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Fantastic workshop today (Revealing the mask - level 1) led by Honor. I’m an ex-professional actress, but there were participants with a wide range of theatre experience (ages from 15 to 60+) and we all got an enormous amount out of the day. It was great to see progression from everyone and with Honor’s encouragement we all felt confident by the end of the day to devise short scenes and perform in full mask, inspired by minimal props.Thanks a million! Highly recommended.
I had the privilege of watching the final performance at Theatr Clwyd tonight. It opened up a rollercoaster of emotion, and memories that had been hidden away…..
A truly captivating and brilliantly constructed piece of theatre that doesn’t leave a dry eye in the house.
Thank you .......
I had the pleasure of watching Finding Joy on Monday 19th November 2018.
It really touched my heart and I deeply admire the cause and drive behind creating this wonderful piece of theatre.
As a performance artist myself, I know what it takes to make a character come to life, and watching these brilliant actors do just that simply with body language was incredible!
I will definitely be watching future performances and work ✨
We came to see your show last night at Tacchi Morris in Taunton, (had seen you before and logged how good you were)
A packed house, full of coaches of teenagers from school drama, and right through the show everyone was spellbound….
An incredibly well researched, well acted, thought provoking, educational awareness raising peice - well done
Everyone deserves to see it, if you had been doing more performances I’m sure word of mouth would have filled halls over several nights.
Excellent, we hope to see your next show coming early 2019
I went to see the ‘Finding Joy’ performance at the Coach house Malvern on Tuesday and I thought that it was brilliant. Full of humour and sadness, thought provoking and sending out a really positive message about Dementia and those that care for anyone with the condition. With the right attitude it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.
We saw ‘Finding Joy’ at Taunton last night. A super and though provoking production played to an appreciative full house. Congratulations to all concerned in this play.
Saw Finding Joy last night at Malvern. Truly brilliant - funny, moving and engaging. Would never have thought that so much could be said without words, or so much expression in static masks. Well done to the whole team.
Saw your wonderful production at Malvern last night. I wish I had seen your play before looking after two people with dementia for many years!
Fantastic portrayal of all characters.
Just come home from seeing your show in Aylesbury! You were all absolutely brilliant, your execution of Dementia was spot on
‘Finding Joy’ was amazing! It was so sensitive and punctuated by those instances where the person with dementia ‘wins’, such as the tussle with the shoulder-bag. We look forward to future productions.
It was very moving and I think that everyone could learn something and take something away from the performance.
Thank you Alisha, Thomas, Jason, Katie, Talia, Zoe, Fraser, and Louis for letting us know what you thought of Finding Joy. We always love coming to National Star and you were a fantastic audience! Thank you to everyone for making us so welcome.
I enjoyed the food fighting, The acting was really good.
I saw it at the Star college. It was moving and good.
I went through every emotion possible throughout the performance. I am so glad I watched it.
I liked the masks. You know what they are doing without talking.
Zoe saw the relaxed performance at the Star college. When asked what she enjoyed she gave a thumbs up and said on her communicator “I like doctor, funny”.
I saw the relaxed performance at the Star College. It was all fantastic. I really liked when the doctor took her handbag and she smacked his hand. It showed she was attached to it - she even wanted to sleep with it.
I liked the bit where the boys pretended to fight. It made me laugh.
Saw the show at Bromyard last night. I have loved every Vamos performance but Finding Joy was extra special - so poignant and thought provoking but funny as well. The production’s ability to convey the atmosphere and emotions is simply brilliant. The characters, set and music stimulates your own interpretation to such an extent that you feel an integral part of each situation. There is no dialogue yet the artistic narrative speaks to you in spades. This really is a “must see” show.
Just seen finding joy
It was the most moving performance i ever seen and portrays life of person with dementia so well and struggles that loved ones have to go through day in day out ! But also such heart warming the joy they bring to everyone of their loved ones.
Sums it up lovely it brings many memories back of loved ones dementia or not. At somepoint in performance people will be in tears
I also work in nhs mental health in a older adult and dementia ward i just watched and also had so many emotions going on in one i also def think this should be shown more around all uk i know its coming to an end but also feel if way to come to place work and put on performance in an eve i think that would be so beneficial to all staff not just ones who work with these people but the whole hospital as any one of us could come across a person with dementia
Fab show thank you so much
I saw the show at the RSC Other Place last Saturday evening 10th November. I had booked the tickets not really knowing what to expect. It was my birthday and after a meal with 3 girlfriends I thought it would be something different. So different! I didn’t know it was silent theatre, but the maxim “actions speak louder than words” is definitely at work here. The masks immediately show the character and the actions follow through.So clever! And yes- delightfully funny in parts and moved to tears in others. Thank you!
We saw Finding Joy in Stratford upon Avon this week. The observation of your splendid work that I would like to make it that is unlocked the buried trauma and sadness of supporting a vulnerable parent who had disappeared into a confusing a tragic world of dementia. It was so cathartic alongside being the most powerful piece of theatre we have ever seen. I had not realised how much I had hidden away and although painful was the most healing experience. Coping with the daily changes, fear, struggle and total inadequacy is a deep scar. If only I had understood, knew what to do, done things differently. When the actor who played the lady with dementia walked onto the stage in her slippers I thought “Oh my God, it’s my Mother”. It was an exact and complete replica of her demise. I was heartbroken all over again but now in a time when I can face my demons and release some of the pain. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much for your comment. Delighted to hear it was cathartic and I know too well that it’s painful too. Please do keep in touch and thanks again for your brave feedback. Love Rachael
Just back from watching the show in Stratford. Wasn’t sure what to expect but it was one of the most moving productions I have ever seen. There was no spoken word but the acting spoke volumes. I cried and I laughed, and it certainly will stay with me for a long time. Many thanks Varnos for bringing such joy into my evening.
We saw Finding Joy at RSC The Other Place in Stratford. We were delighted at the sheer artistry of masked mime - the masks themselves are amazing, but it was the way the actors physically told the story of their characters so that we knew unmistakably their emotions and thoughts, that was so very good. Dementia is so varied as we know now, but the gift of this play is the authentic story of its characters - not just finding joy, but love as much for the grandson as his mother. We laughed and cried in equal measure. Many thanks for this great bit of theatre.
I went to the chilled performance of “Finding Joy” because I thought I might want to leave the performance early as I was a bit dubious about a masked performance without words. I didn’t leave, I loved it. I laughed and I cried, I found it incredibly emotional. The play was cleverly constructed and the characters were beautifully portrayed. My husband and I both thought the whole thing a joy. Thank you to all those involved.
I saw this production for the third time last night at the Arena theatre, I found it as moving as the previous times, I encouraged at least seven new audience members to come and see Finding Joy, they were all amazed and moved by the play.
Thank you so much for a wonderful and memorable performance,
Regards from an Amigo!
I saw Joy last night in Chelmsford. What a wonderful experience. Funny, moving, unforgetable. Everything was just right. It will stay with me for a long time. Please come back soon. I will spread the word. Many thanks to all the team.
I saw the show in Bromsgrove, and had no idea what to expect, because a friend had booked the tickets on the recommendation of someone else. Our little theatre was packed, the performance moving, funny and accomplished and It has stayed in my mind all week.
I saw Finding Joy yesterday at the Corn Exchange in Newbury. What a sad, moving, funny, uplifting, joyous production it was! Even without speech, the actors connected brilliantly with the audience. The masks very cleverly communicated the personalities of the characters. I loved it!
I went with a friend to the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven to see your production of Finding Joy. Did not know what to expect as never having seen one of your preductions before.
I would recommend anyone to go and see it. There was so much humour and sadness portrayed without words. I will definitely go to your next production when it is in my area.
Thank you so much for bringing this issue into the public domain.
I have just seen Finding Joy at the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven. What an incredible portrayal of living with dementia, full of humility, insight, laughter and tears - and joy, without words. In fact words were not necessary. The ability of these masked actors to bring their story to life with physical expression, dance and fun was so clever - I was completely entranced from beginning to end. And yes I laughed and cried. I enjoyed chatting to the actors afterwards. I work in the NHS and I feel this could be a way forward in helping staff to gain insight and learn about dementia in a humanistic and down to earth way. Truly amazing. Congratulations.
Hello Lynda this is wonderful feedback to receive & confirms that Finding Joy is hitting those learning, feeling and change elements we so hoped it would achieve. If you would like to talk further about what we can offer your organisation then please feel free to get in touch with us. best wishes, Hazel - Health Connector
I attended Vamos Theatre’s two day workshop at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry earlier this week- as a blank canvas. As an actress I have had some previous experience working with masks in two shows, but no real training. The two days were truly beneficial and everything I hoped for. There was so much to learn and practice… we were guided through individual character development, group improvisations, devising, learning to work in a naturalistic style - no melodrama or movement to the accompanying music, then contrastingly we worked through some tricky group choreography. We were constantly given the opportunity to get feedback, develop techniques and then perform them to the group. I can’t emphasise how brilliant it was for my professional development. I’m hoping to see Finding Joy at the Bromsgrove Artrix and look forward to more opportunities to work with Vamos! Thank you so much.
It was lots of fun working with Vamos Theatre on a two-day sex ed course. The course was informative and engaging. I would definitely go again!
We saw Finding Joy at Prema Uley on Friday and didn’t have time to complete the card at the time. I loved the performance - so simple but profound. my daughter a nurse would have loved it too. I especially enjoyed th eunmasking and seeing the actors as they really are.
Please include me on your mailing list.
Not knowing what to expect, Finding Joy at Prema at Uley, Glos. blew us away with some amazingly powerful theatre. Thought provoking, and emotionally charged the four talented Vamos actors played so many diverse personalities with such skill when, behind caricatured masks, not a word was spoken for 75 minutes.
The story that unfolded was heartwarming and reminded us all of the challenges that dementia brings.
13th Oct 2018
The ‘Finding Joy’ performance @ The Beehive in Honiton, Devon was a joy to watch. Such brilliant performers with a clever backstage team brought a
very serious issue to variety of theatre goers (it was particularly heartwarming to see so many younger people in the audience). Done with imagination and sensitivity combining the whole spectrum of feelings and generations. Bravo!
Watched your performance at the Beehive and it was mesmerising and so poignant. What more could I say? Jeff
Been to see the show tonight, it was very thought provoking. I have been working in health care for many years and have a particular interest in dementia care. We went as a group from the home with 4 health care professionals and 5 residents from our nursing home, everyone loved it ! For me it made me think of my Nanny and our special relationship we had before and after the diagnosis of dementia, it especially made me remember the laughs and happy times we enjoyed together, whilst acknowledging the difficulties of caring for someone who has dementia. It had me in tears at times, whilst laughing at other points. On a professional level it reminded me of the importance of someone’s life story and of trying to find what ‘time’ they believe they are in from their past. It also helped me to remember how important and comforting particular possessions can be, how touch is reassuring to someone who is anxious and confused. And lastly how vital it is to see and get to know the person behind the illness.
My friend and I went to see “Finding Joy” at the weekend, both of us have supported people living with dementia for a number of years, we didn’t know what to expect but were amazed by how accurate your portrayal of dementia was, we found it not only touched so many different emotions, it also reminded us of so many different characters.
We enjoyed every minute and thought how clever it was.
I think some of the audience felt guilty to laugh at first but when you are caring for people with dementia you need to laugh with them.
It was a great insight for people who know little about dementia but also a reminder to carers why they do what they do.
Thank you again and look forward to the next show.
Re Finding Joy in Milton Keynes: thank you for another enjoyable and moving show. I can hardly believe that you can convey so much emotion without words or facial expression. The lightness of touch made the profound issues highly accessible. An unparalleled and moving experience with emotions of sadness and guilt.
Saw the performance at Stantonbury Milton Keynes this evening. Stunning! So uplifting!
Chris & I saw Finding Joy yesterday afternoon at MAC in Birmingham. This was such superb theatre, where there was no chance of sitting back and just listening to actors performing their lines. You wanted to be totally involved with this performance and enter into the scene, as the visual references to real people’s personalities and situations were so spot on and meaningful. Also the skill with which lots of humour was woven into portraying historical and tragic events was just magical. We’re both looking forward to the next opportunity we have to see the work of this company again.
The show is just an absolute treat. Thank you.
I have just had the pleasure of watching ‘Finding Joy’ at the MAC Theatre Birmingham.
WOW! What a truly amazing production. What superb performers….each and every one. The brilliant telling of Joy’s life story in the wake of her dementia is a masterpiece of pathos, comedy, empathy and of course ‘Joy’! I’m pretty certain the masks worn actually took on many varied facial expressions, all very much due to the excellent acting skills by the cast. I watched a great deal of the play through tear filled eyes. And I’m pretty certain it was based on my dear mum, Doris, who had vascular dementia for a number of years before her untimely death. I’m sure many other members of the audience felt the storyline portrayed a loved one who has, or had dementia.
This production is a ‘must see’ for young and old. Whether or not you know someone with dementia, it gives a real insight into this debilitating condition.
The more people who are made aware of what dementia (in all its forms) is, and how they can help someone by understanding their plight, the better.
Thank you Vamos Theatre. I hope all your productions go from strength to strength.
I certainly will recommend this production to friends and family. I look forward to seeing you again…...and again!
I took a group of 9 ladies from our local WI and they all thought the show was amazing. It was really hard to believe that so much emotion could be shown without words spoken and whilst wearing a full face mask. A brilliant show.
Why no shows in the south east. I saw you at Margate and loved the show but you’ve not returned
Hi Jackie Thanks for getting in touch. It’s not that we don’t want to perform in the South East, unfortunately there can be a multitude of reasons why we can’t always tour to certain regions - sometimes it is because theatres choose not to take our shows - this can be for financial reasons or to whether or not the show fits with the theatre’s artistic programming vision. or even that the dates they can offer us don’t fit with our calendar or vice versa. Other factors can include our technical needs not being able to be met by a theatre space or when we physically can’t travel from one venue to another in time to get a show up.We do work hard with all venues that are interested in taking our shows to make it happen, sometimes though the opportunity just doesn’t align. We hope to tour the to South East again soon. The best way to get a Vamos Theatre show programmed at your nearest venue is to tell them you want to see us there! Thank you for all your support.
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.