Blogs

Full mask theatre from the inside

An explosion of fun through 3 millimetres of safety glass

Artistic Director, Rachael Savage, describes our recent Covid-safe care home show, Love Through Double Glazing, as one of the most important we've ever made. Why? Rachael explains all in her latest blog.

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Stealing the show - and the biscuits

It's been a roller-coaster year for emerging artist, Norah Savage, cumlinating in a show-stealing performance in our care home show, Love Through Double Glazing - not bad for a Bichon Frise. Here she tells us how she's coped with the adulation, and plans for the future.

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What could possibly go wrong?

Create a new Walkabout performance entirely over Zoom with actors on the other side of the world? No problem, we said! After a hectic three months, director Rachael Savage tells us about the ups and downs of international digital collaboration.

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Bridging cultural differences

Our recent performances in Beijing would not have been the same without our wonderful translator, Ding Ding, who helped bridge the inevitable language and cultural differences. Find out what the process was like for her in this guest blog.

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Doing what I want to do

With our performances in Beijing coming up fast, it's the turn of actor Yang Zhang to tell us what it's been like to learn full mask theatre.

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Feeling free

We're loving working with Chinese performers for our new Walkabout act in Beijing. Using full mask has been a new experience for them, so what's it been like? Here are Xiaoxu Liu's answers.

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Managing - to survive and thrive

We're so looking forward to getting back to care homes in May - meanwhile we wanted to highlight the caring approach of care sector professionals during the pandemic. Mark Topps, is one - and in this guest blog he tells us about supporting staff and promoting a culture of positivity and motivation.

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Wave, smile and talk to each other

Roy Sager has been one of the most avid supporters of The Wednesday Wave campaign, since finding out about it at his dementia meet, Buddies. In this guest blog, created in conversation with our Health Coordinator Hazel, he tells us about his involvement.

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Having a riot

Pilot performances of our new show for care homes, Love Through Double Glazing, have proved, well, riotous! Artistic DIrector, Rachael Savage, tells us why this cheeky, joyful show could be just what residents and staff need.

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Friends and neighbours

The Wednesday Wave was inspired by Hazel, a care home resident in Worcester. In this guest blog, Hazel’s daughter Shellie, tells us how Covid has affected her connection with her mum, and why waving, wherever you are, is so crucially important as we return to lockdown.

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Introducing Love Through Double Glazing

We've recently started some very early explorations for a new show, performed outside with audience inside and watched through windows. Stanfield Care Home was kind (and brave!) enough to host our first try-out. Nursing Home Director Richard White sent us this feedback...

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Dementia: myths vs realities

In this guest blog, we’re delighted to be able to share the impactful thoughts of Danuta Lipinska, a counsellor who writes about the value and diversity of counselling people who are living with dementia.  

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The power of a simple wave

In the first of our blogs about the impact of The Wednesday Wave, educator John Plant tells us how it brings people together, no matter what the barriers between them.

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Behind the scenes - How Hard is Waving (Part 3)

In the final part of our behind the scenes look at How Hard is Waving? editor Dan Hill and director/performer Rachael Savage tell us about the challenges and joys of making a BBC series in lockdown.

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Behind the scenes - How Hard is Waving (Part 2)

Now it's the turn of the newbies! Rosa Savage describes her first professional acting work on How Hard is Waving?, and Norah the dog wants to be taken seriously.

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Behind the scenes - How Hard is Waving (Part 1)

Making a series for the BBC in lockdown was never going to be the easiest challenge! Cast members James and Alan tell us how on earth they did it...

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Telling true stories

Our BBC commission, How Hard is Waving?, was inspired by a true story, involving a runner, a lady in a care home, a small, white dog and a growing relationship. Rachael Savage tells us more…

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Surreal times - a message from the garden

Artistic Director Rachael Savage with the latest on Vamos Theatre, ways to connect with us, and free cuddles (when it's allowed!)

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Break the rules, change the rules

Making presumptions can be a real barrier to embracing diversity.  Artistic Director, Rachael Savage, tells us about her work with seven fantastic theatre makers from Graeae, the UK’s flagship disabled-led theatre company.

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Having conversations about death

We've Dr Maggie Keeble to thank for instigating the making of Dead Good - she was the person who first suggested making a show about end of life - and so it's great to have her, alongside Lucy Martin, guest blogging about the importance of planning for a good death.

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A grand year for Vamos Youth Theatres

Thanks to Jasmine and Ashley for telling us what they've loved about Vamos Youth Theatre and Vamos Central in 2019...

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Talking about the end

Our new show Dead Good is being supported on tour by the lovely people at Marie Curie. To start things off,  Aline Dian’s guest blog encourages all of us to have those important conversations while there’s still time.

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Strawberry Shoelaces and friendships

Why are youth theatres important? Our Creative Producer and Youth Theatres Director, Honor Hoskins, knows why they matter to her…

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Finding the happy place

Our recent Mask Foundation Course introduced an incredibly talented group to mask techniques. A huge thank you to Worcester University student, Danielle Palmer, for describing the pleasures and the challenges.

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Incredible stories of love, life and death

All our shows are born of people's real-life stories and often years of research. Writer and Artistic Director, Rachael Savage, gives us a candid. moving and tempting dip into the stories behind our new show, Dead Good.

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Being the person I want to be

Our Youth Theatre for young people with learning disabilities launched in January, and what a time it's been. Vamos Central member Laura Gill tells us why she's had such a good year...

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Let’s live

To celebrate Carers Week, we're so pleased to feature a guest blog by Dave Harper, who we met during the research for Dead Good. Dave is a day patient at Mary Stevens Hospice, and he tells us about his own carer, and the importance of positivity when faced with dying.

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When Things Go Wrong

Things always go to plan on stage, right? Not always! In the last blog from the road, actor Sophia Knox-Miller contemplates making mistakes on stage.

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A day in the life of…

So what's an actor's day like whilst a show's on the road? With admirable attention to appropriate soundtracks, Joshua Patel tells us what goes on backstage and beyond...

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Unspoken connections

Thank you to Shefali Chandra, an army Veteran whose husband lived with Post Traumatic Stress, for sending us her honest and powerful blog about seeing A Brave Face, and coming to our Veterans' Mask Making Residency.

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Touring Vanter

Two months into the tour of A Brave Face and the cast has covered a lot of miles! The lovely James Greaves talks van-talk, the clashing of musical tastes, and the modern phenomenon of not talking to each other.

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Getting an insight

From time to time, we're contacted about work experience placements - and if someone sounds interesting, we take them on! Our latest placement has been Joe Raybould, who's written us a blog about what it's been like.

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Seeing beauty in humble places

In this guest blog, Dr Julie Watson reflects on participating in Listening with your Eyes,  our workshop about communication and connection.

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Sharing a vision

Our partnership with National Star College is extremely precious to us at Vamos Theatre. In this guest blog, National Star's Paul Tarling  tells us about the college and explores why mask theatre can work so well with young people with complex disabilities and acquired brain injuries.

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What a day!

Deaf workshop leader Mary Jayne Russell de Clifford tells us about the fabulous students at Longwill School for the Deaf, and the positive way mask workshops build confidence for deaf students

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First term at VYT

Vamos Youth Theatre member Lucy Plant fills us in on VYT's first term together

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Ramblings from the Road

On tour with Finding Joy, actor Louise Mellor contemplates international touring, better together, and the global perspective that comes from life on the road

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Filled with love

Mhari, who lives with dementia, and her partner, Hugh, review Finding Joy

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Designing Joy

With Finding Joy well in the swing, we’re getting lots of comments about how lovely it looks. We’ve asked set and costume designer Carl Davies to tell us more about how he’s designed the show, and the special challenges of working with mask.

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Painting with Light

Lighting is one of the most essential elements of a theatre performance, yet it’s rarely noticed. Giving an insight into its role in Finding Joy, lighting designer Chris Barham helps us know what to look out for…

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On being an Amigo

Want to get more involved with Vamos Theatre? Liz, who lives in Suffolk, is one of our Vamos Amigos, and here she tells us what it's like to be part of our most amazing supporters!

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The inside view

Assistant Clinical Practitioner Paul Stokes shares his experience of booking Sharing Joy and the impact it had on those in his care who live with dementia.

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Reflecting on the Joy

Cast member Alejandra Bacelar Pereira invites us to the Sharing Joy party

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All about Sharing

In the second of our Sharing Joy on-the-road blogs, actors Nik Howden and Doug Rutter reflect on performing for people living with dementia.

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A Day to Remember - Angie Dean

Continuing our celebration of wedding days, and the memories and connections for those living with dementia, Angie Dean, who lives with Alzheimer's, shares her funny and romantic special day.

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Love and accessibility at the RSC

Artistic Director Rachael Savage shares her recent experiences of working with masks and dementia training at the Royal Shakespeare Company, one of our Strategic Touring partners.

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Working without words

Performing without words is what we do best - so we can work with actors who speak any language. Sharing Joy performers Lotte Tickner and Alejandra Bacelar Pereira bring us the Vamos Dictionary - shared words you really do need on tour!

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A Day to Remember #1

Alongside Sharing Joy, we’ll be exploring wedding days, and the memories and connections that can still be found for those living with dementia. To set the scene, Vamos Theatre’s Kathryn Bettesworth tells us about her own special day…

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Saturday Night Out in Brighton

Can theatre make a positive difference? In May, a group of veterans came to Brighton to see A Brave Face - here's what they thought..

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The game of two halves

What happens backstage during a mask theatre show has to be seen to be believed. Fancy a glimpse? A Brave Face performer, Joanna Holden, describes what goes on in the dimness!

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A blog about a blog

Q: How do you make an internationally renowned clown break into a sweat?
A: Ask him to write a blog...

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Fandabbidosey

Having played more than her fair share of children over the years, A Brave Face actor Joanna Holden reflects on turning 50, and playing an 8 year old...

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A message of hope…

The guidence of Veterans has been crucial to us during the making of A Brave Face. But how has the show been received? P. Snow, editor of Veterans' magazine The Sandbag Times, writes us a guest blog.

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Taking notes…

Interested in applying for an apprenticeship with Vamos? Current apprentice Natalie Hind gives an insight into what it's like, and a peak in her little pink journal…

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The genuine article

How can an actor start to understand what it’s really like in a war zone? With two weeks to go to opening night, A Brave Face actor Angela Laverick tells us more…

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Fear And Doubting In Worcester

James Greaves may have years of mask experience behind him, but it doesn't stop him having first-day-of-rehearsal nerves. If you think an actors life is all hey-diddle-de-dee, check out his very funny blog...

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In China and looking for banter

Don't speak the language? Artistic Director Rachael Savage praises the power of the non-verbal in this blog about our recent visit to China

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Ars Saltandi vs. The Grand Middle Age

Ever wondered what a clown has to say about death? Now's your chance, as performer Aron De Casmaker shares audience reactions to Finding Joy, and muses on the bigger themes of living, caring and dying that lie behind this year's Vamos projects.

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Tour thoughts

Touring actors do a lot of travelling. Some read, some listen to music...Finding Joy actor Rayo Patel shares what occupies him on the long road between venues.

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To boot or not to boot…

Finding Joy performer Bidi Iredale takes us on a guided walk through the emotions and impact of the tour so far

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Inspiring Joy: celebrating Nana Flo

Is there an older person who inspires or inspired you? We've asked the Finding Joy cast to share who their inspirational elders are, and why. This week, Louise Mellor tells us about her nan, Flo.

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Kindness, loss, growth and Joy

Hazel Ratcliffe, our Strategic Touring Manager, reflects on Sharing Joy, and a summer of twists and turns.

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Vamos va va voom!

Verity the Van's replacement has been a while coming, but thanks to Top Dog Bobby, and our wonderful supporters and funders, here she is! Rachael tells us about buying the best van in Somerset...

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Any experience is good experience

Vamos was lucky enough to have Year 10 student Rebecca Cartwright on work experience recently. If you're a young person wondering what it might be like, read how Rebecca got on...

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Nuns, clowns and ballerinas

Artistic Director Rachael has taken her family to Perigueux Festival for years, so it's particularly special that Vamos is part of this anarchic, wonderful festival this year. Rachael looks back at some top moments...

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Taking on challenges

Kathryn Green who runs our Young People's Theatre, reflects on the group's most challenging performance to date - a show about mental health

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That Unshakable Formality

Cirque de Soleil clown Aron De Casmaker has travelled the world as a performer. So what's the appeal of being part of Sharing Joy, our show for people living with dementia? Aron tells us more...

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The news from Bergen

In the last of our blogs from the Finding Joy international tour, Nicky Fearn tells us about the slightly soggy side of Bergen in Norway

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An epic hop, skip and drive

The British Airways shutdown last week meant the Finding Joy cast had make on an epic dash across four countries to get to Germany in time. Actor James Greaves tells us about it...

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Variations on a sausage

So who says actors only think about food? Finding Joy cast member Sarah Hawkins gives us the low down on European touring from the beautiful city of Prague

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Enthusiastic audiences (and great beer)

The story so far as Finding Joy actor Alan Riley steps up as our European Correspondent from Germany

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Rejuvenated, inspired and challenged

It's not that often that a 6'8" Australian clown gets in touch, but having Clint Bolster as Artist in Residence has been a joy - here's his side of the story.

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Travelodge vs Premiere Inn: the ultimate challenge of touring

For a touring actor, where you'll sleep tonight is way up there on the list of priorities. For the Best Thing actor Marco Nanetti, there are only two choices...

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Seeing a different picture

As a CND card-carrying teenager, Artistic Director Rachael reflects on how meeting soldiers during her research for A Brave Face has changed her outlook on the military.

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Louder than Words

In our latest blog from the road, actor Louise Mellor considers the power of mask to connect us across barriers and boundaries

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Creating characters, creating stories

What do masks have to do with reading and literature? As it turns out, quite a lot! Kathryn Green takes us on a trip to Shrewsbury Children's Bookfest.

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Being accessible, being inspiring

Stephen Collins is one of the group of Deaf practitioners who have recently become Vamos mask workshop leaders. In this guest blog, Stephen tells us a little about why full mask works for Deaf audiences.

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A passion for mask

Sometimes you experience something and it changes your life forever. In our latest blog, The Best Thing cast member Hannah Kimpton shares her ongoing passion for full mask theatre...

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The Best Thing About Me #4

With classic Canadian punk bands and a childhood fear of jewellery in the mix, the last of our Best Thing About Me series is a cracker.

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Getting enthusiastic

We're delighted that Emily Howlett, Stephen Collins and Mary-Jayne Russell De Clifford have joined the Vamos team as d/Deaf workshop leaders. In this guest blog, Emily fills us in on what it's like to take on the role.

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The Best Thing About Me #3

Who wore floral denim wedges? Who loved Elvis Costello? Here's the latest The Best Thing About Me from the team.

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The Best Thing About Me #2

In the second of our series revealing The Best Thing secrets of our cast and crew, meet Laura Sprake and Hannah Kimpton, who share a love of tree climbing...

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The Best Thing About Me #1

The Best Thing About Me feature we ran for The Best Thing's last tour was a real hit: so why not a new batch!? Introducing cast member Marco, and Marketing Manager, Justine.

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Taking the first steps

Artistic Director Rachael Savage shares her experience of spending time with the Army in Colchester, as part of researching our next new production.

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Theatre for everyone

So what does it really mean to be 'accessible'?. During a year dedicated to finding that out, Vamos's General Manager Charlotte, shares some of what we've learned so far.

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Being genuinely inclusive

Development Manager Honor Hoskins celebrates our recent ACE funding to further the accessibility of our work

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Passing the baton

VYPT 9-13 leader Kathryn Green celebrates the group's first ever mask performance

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Fringe benefits?

Why perform at Edinburgh fringe when it’s known as such a financial risk? Artistic Director Rachael Savage takes us through the tricky decision making for a company like Vamos.

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Vamos’s dream drive

Verity was the big, shiny Mercedes Sprinter she'd always yearned after...Rachael's celebration of the Vamos van and life on the road

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Powerful Connections

In a hard-hitting blog, Artistic Director Rachael Savage describes the emotional subject matter connecting The Best Thing with her recent trip to South Africa

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The Cape Town experience

For those of you who missed Rachael’s blog from Cape Town, here’s a recap of her posting from the start of her visit to South Africa.

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Vamos in South Africa

Rachael and Janie report back from Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

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Wordless visual theatre for deaf and hearing alike

We have learned so much during our recent consultancy with the Deaf community: Vamos's Honor Hoskins tells us more...

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The Best Thing About Me #5

With the show nearly ready to head out on tour, we get to the final lucky few sharing their childhood secrets. This week, find out who wore patent shoes and frilly collars!

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The Best Thing About Me #4

Share in some of our cast and crew's childhood secrets as The Best Thing About Me continues...

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So, what do you do then?

As jobs go, mask acting must be one of the hardest to describe, as The Best Thing actor Sarah Hawkins explains...

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The Best Thing About Me #3

Who's scared of moths? The Best Thing About Me continues, so read on for some more childhood secrets!

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The Best Thing About Me #2

Next in line for sharing childhood secrets are Vamos actor, Richard J Fletcher, and our set designer Carl Davies. Most cringeworthy outfit? Read on!

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The Best Thing About Me #1

Want to see Rachael Savage with a potato gun? This is your chance to find out about The Best Thing team as they reveal their childhood secrets and The Best Thing about them.

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From mask to panto and back again

Actor Richard J Fletcher has a challenge on, fitting in a panto run at Oldham Coliseum between Vamos rehearsals.

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