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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!,
Just had the most amazing evening, watching this innovative theatre company.
Laughed and cried in equal measures. Brilliant!!
Please come to the North West soon - I want my family to see this piece of theatre as well.
I was expecting Finding Joy to be really difficult to follow but it was so clear, and so unexpectedly funny too. Thank you for such a positive and insightful show, I really enjoyed it
Sorry to be a dissenting voice but my lovely wife and I (she has had alzheimers at a youngish age for 4 years) saw Finding Joy at Giggleswick School last night and, I fear, I was hugely disappointed. I’m not sure what the purpose was nor what the post performance discussion was meant to achieve - as it almost totally was about the production not about the sad issue of dementia. Indeed, any carers (such as myself) would be uneasy about declaring themselves in such a public audience arena. It was explained that the purpose of the performance was primarily for carers but in what way - for those of us coping with this disease 24/7 it gave little respite nor support nor further insights. The choice to focus upon a very sweet elderly lady really left much to be desired and while the production was well delivered, it almost treated this cruel disease as an entertainment and in a semi-romantic and superficial way. A real disappointment!
Thank you so much for your message, I’m sorry to hear you came away disappointed from seeing Finding Joy and taking part in the post show discussion.
Finding Joy, like all Vamos’ work is based on true stories. Back in 2010, when we started the research we knew dementia is by no means a joyful subject, in fact quite the opposite, we heard many difficult and often heart-breaking stories. Six months into the research, it became obvious we that we wanted to create a show that encouraged audiences to look beyond the dementia to the person, a show that celebrated a life, rather than mourned the lose of a person. Finding Joy was created as a piece of theatre telling the true story of a real family, about a young man who discovered extraordinary caring instinct in which his grandmother flourished.
For two years Rowan cared for Audrey with youthful and unorthodox methods. He delighted in her world, listened to her, laughed and played, and accept her utterly as she was. It was this acceptance, play, laughter and empathy in Rowan and all those that cared for Audrey the Vamos team found inspiring. Over the four years of touring it is these qualities that care and health professionals have celebrated and wanted to see transferable into their practice, hence why we now market directly to carers.
In reference, to the post show discussion, we are always guided by the questions from the audience and I understand there was a large student group with a lot of questions about the art form, I’m very sorry that you didn’t feel it was a forum to discuss dementia further.
I hope this reply goes a little way to explain our intention behind making Finding Joy.
Honor Hoskins – Engagement Manager
Finding Joy was a delight, a real insight into the world of people with dementia and the problems that present to carers. It absolutely didn’t need words, in fact words would have intruded, therefore it is an international form of theatre that I haven’t seen before.
One small thing. The programmes were hard to read. The print was small and narrow, which was made harder for old eyes by being on dark paper. In particular the red type and the black on blue pages were hard to read in the hall’s lighting. Costumes, masks and props were brilliant and versatile. Congratulations to the small number of players who played many parts. I saw it in Diss
I saw the production of ‘Finding Joy’ at the Little Theatre in Sheringham on Saturday 30th September. Apart from enjoying the Humour, I found the whole performance emotionally very Moving and Touching. It was brilliantly acted throughout. I loved the relationship of Joy with her Grandson. I couldn’t believe there were only four people in the entire cast….My Rating: EXCELLENT…very well done.
Just watched the show at Sheringham Little Theatre. Am amazed at the emotions this production produced in me. Never before has a theatre production made me cry almost continually and reminded me of my mother who died last year. The relationship between grandson and grandma was beautiful and the way Joy’s habits were explained as the story unfolded was brilliant. A very powerful story.
I was expecting Joy to die at the end and was dreading it, but to end on such a loving scene between mother and daughter was beautiful.
I wasn’t sure what I’d let myself in for but was intrigued when Joy and her grandson made an appearance at an earlier production I was at, so booked a ticket.
So glad I did. A powerful story brilliantly acted by all four of the cast with a very simple set and excellent music score.
Regret to read again a poor selection of venues in the Southeast. On your contact form if one mistake is made you have to enter all the details again -not encouraging
Just watched finding joy at the seagull in lowestoft and was completely blown away. Such great commitment to the mask characters and a beautifully tender story. Would love to see more of your work. Best of luck for the rest of the tour - and china!
Thank you George, and everyone else who has posted comments about Finding Joy so far - it means a lot to hear that it’s being enjoyed! If you’d like to see more of our work, we’ve a brand new show opening at the beginning of February 2018 which will tour the UK - details will be released on our website soon. If you want to be amongst the first to hear about upcoming tour dates, you can join our mailing list by clicking on ‘Newsletter sign up’ link at the very top of the page…thanks again for posting!
Saw Finding Joy at Eastleigh. Well up to usual Vamos mask standard. I’ve commented previously that Vamos is some of the best theatre you can see anywhere. Clever, funny, skilful, moving, and relevant. The mask delivers a pure and quite magical form theatre art.
Just saw ‘Finding Joy’ at Artrix, Bromsgrove - a wonderful production, very moving, VERY inspiring and very funny. The characters were all so recognisable and the depth of emotion conveyed was outstanding. Thoroughly recommend it!
Attended the Listening with Your Eyes workshop in Bromsgrove today. By far the best training I have ever received and a must for anyone working in the Health and Social care sector. I will use what I have learned today at work and at home. Truly brilliant.
Another triumph at The Roses Theatre tonight - you never fail to amuse, entertain and truly move your audience. Once you’ve experienced a Vamos production you’ll won’t forget it in a hurry! I can’t wait for the next one!
My wife and I went to see Finding Joy yesterday evening. I was a little sceptical as to how the message could be got across without facial expressions or speech but the actors did it beautifully. My wife shed a tear or two but we both thoroughly enjoyed the show. Looking forwards to A Brave Face.
Thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Finding Joy at the Courtyard this evening. It amazes me how you convey such a variety of complex emotions and character development without words or facial expressions, it’s physical theatre at its best! I love the humour of the teenage lads, and the and the care and compassion shown by the grandson to Joy was heart-warming. Even the minor roles of the medical staff were so different to each other, you truly are a talented company. I hope many people see this show as it challenges how we regard people suffering from or caring for people with dementia.
We were very lucky to be joined by the Vamos Group on 11th July for their production of “Sharing Joy”. Our residents (and staff) thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was wonderful to see the performers interact with our Residents. They certainly brought out the best in them! Even our quietest and withdrawn Residents came alive and their faces and lit-up eyes made it all worthwhile. Please, please consider us again with any future productions!
I went and saw wish you were here. When the cast put the masks on they are on the same playing field. It was a fantastic show. And the way Rachael gets the best out of the cast is very good.
We thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s performance of Wish You Were Here. The best part for me was seeing how much the performers enjoyed taking part. The hard work and dedication of all involved had certainly paid off. The attention to detail was a delight too, from sharks to sausages and artwork adorning the walls ( I especially liked the giant crab and his scary pincers!) ...and of course the wonderful masks.
Keep up the good work.
What a sheer delight to work with Rachael she has taught me such a lot, a true inspiration a wonderful support and a real trooper I am very privelliged to know her and the help and input during the production of Wish You Were Here has bee invaluable.Thank you so much my heart is bursting with the enthusiasm and joy of Mask work that you have instilled into me. Xxxxxxx Angie
Hasn’t it been an amazing journey Angie, to think how far the whole group has developed and grown over the last eight months of mask work? I’ve loved every minute. See you at Finding Joy in the Autumn, love, love and more love Rachael
We have loved Vamos theatre productions for sometime now, starting in Shrewsbury with ‘Much Ado about Wenlock’ through to ‘The Best Thing’. I was excited to hear about Vamos projects in the community and travelled from Shrewsbury to Kidderminster this morning to see ‘Wish You Were Here’. Not only did we see a great show with inspiring performances, but afterwards learned from Rachael about all the months of hard work and dedication that led up to today. The group had made their own masks and had learned about using the whole body to convey expression and emotion. We were treated to extracts from the rehearsal process which gave us an insight into the commitment Vamos make to supporting arts development in the community. It was lovely to spend time chatting to Rachael after the show and I was thrilled to be up close to some of the masks I had seen in shows such as ‘Nursing Lives’ the opportunity to try one on helped understand the skill needed to wear and perform in a mask during a theatre show. So pleased to hear of new Arts Council funding awarded to Vamos - richly deserved and hopefully will lead to more innovative work both in the theatre and in a variety of community venues. Keep up the good work and looking forward to your next show, new, or an old favourite!
Thank you Sandra. One of the driving forces we have at Vamos is making theatre that’s accessible to as many people as possible - and so the work we do with community groups, or in care homes, or other places outside the conventional theatre setting is just as important, if not more so, than our theatre tours. The good news about our NPO funding is that it will allow us to do more to reach new audiences in the future. Thank you SO much for travelling to see Wish You Were Here, and for supporting us in our community work - so glad you enjoyed it!
VAMOS Theatre visited our care home today and performed their interactive ‘Sharing Joy’ show for our wonderful residents living with dementia. It was absolutely amazing and everyone was engaged and participated in the marvellous show. Our 103 year old, who was once an award winning ballroom dancer, and whom we have never managed to persuade to dance in the 9 months that I have known her, couldn’t wait to accept an offer from the cast to twirl her gently around the dancefloor. Another gentleman was so engrossed in singing and swaying in his chair with another member of the cast that he became quite emotional, and of course in turn, so did we! Absolutely amazing with such an array of characters and activities that completely engrossed everyone watching and taking part. A thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking performance. Thank you so much VAMOS. Looking forward to Finding Joy in September.
I’m so thrilled that Sharing Joy was well received by your residents and carers alike. This kind of feedback is so useful and heart warming. Really looking forward to seeing you at Finding Joy in the Autumn- please do let us know when you are coming so that we can come and have a chat. Thank you, love Rachael
I was at The Courtyard, Hereford today for Sharing Joy, it was brilliant! It was great fun and so moving and definitely lived up to it’s title - it was a privilege to take part and ‘share the joy’!
Brilliant- come and find yet more joy on September 15th when we open ‘Finding Joy’ for our Autumn tour. That night will be a real celebration, as it’s the venue that co-produced it- come and be part of it!
Went to see Vamos Theatre last year at the Edinburgh fringe,really enjoyed it.Are you there this year?
Great to hear you enjoyed Finding Joy in Edinburgh last year: we won’t be there again this year, as we had too many touring commitments, but we have a new UK tour of Finding Joy in the Autumn, The Best Thing at Perigeaux Festival in France in July, and a brand new show, A Brave Face, touring from early 2018 - so really hope you can make one of those performances!
Today we had a VAMOS presentation with Rachael. The session was interactive, fun and was presented excellently. Right from the start everyone was really enjoying and taking part in the activities, i thought the session itself was really moving, the message portrayed was easily picked up through the activities and it has left me with a desire to further develop some of the information I gained.
I’d like to thank Rachael for her time today as I think it was invaluable having someone with many years of experience in theater to present the work of VAMOS, it to certainly make the experience a memorable one.
“Finding Joy” in Erding (Germany), April 27th
Thank you for this short escape into such a wonderful warmhearted and sensitive world without words!
We have only recently discovered Vamos theatre and it has been wonderful to see both ‘The Best Thing’ and ‘Finding Joy’. Both plays were excellent, one moment we were laughing the next we were moved to tears - and not a word spoken! We are now devoted fans and eagerly await the next production, very best wishes for your European tour and keep up the great work!
My friend booked this up…we had decided over last year or two to try all sorts of theatrical ‘experiences’ that would stretch us into unknown possibilities! We had seen theatre and ballet live and via live screenings over past year but this blew my mind away. The best thing I’ve seen live on stage? Well, can’t think of anything else, certainly not in past ten years or so that made me laugh, cry and spontaneous to applaud. And when four cast members stop to take their bows and removed their masks a shock wave hit the audience! Only four people to play all those parts. And two men and two women!! How can it possibly be true!! Sheer genius. How could they make expressionless masks so full of expression.
My only sorrow was that my husband was on call and could not be there too. This was a truly memorable experience. I almost cannot describe it to people..no words.. Masks but full of expression… Joy and sadness. Laughter and tears. The story unfolding. I am standing g now to give the cast a standing ovation. Go see these guys if you can and if you can’t stillgoand see them! Thank you so much. Jo x
Thank you Jo, fantastic to hear that you enjoyed the show so much, and that it stood up amongst all the different theatre experiences you’ve gone to recently (what a great idea, by the way). The cast will be really happy to hear how much you liked it (they enjoy giving people a shock when the masks come off!). If you haven’t done already, please do join our mailing list (the link’s at the top of the page in the header) as we’ve got quite a lot of different shows and events coming up that you’d find out about first…thanks again for coming, and to everyone else who’s posted during the tour of The Best Thing.
Went to see Vamos for the third time, at The Courtyard Hereford, and was not disappointed. I became totally engrossed in the story and characters. It made me laugh and made me cry; especially as it was very close to part of my own family history. A wonderful theatre company and well worth keeping track of to see what they are up to.
caught the best thing show in Worthing last night
The Best Thing was the best thing. For anyone who hasn’t seen a Vamos production yet-you absolutely must. Funny, sad beautifully done. Within minutes you forget that there are no words because you can hear every word.
Just seen The Best Thing and it was so original and thought provoking. The body language and the masks conveying all the emotion and poignancy was totally absorbing. I particularly liked the two scenes showing the different perspectives of how Susan really felt about giving up her daughter - incredibly moving. All of it was brilliant though! Thank you for an amazing show!
I’ve just been entranced by ‘The Best Thing’ in Uley. Absolutely excellent. Wonderful characterisation and such emotion conveyed despite or maybe because of the masks.
Our family of 3 has just seen this performance at Prema , Uley. From start to finish it was totally moving and beautifully done. The four actors playing multiple roles were exceptional. What was really illuminating was right at the end when all four got to remove their masks, revealing just how young some of them were in comparison to the old ladies and gentlemen they were playing and the actor playing the, boyfriend, the nurse and the adopted mother! Brilliant mask acting and a real pleasure to go and see.
In the days when babies of unmarried mothers were taken away when it was “for the best” seem so long ago. We all felt the emotion and it gave much food for thought. Thank you Vamos and also Prema for putting this brilliant production on.
Fantastic show last night at he Bridge House Theatre, Warwick. “The Best Thing” is a very funny and moving production with a great soundtrack. We particularly loved the typing and giving birth sections. Well done to the cast and thank you!!
What a fabulous play ‘The Best Thing’ is and so refreshingly different. A very clever display of various emotions through body language and the masks portrayed the characters well. You all were brilliant in your many roles! Well done. I enjoyed every single moment of it and look forward to seeing you again.
went, with my husband, to see ‘The Best Thing’ last night at the Conquest Theatre in Bromyard. It was fantastic! Innovative and entertaining. Why don’t more people support travelling theatre groups and their local playhouses - they are really missing out. Well done Vamos - you were all brilliant!
A big thank you to everyone who’s taken time to comment on The Best Thing in March - the cast have had a ball on the road and have really appreciated the warm audience responses on the night: it’s even nicer when you take the time to comment here - so thank you!
it was amazeing i could watch it a million times and wouldnt get bored
Loved The Best Thing in Birmingham last night. Amazing the amount of emotion that was shown despite the expressions never changing. Plus the music really struck a chord with mŷ generation!
I saw The Best Thing with my friend at The Mac in Birmingham last night. It was a brilliant performance. Funny, poignant, sad, and thought provoking. Wonderful performances from all, Thank you. Go and see it! and if you get chance to catch their shows, Finding Joy and Nursing Lives, they’re brilliant too.
We also went yesterday to watch The Best Thing at South Street in Reading and like Peter & Linda enjoyed every single minute. Absolutely amazing!
Just seen The Best Thing at South Street Reading. We thoroughly enjoyed the show and can highly recommend this to anyone considering a future performance. We will keep an eye out for future work from Vamos theatre.
I went to SPARC at Bishops Castle last Friday with 2 of my daughters,we were so impressed with The Best Thing, thoroughly enjoyed it! Congratulations on a wonderful piece of theatre . We definitely want to see more of your productions in future,thank you!
Saw The Best Thing at SpArC Bishops Castle last night. It certainly was the best thing! Funny, sad, clever, thought provoking, and much much more. Brilliant evenings entertainment, provided by such talented people. Thank you. Can’t wait to see your next production. X
We saw your production of The Right Thing at the SpArc theatre last night. What a fantastic evening. You are genius! The subject could of been a really depressing one, but you managed to portray the story with such humanity, and a good sprinkling of humour, so that it made for a very engaging story. Your set, masks and the music were all so clever, and really enhanced the whole thing. We will be coming to see you again on your next tour, and plan to bring the rest of the family!