VamosTheatre @ExeterNorthcott such a brilliant performance your puppetry is so clever! Please come back to #Exeter soon!
Sarah Snow ‏via Twitter

Poignant, charming & memorable, do go see @VamosTheatre @ExeterNorthcott this week - we have had the best evening.
Debbie Kingsley ‏via Twitter

Loved #Findingjoy2014 by @VamosTheatre @ExeterNorthcott tears of sadness and joy welled up. Hospital scenes hilarious! Want to see it again.
Anka Djordjevic ‏via Twitter

Finding Joy @VamosTheatre at Exeter Northcott last night, a delight.
Michael Wagg via Twitter

@VamosTheatre #FindingJoy was an absolute masterpiece! it is amazing to see how such an intricate story can be told using not a single word
Andy Pandy via Twitter

@VamosTheatre one of the most beautiful pieces of drama I have ever seen �� brought @AmberLeigh117 and me to tears numerous times
ruth via Twitter

I loved @VamosTheatre "Finding Joy" @LakesideArts . Moving and beautifully observed & so many echos of our own elderly parents.
kathleen hoops via Twitter

We had the best time tonight at Finding Joy at the Exeter Northcott. First time we've seen Vamos and the performance was poignant, painful, charming, hugely inventive and perfectly played. So many moments of recognition, but not one of mawkishness. Thank you! So many bits familiar to anyone with an elderly or deceased mother -the collection of old handbags, the impromptu dancing, the cine film, the infuriating adjusting of her daughter's hair (WHY DO THEY ALWAYS DO THAT??), the need for a hankerchief, the hankering over days long past. The cine film shown over an uneven surface, slightly fracturing the memories, was perfect. Most of all we thought the performances were pitch perfect. Bloody marvellous
Debbie Kingsley via Facebook

Thank you Vamos Theatre for what was a truly wonderful performance last night here at Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre. More than one person left the the theatre saying that everyone should see this show, more than one person was moved to tears, EVERYBODY laughed and everyone was moved by the theatrical delight and the emotional roller-coaster that was Finding Joy.
Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre via Facebook

Not ashamed to say we wept a little at the end of Finding Joy @vamostheatre @tftheatres Utterly moving. And that dog - what a singing voice!
Visit Bristol via Twitter

Wonderful show. Utterly deserved standing ovation for Finding Joy @tftheatres. Funny, heart-wrenching, culminating in total joy.
Ali Robertson ‏ via Twitter

Loved loved loved @VamosTheatre @Tobacco_Factory last night. screamingly funny and poignant.
Bristol Storyfest via Twitter

Congratulations to @VamosTheatre for a exceptionally beautiful and moving show 'Finding Joy'. A must see for everyone.
acta Bristol via Twitter

I saw Finding Joy yesterday at the Tobacco Factory Theatres. It's the best show I've seen this year! Well done!
Pauline Morel

Congratulations for a fantastic show @jacksons_lane last night. Funny and moving in equal measures-excellent!
Catherine Caldwell via Twitter

Honoured to see such a wonderful performance of "Finding Joy" from Vamos Theatre tonight!
Just My Face Theatre via Twitter

Your play was absolutely outstanding and am so proud and honoured to have seen it, amazing. Hope to see you soon smile
Sophie Price via Twitter

Congratulations Racheal and the Vamos team. Finding Joy is a fantastic show, even better than before.
Georgia Plant via Twitter

extremely enjoyable, moving and fantastic mask work!  everyone should see this! Check them out on tour.
Helen Raynham via Twitter

My godchildren really loved Finding Joy by Vamos Theatre - a masked show in @MimeLondon. So did I
Peter Graystone via Twitter

If you're able to see Finding Joy by Vamos Theatre do! Very funny and touching.
Sophie Hutton via Twitter

Just watched finding joy by Vamos Theatre Really heart warming!
William Sharpe via Twitter

Vamos Theatre and their production of Finding Joy at @jacksons_lane e was incredible last night. Emotional but incredible.
Beth Wright via Twitter

I saw the most touchin n sensitive production about dementia last night finding joy by Vamos Theatre please go n see this. full mask n mime.
Katie Still via Twitter

Just saw "Finding Joy" at  @jacksons_lane  as part of @MimeLondon. It was beautiful and amazing and made me want to cry.
Amy Cufflin via Twitter

Thank you Vamos Theatre for a very moving show and beautifully crafted performances!
Pocklington Arts PAC via Twitter

I went to Jackson Lane on Saturday and thought the portrayal of alzheimers disease was lovely. Not all patients are quite so calm and cute as Joy, but so many of the actions are true, my mum has the horrible disease and she folds things as Joy did, she also stores things. When mum was recently taken into a nursing home for her own safely we found all sorts of things in strange places and a fridge full of onions!! A difficult subject to cover but it was done with great skill, the actors did a fabulous job.
Paperback Jan via Facebook

Absolutely amazing performance yesterday at The Coach House Theatre in Malvern. Vamos Theatre you are so talented and the message you portray in Finding Joy is incredible.
Shirley Warrington, via Facebook

Finding Joy 2013

"There is a deceptive simplicity about mask if it is performed well and  Vamos are the best, and demonstrate this through every facet of the show...With attention to detail and a plethora of theatrical semiotics this show is a delight. It amuses, saddens and heartens all at the same time...So many families become affected by Alzheimer’s yet there hasn’t been many theatre companies prepared to grasp the nettle...To embark on such a sensitive exploration and to reflect such understanding takes genius.
***** Five stars (It would be higher but the scale only goes to five!)"

Owen Lewis, Love Shropshire Read the full review here

"Much like its set, this is a play with numerous shifting compartments. Without speech to rely on, we understand the world created by the theatre company solely through their physicality and the impressive soundscape (composed by Janie Armour). ..This is a play to be seen not just for its fantastic cast, high production values or Rachael Savage's innovative direction, though these are strong arguments indeed, but also because it is a timely and important insight to an issue that can affect us all."
Claire Trevien, Daily Info Oxford to see the full review click here

"The execution – from the actors’ performances to changes in lighting – was flawless...the portrayal of Joy (acted by Nanou Harry) was unfailingly mesmerising. The play led the audience through the logic of Joy’s mind and the turns in her emotions. The effect was one of poignant irony, in the collision between her perception of her world and the reality lived by those around her."
Rosie Oxbury, Oxford Theatre Review

"No words are ever needed to get the expression of satisfaction of having watched one of the most exquisite, beautifully performed and demanding plays of its kind."
Ian D Hall, Liverpool Sound and Vision to see the full review click here

"This is another laugh/cry hit from Vamos... Without resorting to words, they very cleverly tell a universal tale that is both thoroughly thought provoking and charmingly funny. Deep Joy!"
Chris Eldon Lee, BBC Radio Shropshire

"mesmerising and quite astonishing. In truth I could exhaust a thesaurus on Finding Joy. It was, as billed, comic, anarchic, touching and heroic but it was also mesmerising and absolutely brilliant. I cannot remember the last time a show made me laugh as much and then cry so happily…and whilst some may argue that it is a near impossibility for anything to be perfect Finding Joy may be as near as you can get"
Steve Hawthorne, Grapevine Live to see the full review click here

"5 stars ***** Vamos amaze with a work that, while utterly wordless, is dazzlingly eloquent...this full mask production tells an entire life story with passion, wit and humour....such a triumph"
Phillipa May, The Hereford Times to see the full review click here

"Vamos is rapidly establishing itself as one of the most innovative, exciting full-mask mime companies currently touring. Finding Joy will only enhance its reputation... Tribulation and frustration are never underplayed, but are brilliantly transcended by comic inventiveness and an immensely affirmative joie de vivre...It is an intensely moving tribute and triumph. Catch it while you can"
Ian Barge, The Stage: to see the full review click here

"A moving, thought-provoking and at times hilarious piece of storytelling...Finding Joy is essential viewing - a play that is bound to stick with you"
Matt Jarram, Loughborough Echo

"Finding Joy is irresistible. You learn more, and more effortlessly, from this production about positive caring than from a dozen textbooks or training courses. I urge all supporters of people with dementia in whatever capacity to see it.This is positive caring in action: you laugh, you cry, you learn --- you find joy!"
John Killick 'Dementia Positive'

“had me hooked from beginning to end!”


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