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Where to start - It’s gone now 8pm and my husband hasn’t stopped speaking about what a lovely afternoon he has enjoyed attending a performance of Sharing Joy. By the time we arrived at the RSC’s Other Place, Peter was positively grumpy I had brought him on a disorientating bus ride (Sunday service!) to an unknown experience. I too was beginning to think I had thought a theatre trip was a good idea. However, from the time both Rachel and Dougie involved us in sensitive, reassuring conversation in the foyer and escorted us to our excellent seat, his mood changed and he was ready to enjoy. Enjoy he did. His responses amazed even me. I note from the website that the production has been sponsored, so great thanks to the sponsors and a hope they can continue to do so in future. It is a truly inspirational production full of skill, sensitivity, kindness and - above all - Joy, something often missing from lives of all living with dementia. Thank you all, including the management and staff at the Other Place who swelled the ranks of the dedicated cast and seemed to enjoy it as well.
Thank you so much Chrissie. I loved watching Peter’s reactions throughout, it brought a whole new meaning to, on the edge of your seat! He’s very lucky to have you brave the Sunday bus route. Hope to see you both in November at FINDING JOY on November 10th back at the RSC.
What a treat to be part of the Revealing the Mask workshop at LAMDA this afternoon.
Absolutely inspiring and so much fun. I have come away having fallen in love with full-mask performance not only having appreciated it as an audience having seen the work of Vamos Theatre on numerous occasions, but having experienced it as a performer and practitioner today in the studio.Rachael Savage is a genius and so much fun to work with.
I wholeheartedly encourage teachers and practitioners to engage with the work of Vamos Theatre in performance and via their professionals workshops - you will not be disappointed! What a wonderful experience to explore the magic of, and find such joy in, full-mask work. Thank you!
We were fortunate to have Sharing Joy perform at our Care Home. I saw residents who live with Dementia engage with the performers and others, I have never seem them engage like this before. Everyone from residents to staff and relatives thoroughly enjoyed and I would highly recommend this show for people living with Dementia and their carers.
Rachael came to the Coach House theatre in Malvern last night to give a talk about Vamos Theatre and her journey. It was interesting, energetic, informative and entertaining - in fact just like Rachael! So useful to have a Q and A session afterwards. Thank you from the Malvern Theatre Players, friends and fans!
Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) welcomed Vamos and an audience of people living with Dementia to our Foyle Studio for a performance of Sharing Joy yesterday morning. Four of mac’s staff (including me) also joined the audience and we were so very glad we did.
The performers were incredibly skilled in delivering playful performances and plenty of gentle and caring interaction with the audience members. The show was indeed joyful, it was also thoughtfully put together allowing the audience to interact with each other and the performers.
My one regret was that I sat at the back with my colleagues and not next to one of the older members of the audience, where i felt I would have a bit more fun! Thank you Vamos for this excellent work, and thank you to everyone who came to the show yesterday, we hope to welcome you back to MAC soon.
Looking forward to Finding Joy here at MAC on the 4th & 5th October.
Sharing Joy - I was stunned by the creativity and content which enabled everyone to engage with the actors. The audience ages ranged from 2 to 80 years and it clearly touched all who attended. The story line was easy to follow despite no words used by the actors. It was a great reminder how we can communicate with people with dementia if speech becomes difficult and the importance of visual cues and gestures. I can’t thank Vamos enough for finding funding and bringing this play to us. They are back in our region in Oct with ‘Finding Joy’ Joy has a diagnosis of dementia and is supported by her daughter and grandson. I can thoroughly recommend this play to any formal or family carer. Lisa Breame, Dementia Trainer with NSFT,
Have you had the Vamos experience! The team visited our ward at New Cross Hospital today, what a truly magical afternoon. The many smiles, giggles and interactions were all priceless and so very precious to see. I can not thank the team enough for the joy on every face, a very unique performance that reached every person on the ward.
Many thanks again your all superstars.
Disappointing again to read no performances in the northern home counties!!!
Hi Keith, we’re disappointed too! We try hard to take each tour to as many areas as we can and often the reason we aren’t performing in certain places in the country is because venues either can’t fit us into their schedules, or we can’t juggle the dates to make it possible within the geographical distances of the tour. With Sharing Joy, there is the added factor of connecting with venues and care homes that are able to host a performance for people living with dementia. Finding Joy, which tours in the autumn, will be at Chelmsford City Theatres, Cornerstone Didcot, Corn Exchange Newbury and Jacksons Lane in London. I hope you can make one of those. If you’d like to contact your local venue and recommend us, that’s also a fantastic way to get us nearer! Thanks for getting in touch.
I watched a private viewing of “Sharing Joy” today in Wymondham, Norfolk. I was especially impressed with the use of facial expressions which managed to convey compassion without condescension. I felt that the company were communicating with the audience in the same way, and with the same parity, they would do with their own loved ones, in a manner which suspended hierarchy and demonstrated true compassion. I enjoyed that the performance was interactive, but without pressure, and we had fun, but without ever feeling that the life experiences of the audience was taken lightly, or belittled. I have worked in dementia care, and as a dementia trainer for many years and know that these are difficult things to achieve, despite our often best intentions. As an audience member I felt equal with everyone in the room, dementia or not. I felt that we all shared something, and learned something from each other. The quiet compassion and gentle joy (pun intended) of the company were refreshing to see.
For me, this is the kind of performance that all care settings dealing with dementia should be able to put on every week. This should be the norm.
Conrad Debney-Dementia trainer and psychiatric service user
This morning Vamos Theatre brought their show ‘Sharing Joy’ to SLT and to local elderly residents and their carers. And share the joy they did. What a delight to see theatre used to such wonderful effect. We wish Vamos nothing but success for the rest of their tour!
I recently watched brave face at Eastwood theatre, Giffnock. Fantastic show, gave me better understanding of pads. I work within the addiction community and frequently come across people have pads. I saw the advertising on face book and would suggest that you advertise future shows on addiction sites.
My first Vamos show - was a bit hesitant but glad I went along. Amazing show - Brave Face had me laughing out loud and weeping inside. Loved it!
Well done to all involved with ‘A Brave Face ’ at Dundee last night . A thought provoking piece of drama that hits home in Vamos’s style of masked theatre - ’ a picture paints a thousand words ‘. Well done Rachael , well researched and written. Thanks to all cast members for transporting us all into Ryan’s world. Final show of tour tonight - good luck and best wishes to all.
One of the best plays I have seen-so emotive and thought provoking. I loved it!
We have just seen A Brave Face at the Swan theatre in Worcester.
We are such fans of Vamos and yet again we are truly amazed at your talent.
As the parents of a veteran who served in Afghanistan it brought back all the emotions
we felt at the time. Thankfully he did not suffer from PTS but your depiction of those who
did (do) was so well done. Thank you.
I saw the show in Bristol at the Tobacco Factory and I loved it. It was very moving and I was shocked how little I understood about PTSD. The masks are incredible the way they can have such feeling in them without moving. The mother was amazing in her simplicity. Thank you for a heartwarming evening.
We very much enjoyed A Brave Face at the Tobacco Factory last night. It was our first experience of silent, full mask theatre. With just a slight inclination of the head, a turn, a small shrug of the shoulders and more the full emotions of the characters were clear. The subject of PTSD was a difficult one to approach but within the shock of how the central character was changed by his experience of war there were many beautiful scenes and relationships explored. The communication between the characters was meaningful and emotional. The musical accompaniment supported the carefully shaped story without being at all over powering. Thank you for a thought provoking evening.
As a veteran with PTSD I was left in awe of how accurately this depicted my experiences. I have never seen a silent masked play before but I honestly dont know how this story could have been told in any other way! Amazing! I particularly enjoyed the attention to detail such as the ‘four finger pointing’ and ‘the tour video’ which made it clear that the cast must have spent significant time around veterans in the planning of this!
Please please come to the SW again. Have seen you at Frome and Exeter. My postcode is TA10 and would love to have you closer.
I LOVE your shows: powerfully moving, eloquent in movement and emotional impact, very funny and yet sad within a moment. I wouldn’t miss any show unless I really couldn’t make it!
I live in a town with a military base where a significant battle is still regularly commemorated. It was great to see such an effective representation of post traumatic stress disorder which is often the personal impact of conflict. The production dealt with this distressing experience with sensitivity and clarity. It was powerful and affecting without being confrontational or sentimental. Thank you for dealing with this topic in such a meaningful way. Bravo.
An amazing show, I was part of a group of veterans that are at various stages of PTS and for many this was the first outing for sometime in a group to a busy location such as the Brighton Festival. We were made to feel extremely welcome . The show had us gripped from start to finish, the emotions were very real for us all and captured the effects of PTS and the stigma around it.
Well done the whole cast you have worked very hard on this to get it right and you have . Thank you for helping Veterans that struggle with this and making others aware that it is real.
Hi Gary,Thankyou for coming.We were very sorry not to get a chance to say hello to you all.The nature of the festival meant we had to immediately strip the show out ready for the next one making us a bit busy.Very pleased you all came. sean kempton
I didn’t realise this was a masked,silent production, but I am glad that I went to see it as it was the first time I had seen a production of this kind.
The emotions that were able to be portrayed on a very difficult subject, conveyed in the different situations were masterfully carried out.
Credit to the production team, the writer and the actors.
What a brilliant show. I would recommend anyone who has a chance to go and see it. It’s surprising how much the very skilled actors could convey to the audience wearing fixed expression masks. It is a difficult subject for many to speak about but the play is done with compassion and sensitivity but also had it’s lighter moments. Although not a word is spoken throughout the performers’ skill made it very easy to understand the plot. There was many a damp eye in the theatre.
We saw A Brave Face at Stantonbury last night and once again were very impressed. We have now seen 4 of your performances (3 at Wellingborough) and all have been truely outstanding. The way you capture a story with both humour and sadness without words is remarkable and all the productions that we have seen have left us spell bound from the start. Our only dissapointment was that there were not any postcards of the production for us to purchase to add toour collection. Thank you and we really look forward to your next tour.
Saw Brave Face last night at Stantonbury. Never has any production moved me so strongly. This was my first Vamos but will certainly not be my last. Well done to you all.
I saw Brave Face at The Roses in Tewkesbury, only went on the off chance not at all sure that silent mask theatre was for us - I could not have been more wrong - The whole thing was spellbinding from start to finish, I along with the rest of the audience sat in utter silence the whole way through (except for the odd sniffle) it was the most emotional play it has ever been my privilege to watch and at one point I actually thought I would sob out loud (if you knew me that is not what I do ever)! It touched me as a mum and as a sister and just as an ordinary person who does not give enough thought to what we ask of our young men in the forces - as an acting company you are completely amazing I would recommend anyone to come watch you and be thoroughly amazed - I was so convinced by your characters that when you removed the masks I was almost shocked by who was beneath - truly great work!
I just saw Brave Face shared on Facebook and found the trailers very encouraging. I work with a group helping Canadian Veterans dealing with PTS and educating our communities about how to embrace and help them on return. I would love to see this show tour in Canada…do you have any North American tour plans? Can we encourage some?!
Thank you so much for what you have created here. Truly important work.
Emma - and all the team at The Forge, Quesnel, British Columbia.
Thank you so much for your comment. We do tour internationally but we don’t yet have contacts in your part of the world. YES YES YES please try to encourage some!
Thank you Emma and The Forge team, it’s great to receive your comments - it’s certainly clear that PTS has no borders. Sadly, we don’t have any plans to tour in North America, but it’s certainly something we would consider if the interest was there - so do spread the word about us! Thanks again for posting.
I was lucky enough to see Brave face at the Mumford theatre in Cambridge last night.
My first experience of a mask show, and also of Vamos.
I could not believe how so many emotions could be portrayed through a fixed face mask, and also passed on to the audience to feel their characters…for a short while?
A very difficult (and until recently) subject to talk about, but Vamos don’t talk, their characters speak to you with every step, jump, shake, and hug.
There were a few moist eyes when five very talented people showed us their real faces, and I was one.
My husband and I were given tickets by our daughter who had already seen this play. I was mesmerised from beginning to end. It was funny and sad and so poignant. It did an amazing job of telling such an important story. As a country I think we are getting better at talking about mental health issues but we still need plays such as this to help bring these things out into the open.
What truly surprised me though was how much can be communicated through body language alone. My brain seemed to fill in the facial expressions - the masks, without actually changing, seemed always to have the right look. The cleverness of the mime was stunning, nothing was exaggerated, it was all very subtle but said so much - one particular example was when the mum and son were waiting for the doctor and she just sat gently patting his knee. It was such a small movement, but there was so much love and care in that simple gesture. It was such a ‘mum’ thing to do. Perfect! I would happily see it again and definitely want to see more from this company.
I saw ‘A Brave Face’ at Hertford Theatre and found it extremely emotional, in fact I became unexpectedly overwhelmed at the end. I particularly related to the relationship between the mother and son and thought it was beautifully portrayed in a way I didn’t think possible without dialogue or facial expressions. In fact the absence of these things made it all the more powerful.
I saw A Brave Face in Shrewsbury and was very moved. For those of us with no connection to the forces it was a reminder again of the messiness of war and what it does to the lives of civilians on both sides as well as to soldiers.
As the mother of a young man I especially felt for the mother and thought the way she portrayed that relationship was beautiful. You still want to protect your child from the world and from anything that makes him sad, even when he’s a grown man.
I travelled to Afghanistan a long time ago and what has happened there in the last 40 years is heartbreaking.
I also found myself thinking afterwards about the First World War and what happened to shell-shocked soldiers .
Thank you all.
Thank you, Emma, and everyone who’s taken the time to comment lately on A Brave Face. Part of our ethos is to use mask theatre to encourage empathy, and it makes the world of difference to us to hear how the show has got people thinking about others, and how they might be feeling. Thanks for taking the time to get in touch.
Spell bound for over 1.5hours and no words spoken by the performers or the audience, I was just lost in the story and emotion!
Very impressed with the whole performance, it left me quite emotional.
By coincidence, as we had attended more to see the fresh experience of full mask theatre, our daughter retired from the RAF recently, having served abroad in various places, so the impact of the narrative had additional resonance.
We completely enjoyed the performance, beautiful masks and the music, so important as part of the dramatic whole. A simple, and thus very effective way, of conveying this message. Clearly suitable for a raft of different audiences from children to the old(er), hearing-challenged (like us!).
Hoping for the chance of seeing further presentations from this company.
Saw A Brave Face at The Artrix last night. Blown away it was wonderful, poignant, emotional, funny in fact bloody awesome. My husband is a veteran he liked the portrayal of the effect on the family and friends ptsd has. Thank you for a thought provoking awesome night.
A Brave Face was the second play I have seen from this innovative company. It was both moving, funny, sad and all the emotions you can think of. We took an elderly friend with us, and were concerned that she might find it rather strange; how wrong could we be! she agreed with us that it was a delight, a moving experience not to be missed. We all look forward to their next tour.
Felt like holding our breath for an hour and twenty minutes. Stunning. Sensitive. Spell-binding. To portray so much with purely physical acting. It felt like words would have gotten in the way.
Thank you and well done to everyone involved in this production, both on stage and off. It’s clear when you watch the performance that so much research has gone into this production. I was apprehensive about the no talking and wearing of masks but actually I think it works so perfectly for the topic of mental health, as we each would suffer from and interpret PTS differently.
I have been taught about PTS in a classroom but I think seeing this play has really deepened my understanding. Overall, really impressive and really moving.
Friends recommended Vamos. We went to their powerful performance of ‘A Brave Face’ last night. The mime and mask performance itself asks the audience to think more broadly. It worked intriguingly well for a stark subject told simply and sensitively. Brilliantly directed and performed. I will become a ‘groupie’.
Incredibly moving and insightful , This is the second Vamos theatre production I have seen and certainly won’t be the last.
Just finished a “Listen with your Eyes” workshop. It was energising, illuminating and fun.
It also provided the best explanation and demonstration of Mehrabian and Ferris (1967) “Words, music and dance” theory that I have heard/seen.
We have just got back from seeing A Brave Face at Theatre Royal Bury. Wonderful performance, very moving and highly emotional. Brilliant work by the cast and all those behind the scenes.
An amazing evening thanks to Vamos. A roller coaster of highs and lows delivered by a talented and authentic team. A Brave Face will have a special place in my memory bank. Thank you!
Myself ( ex TA ) and my husband (still serving) saw’ A Brave face’ at Greenwich Theatre. We were impressed at how well the mime and use of masks conveyed the startling emotions that PTSD can include. We were both very moved by the performance- in particular the scene with the wheelie bin and how difficult it was for Ryan’s mum and sister to know what to do or how to help him. It made us cry but we laughed too at the funny bits. I was surprised that i understood the story as I thought that mime might be difficult to follow.A thought provoking performance.
I saw brave face last night at the unity theatre Liverpool and was very impressed and am recommending it to friends.
Very impressed with Vamos this was the second production I have seen,and I was not disappointed I have recommended it to lots of my friends. I saw it in Malvern and have booked it again in Worcester to take another friend.
I wondered whether the theme of the play would be a bit depressing However it was very cleverly potrayed with humerous episodes . A really enjoyable evening and huge admiration for the clever acting I will definately look out for next year’s production
Wonderful performance of ‘A Brave Face’ at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre on 13th March (my apologies for the delay in giving feedback). I’ve seen 3 productions (4 shows - Nursing Lives twice) and never fail to be impressed by the talents you show in your performances. Difficult for some actors (no names) to portray emotion with their own faces, yet you all do with behind a mask with perfect body language and the subtle use of music.
Have just been to the Marlowe theatre to see A Brave Face. What a fantastic show. Loved every bit of it. I think it is the most amazing show. The actors are superb. This is the 3rd show I have seen and just love the whole concept. Can’t praise it enough. Cried and laughed. Brilliant.
We came to see ‘Brave Face’ last Thurs pm in Malvern. We had a really good evening but not as outstanding as ‘The Little Match Girl’ and Happier Tales which was on around the same time at same venue! We found the recorded music and acting repetitive towards the end. The music especially trivialised the subject matter. Maybe you should explore classical. Or live music on stage (cost I know!) Currently it sounded like elevator music!
A brilliant show with some very funny moments and sad ones too, quite thought provoking and a sensitive portrayal of PTSD. The post show talk with the performers was interesting and enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable. A must see show for all. Thank you.
I made it at last! Brave Face at Malvern last night 29th March ‘18 was interesting and inspiring. It was good to be able to ask questions of the actors at the end and see the people behind the masks - congratulations to all involved.
I can understand the emphasis on veterans in this piece but trauma can explain much mental illness so called if only the system had time to listen - well demonstrated in your piece.
Speaking to people on train journeys is amazing. I met Rachael Savage and Matthew Green on separate train journeys and….....
I saw A Brave Face at the Spring, Havant, last week with friends who have seen your shows before. I thought it was wonderful, so moving and clever in expressing so much without words. I see you were at the Northcott in Exeter earlier in the week. I shall look out for future visits and recommend you to everyone. Very best wishes for the rest of the tour. Lynda Ewing
As my display name suggests I served close to four decades, now fairly recently retired, in the Army. My wife saw Brave Face advertised as showing at the Hereford college of Arts and we booked on a whim. I really had no idea what to expect apart from the general concept which initially I wasn’t particularly enamoured by - I cant tell you now just how pleased I am that we went along.
A lot of my views have already been posted by others, (well acted, thought provoking, clever, etc.) but I would like to add that the play was still a little unnerving for someone of my background. I do not have PTSD or suffer from any mental health issues as a result of my service (I don’t think!) but it still made me twitch in places.
I now volunteer for a service charity and have completed some mental health awareness training and see many clients looking for various forms of help, a percentage of whom have a range of mental health issues.
This play hits all the way-markers along the long route from basic training to a start to, hopefully, full recovery, via the actual PTSD trauma event experienced. It has clearly been put together by someone who has first hand experience in either the military or health service or more likely both; I would recommend that anyone thinking of volunteering for a service charity go and see this play, you will benefit from the experience. Even if you are not thinking along these lines I urge you to go and see it anyway, you will come away with a better understanding of what some service people and their families go through and will be better informed in the process. Oh, and it is not all doom and gloom, it is also fantastic to watch and has great flashes of military humour!
Went to see the show last night at Newbury. Very powerful and accurate show. i am a serving member of the forces and have been diagnosed with PTSD, this show helped me in assessing my point of recovery.
Well done to the team and i would highly recommend going to see this powerful show!
Big fan of Vamos since seeing Nursing Lives in 2010
No links to military
A Brave Face is a brilliant portrayal of what it means to be a soldier and the effects of PTSD on only on the veteran but also on the family. Very thought provoking and very sad. The emotions as always with Vamos productions are shown incredibly well just by body language with no speech or facial expression. This is an excellent way of raising awareness of PTSD.
We have loved all the plays we have seen at the Northcott Theatre Exeter. Last nights was very thought provoking. The masks etc are amazing! Hope you come again soon with a new play.
Well, what a performance…A Brave Face…...I first saw Vamos in Nursing Lives in the Guildhall Theatre in Derby and was blown away as were my friends…..A Brave Face said so much “without saying a word”...poignant, amusing (learning to march) and heartbreaking….my friends sister who saw your performance for the first time was enthralled and in the Foyer at the Pomegranate and after the show left her number with one of your Cast as she lives in Leeds and “you don’t go up North” apparently…...and she wants the North to share what she saw…....
Thanks so much for posting, Lynn and supporting us ever since Nursing Lives! A Brave Face doesn’t have many northern England dates (well, north of Liverpool) but that is more to do with the vagaries of tour booking, - sometimes our dates and venue dates just don’t go together. We definitely DO tour to the north of England though, with venues in Yorkshire (including Carriageworks, Leeds) Lancashire and Cumbria. If your friends would like a venue near them to host one of our shows, why not encourage them to get in touch with the venue and recommend us? It’s word of mouth often makes the greatest difference. Thanks again for coming to see A Brave Face.
I’m a huge fan of Vamos!! Just been to see A Brave Face at the Arena Wolverhampton, It did not disappoint, If you have not seen one of these plays, please make the effort you will be amazed how they tell the story through mine and body language, thank you Vamos!!
LOYAL AND LONG STANDING FANS OF VAMOS. SAW BRAVE FACE AT ARENA LAST NIGHT AND REALLY ENJOYED THE THOUGHT PROVOKING PERFORMANCE
What a performance of A Brave Face! I’m a huge fan of Vamos’ work, and this show more than lives up to expectations. A production that doesn’t go for the belly laughs, but makes us smile at times is all the more powerful because of it. Post Traumatic Stress in military veterans is something that should affect us all - we see the result on our streets every night. If anything can improve awareness, and generate government action, then this show will!
A Brave Face itself is brave, subtle, moving, and true. At times funny, but more often heart-breakingly sad, the story is searingly told - all the more powerfully because there are no words, and the actors wear full masks, so it’s unique to you, the audience member. This show, and the images it conjures up will linger long in the memory. Thank you Vamos Theatre. Oh, and you will struggle to spend a more rewarding hour and a quarter, so do see it while you can!
A Brave Face / Milford Haven Torch Theatre
It’s amazing how well body language and mannerisms can convey emotion. The absence of language actually caused me to pay more attention throughout and the well-acted performance kept me interested and engaged!
Very well made and presented, thank you for a wonderful show!
And a PS re A Brave Face at Jersey Art Centre, Feb 28. I still find it hard to believe that he young white soldier was played by an actor with white hair - the soldier’s movements seemed absolutely to belong to someone much younger than the actor!
Following the format of the feedback questionnaire
Jersey Art Centre [for A Brave Face]
First time to see Vamos
No links with military
I thought the performance was excellent. I was almost on the edge of my seat with the tension, during parts of the programme. Even though I ‘know’ all that was portrayed, the show made me feel it: the excitement of joining up; the cameraderie and care for others amongst the soldiers; their brutalisation; the unintended and negative impacts of the contact between 2 cultures (and the humanity); the strain on the family and on the soldiers; the sadness and worry and despair; the officialdom and rigidity surrounding and lack of sympathy for PTS sufferers. And a very strong feeling of how so very very few of us have to face and try to survive such situations.
Saw ‘A Brave Face’ at The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. It was riveting!
Many congratulations to Rachael Savage who has painstakingly researched, written and directed this amazing piece of theatre.
Congratulations also to all of the production team at Vamos Theatre and to the cast. It moved me to the core.
A Brave Face, Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, Friday, 22nd February 2018.
I have to admit that when I saw A Brave Face advertised, I dismissed it, as I wasn’t keen on the puppet faces, so just bypassed it. I then received a notification of the production from my local theatre, without the poster, which forced me to read about it. What I read interested me, as I have family in the forces and know about PTSD, so then went to book it, only to realise that it was a show I had formerly dismissed.
I am so glad I was able to see this performance. It was absolutely fantastic, well written and very well performed. Although this is a silent production, it was easy to follow and at times had me welling up with tears.
This is a good introduction to anyone wanting to know more about PTSD and the effects it has on our military and their families.
Congratulations on a wonderful production and bringing this subject to the public’s attention. I am so glad I had the opportunity to be in the audience. I will take more notice of advertising posters in future!
Saw “A Brave Face” at the Mercury, Colchester on Friday, 9th February. It was superb. Thought provoking, humorous, educational and tear jerking. The time just flew by. It truly deserved the standing ovation it received. PTSD is a condition heard about in the news but rarely spoken of, let alone understood by the public at large and those who suffer from it suffer derision as a result. Productions like this tip the balance in the opposite direction. If truth be told I was left with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. Bravo!
Just seen A Brave Face. The entire production was fantastic. Such a thought provoking and moving piece. I felt I was transported to every location. PTSD such an important subject, thank you for your insight .
We saw Vamos Theatre for the first time with “Finding Joy” at the Greenbelt Arts Festival last year and were amazed and astounded. On looking through the brochure for the New Wolsey in Ipswich we noticed them, but alas we couldn’t go on that day. However the website listed yesterday’s performance at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester, and we were able to invite two friends who hadn’t heard of them. None of us were disappointed. And what a surprise when the masks came off!
PS Note to webmaster: don’t put short timeouts on forms like this, because if you’re typing a long comment and pause for a while you’ve lost it, can’t go back, probably forgot what you’d written and don’t bother to try again. Timeouts are entirely unnecessary, so get rid of the timeout!
I saw Brave Face tonight. Great bit of theatre! Amazing to tell such a moving story (set of stories really) with mime and masks. Beautiful set and lights that took us to all the different places so effectively (don’t want to list the places - no spoilers!). I knew (a bit) about ptsd before but the simplicity of tonight’s play (no words no ‘real’ faces) makes you see it clearly and sort of deeply. Thanks so much for a really memorable show.
Have just seen Brave Face at Colchester, it was an excellent production with perfect music. We found the play thought provoking and very enjoyable, such a shame that the theatre was half full only. People don’t know what they are missing. Our only query is with the man with an ironing board at the start of the play - who was he?
hi Gill, thanks for your lovely comments and so glad you enjoyed the show. The man with the ironing board? That was Ravi, Ryan’s mate, who comes to pick him up (in the first scene) on the day they join up. He’s the third of the trio (Ryan, Ravi and strongman Jimmy) that you see throughout the army sequences. When we showed the scene to our Veteran advisors, they said that ironing is such a big part of the army that recruits will often bring their own ironing boards! So that’s why Ravi has one - he’s also in a suit rather than combat gear as this too is typical of joining up day. Hope that helps make things clearer - thanks again and please spread the word.
Really enjoyed A Brave Face at Jacksons Lane, I’ve never seen full mask before and I was a bit worried I wouldn’t understand the story, but it was really accessible in the end and the story was very moving.
Great to see a UK company at London International Mime Festival - your show was my highlight, thank you
Bit confused by my reactions and those of my friends after last Thursday’s show Brave face. My enthusiasm for Finding joy motivated my mates to buy tickets for this show. I had loved everything about the last show so many twists and turns in the story so many quirky characters that we enjoyed seeing return. Perhaps the storyline here can’t help follow a certain course because of the subject matter but I wasn’t surprised enough to feel gripped by the story. The music did seem to dominate this time and was something my friends were uneasy with from the start. As before I loved the interactions and games or rituals the characters have along the way. I was happy to see you guys in action again , but disappointed that it wasn’t my friends cup of tea. Have a great tour x
Saw A Brave Face at Jackson’s Theatre 3 Feb 2018. Another truly outstanding production - congratulations to everyone involved in sympathetically presenting a difficult topic. I respectfully offer the following comments:
Consider listing specific music credits for people to follow-up on. Music and soundtrack plays such an important part in telling your stories but often neglected. I identified The Killers prior to the performance actually starting, and The Decemberists ‘This is why we fight’ to end with - crucial songs but both uncredited in your publicity. Also I am now embarking on tracking down the piece used in the nightclub scene and in Ryan’s home video - again, both key scenes that rely on music but both uncredited.
The army training scenes are excellent – beautifully choreographed and a nice progression. The patrol scenes are good but come very close to being a bit too repetitive. I appreciate the difficulty in being innovative – one possibility might be to exploit that repetitiveness and play each patrol using ‘exactly’ the same movements. This would serve to emphasize the potentially boring nature of patrols but the importance of being disciplined in following the same routine.
In my own experience of dealing with PTS (as a paramedic of 30+ years) one of my abiding recollections is of living in darkness. I wonder if this could be incorporated into your performance through the lighting somehow - Ryan inhabits a darker lit stage, or gravitates towards it, or there is a greater lighting contrast between him and his family? Or perhaps adapt a scene where he is in darkness and is led into the light.
Thank you so much for your detailed comments, especially as PTS is something you have experience of living with.
I can answer the music-related questions for you: firstly, it’s really good to know that people are listening to the pre-show and post-show. For me (as composer/music editor) they are as important as any of the music in the show. The other tracks you asked about are - Riverside by Sidney Samson (a Dutch DJ) - radio edit version (used for the nightclub), and Love Machine by Girls Aloud (home video). These aren’t credited in the programme mainly because the programme is put together before the music is definitely fixed, and also because it’s standard theatre practice not to: the artists benefit from PRS payments tho.
I hope you don’t mind, but we haven’t posted your second comment. This is because it contains plot spoilers and we would hate to let people know what happens at the end before they see the show. I’ll make sure, tho, that the show’s director, Rachael, sees what you’ve written as I’m sure she’ll find them interesting.
Finally, we’re really sorry about the maximum word count! We’ve known about this for a while and it is top of the list on our new web developments, which are happening in the next few weeks, so we will have it sorted soon. Thanks again for getting in touch.
We’ve just returned from seeing the opening night of A Brave Face, it was amazing and judging by the audience reaction I wasn’t the only one who thought it!
Another triumph for Vamos - very best wishes for the rest of the tour.
I attended a Listening With Your Eyes workshop on 15th December 2017 and found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable experience. A disparate group of individuals became a focussed team in no time after a couple of hilarious exercises. We learnt the importance of body language, eye contact, facial expression, touch and music in any contact with people suffering from dementia. I was enthralled and uplifted. Thank you.
15 Dec 2017 Interesting and thought provoking session although no one directly in my life has suffered with the condition yet but I come into contact with sufferers volunteering as a driver for a local charity. Discussed after the session whether there might be a role for amateur theatre groups or theatre generally including professional theatre as a “force multiplier” for what you do in this area ... but noted your performances are all mime based ... all the same might it not be possible to ‘adopt’ a playwright/scriptwriter or two (aykbourn, boyle, cerrie burnell [heard on bbc4 this morning] etc etc) to make a play/script that reflects the story you are telling and get it out there to an even wider public by doing it with a powerful script as well as the original mime version. Best wishes - you are doing a great job.
I attended the listening with your eyes workshop. This provided lots of interactive fun and supported developing insight into non verbal communication and tone for use with those experiencing dementia. The facilitation was excellent and I certainly feel I have added to my skills and empathy whilst affirming what I already knew.
I watched “Finding Joy” at the Corn Exchange in Newbury in November. Many of our clients have dementia - if only we could clone Danny to produce even more wonderful carers!! Interesting to watch Danny teach his mother how to care for her mother. Dementia can be overwhelming for all concerned and “Finding Joy” helped to show the way. Great production and thank you.
I watched Finding Joy at the Belgrade theater in Coventry and what an amazing theater production it was, beautifully delivered, I had laughter , tears throughout the production, it never ceases to amaze me how people living with dementia are able to communicate with out using words and you portrayed that with your production, fantastic and powerful, thank you.
I saw your production on Finding Joy at the Belgrade Coventry last Saturday. It was absolutely wonderful, my friends and I left the theatre elated. I am not a carer but my son is involved with Magic Me and is also researching the arts and dementia at the Welcome Trust. I have learned from him that feelings are the most important experience for people with dementia. I thought the way you brought this out was brilliant. What seem like random, confused movements being understood was really tender as well as funny.
I had the pleasure of attending your production of FINDING JOY at the Belgrade Theatre on Friday 17th November. I am dementia lead for a large care home company, and have a lot of experience supporting people with dementia and their carers. I found the way you portrayed the lady with dementia was insightful, touching and thought-provoking. So many small touches which just hit the spot, and gave a window into how people with dementia relate to the world around them. The way you linked her reality now to her experiences in the past was beautifully done, and made me think hard. Thank you for a moving and uplifting experience.
Another brilliant performance in Newbury last night. I have now seen your productions four times, you get better all the time. I look forward to ” Brave Face ” in the spring,.
Good Luck and thank you.
My wife and I went to the Walker Theatre, Shrewsbury on 2nd November 2017 to see Finding Joy.
We both found it to be one of the most thought provoking, moving and brilliant productions we’ve ever seen. Unfortunately we have experienced this with both of our mothers so it was particularly affecting.
Neither of us had ever seen a play performed without words and were somewhat dubious about the prospect, but we soon realised that words were unnecessary as the acting was so fantastic. Not only were the actors skilled,they were also wonderful, warm and kind people as we discovered on meeting them after the play . Certain activities/behaviours resonated so much with us that we both blubbered as we watched transfixed. I’m not generally given to writing notes like this but I felt it important that you should know how wonderful this production is/was and can’t wait for the next one - more tissues will be taken. regards Jonathan & Gay Taylor
Thank you for taking the time to write and tell us that, Jonathan and Gay, it means so much to us that we are making theatre that resonates with people. Tour dates for A Brave Face, our new production, will be released in the next couple of weeks, so please do come to see that if you can (I’m afraid tissues might once again be needed!)
I thought that this play was just wonderful! So true to life, poignant and laugh out loud funny! As a carer for many folk with dementia in the past, it rang so many bells for me and was a truly informative and educational way to get the dementia message across. I thought it was brilliantly acted, amazing masks which seems to change expression as the actors did their stuff. It can’t have been easy to act with a mask on. Very hot I should think. Well done to all involved with this production!! Would love e to see you up in Inverness again.
Finding Joy!! I have just returned home after seeing this production in Whitby. I have to say it was fantastic! At first I was concerned about the masks, then realised that there wouldn’t be any speaking? How’s this going to work?? But work it certainly did. I have worked with elderly people, in a day centre, so could relate to some of what was happening to Joy but this ......... It was an absolute Joy to watch and I still can’t believe there were only 4 actors.
If you get the chance please go and see for yourself. Well done to all concerned.
Wow what a fantastic performance yet again!
I lost my dear mum to dementia in January this year and this show certainly brought back memories, it really touched my heart and made me laugh & cry… it covers everything families go through when a loved one suffers from dementia…so very well portrayed.
Hats off to Vamos, looking forward to the next one…
Breathtakingly funny yet at the same time emotional production! We saw ‘Finding Joy’ in Shrewsbury last Friday. My mom had dementia and as soon as I saw the harrassed daughter I knew that I was in for a testing time! Mom passed away two and a half years ago and a lot of what I saw brought things back in a very cathartic way. Cried buckets at the end (I didn’t have a happy ending unfortunately) but am so very glad that I came to see it as it made me feel that others understand what my family and I went through. Would thoroughly recommend this play to anyone who has gone through similar.
We saw Vamos at Shrewsbury Theatre last night. Didn’t know quite what to expect as my friend told me the story was conveyed without words but by music, expression and gesture. I was totally blown away. It was a very moving story told by four amazing actors. I couldn’t believe that there were only four actors portraying so many different characters. I was both amused and moved by such a funny yet poignant portrayal of a family coping with dementia. Looking forward to seeing them again soon, I will definitely be seeking them out to watch them again. I work in a special school and communication is paramount, this has opened my eyes in terms of non verbal communication.
Touching, emotional and beautiful production at The Theatre Severn last night. Highly recommended.
‘Finding Joy’ at Shrewsbury was a masterpiece!
Very well performed throughout, and a real living story.
You were all brilliant. Well done everyone.
Went to see ‘Finding Joy’ at The Garrick in Lichfield last Friday, didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised at how such a moving story can be so brilliantly performed without one word being spoken, just body language that aimed straight to the heart and evoked such powerful emotions. The performance was so true and well detailed in every aspect of dementia, it brought back to me all my mum went through and the emotional rollercoaster I experienced as a carer and daughter watching my lovely mum deteriorate before my eyes.
I left the theatre feeling so sad and yet amazed at how clever these guys are at getting this important subject across to the audience so brilliantly. Hats off to you all Vamos, I am truly impressed.
Saw ’ Finding Joy’ in Reading last night. A moving story very effectively told. I always thought that I don’t like mime or masked performance but Vamos totally changed my mind! A totally absorbing evening
This was the second time that i had seen the Vamos theatre group at rhodes theatre bishops stortford.
The first time i was speechless and could not believe how a story could be portrayed without a single word spoken. This time i took two friends , one who works at the local hospital on the ward with dementia patients and one who had experienced dementia with her father. They were both so moved. The mix of love, humour and sadness was just amazing. well done to you four incredibly talented people for putting the story across to so many.
I will be telling all of my family and friends about it
Finding Joy weel observed, poignant and surely close to the experience of many including me. Excellent performance of great relevance to all of us. Thank you.
Just watched a performance of Finding Joy at The Lichfield Garrick Theatre, and it was absolutely amazing. I was blubbing within the first 10 minutes! It was so powerful and touching to watch the relationship and understanding grow between Danny and Joy, and also the journey that Danny’s mother went on from total annoyance to trying to do things on Joy’s terms. Every time joy had a flashback, I cried. I had stopped bothering to wipe my tears by the end of the show. It was so lovely to see a show about this; my nan has early-onset dementia, and it really struck a chord with me, watching you four perform tonight (which was even more amazing, because I thought that there were at least six of you!)
As a young actress in her last year of school, it was eye-opening for me to see drama as I had never really experienced it before; we have touched on mask work in class before, but it was never taught in depth, and I didn’t really have any appreciation for it up until very recently, when my Youth Theatre director started to properly workshop masks in our sessions because of your tour coming to our theatre. Vamos has opened up so many new avenues for me that I didn’t think were possible, and joining a mask company professionally now is a real consideration!
Because breaking it down, the job of a good actor is to be a great story-teller, and you all portrayed this story beautifully.
Hi Grace, thanks so much for your lovely comments about Finding Joy - it’s particularly good to know that the show encourages you to perform more mask yourself. I’ve passed on your comments about the show to the company. And If you haven’t done already, do join our mailing list - you’ll find out about any upcoming workshops, performances, or auditions that you may be interested in in the future - good luck with your acting career and please do stay in touch!
Our first visit to the Tolmen Centre and our first experience of Vamos. Finding Joy was, speaking as a theatre-goer not as a carer, wonderful - it’s a long time since I have seen any mask theatre (Trestle and Trading Faces in times gone by) and this certainly met / exceeded expectations. Funny, sad, moving, beautiful delivered.
Saw wonderful production last night in wadebridge, cornwall. Amazing how much detail, emotion and understanding can be conveyed with just mime. Shows how important body language is in our daily lives.
Just seen Finding Joy at Wadebridge - a moving story beautifully told. The masks provided just the right amount of distance in respect of the subject matter for both the audience and the actors. I was a career for some years as my husband slid into the alternate world of dementia and found this production cathartic. Congratulations and thanks to the company.
We just went to see Finding Joy at the Tolman Centre in Constantine tonight and loved it. A brilliant combination of humour and pathos with some good tunes. Well done Vamos!,