Merry Christmas and welcome to our round up of all things Vamos in 2016 – and what’s in store for 2017!

January: The Best Thing premiered at Jacksons Lane as part of London International Mime Festival and toured nationally. The show was performed 72 times across 55 venues, and it became our most well attended to date with record audience figures. Thanks to Arts Council England's Grants for the Arts for making it possible.

February: We've worked with National Star many times over the years, and have formed a fantastic friendship with the college. This year’s residency "Synergy" was all about interaction, encouraging participants, whatever their physical abilities, to join in and make connections with others. See the video here

March: Rachael Savage, jointly funded by British Council and Arts Council England, travels to South Africa with Associate Artist Janie Armour to make connections with artists and promoters, and share mask skills. Yvette Hardie and ASSITEJ SA, Gerard Bester and Hillbrow Theatre Project, Rob Murray (Conspiracy of Clowns), Lara Foot of Baxter Theatre, and Artscape Theatre Centre were just a few of the people and places that made the trip very special.

April: We announce the appointment of two new Vamos Theatre Associate Artists, performer Sarah Hawkins and director/performer Alan Riley.

May: Vamos was proud to be part of this year’s Deaffest, the UK’s leading deaf film and arts festival. Young people attending Young Deaffest had chance to learn Vamos mask techniques and physical theatre skills.

June: A busy month in which we were awarded ACE Grants for the Arts funding, to support our ambitions to develop the diversity of our audiences, particularly the Deaf community, and allow us to re-tour The Best Thing. Our friends and supporters dug deep and raised a massive £7,356 towards our much needed new tour van. Supporters included The Bransford Trust, Worcestershire County Councillors through their divisional funds, cash donations on the road, and individuals, whose generosity was extraordinary.

July: Rachael travelled to Finland to work with a group of arts professionals in partnership with Jyvaskyla Festival  Finland. The week’s residency, part of Research and Development for Vamos’s 2018 show, A Brave Face,  explored Post Traumatic Stress  Meanwhile, VYPT received funding from Sir Barry Jackson Trust and performed their first ever show (about Vesta Tilley) at Coventry Belgrade for Highly Sprung's Physical Fellowship,

August: The biggest financial risk of the year by far was taking Finding Joy to Edinburgh Fringe Festival at Assembly. We made many new connections, especially with bookers nationally and internationally, which led to confirmed international bookings in Norway, Germany and Czech Republic in 2017. This month also saw the launch of our new website, designed to be more accessible.

September: The buckets are counted and generous Vamos audiences have raised an amazing £569.47 for Age Scotland during our run at Edinburgh Festival, the largest amount ever to be taken by the charity in a bucket collection!

October: Vamos’s education work takes us to Ganton School Hull, working with students to learn mask skills for Hull Year of Culture, and the beginning of our ongoing work with inclusive Community Theatre group Arts Etc.

November: We are in Colchester meeting ex-service personnel and professionals who work with veterans and serving soldiers to feed into the development of our next show about Post Traumatic Stress, A Brave Face, developed in partnership with The Mercury Theatre, Colchester.

December: We announce the great news that we are one of seven companies awarded major funding from Arts Council England as part of its Strategic Funding Programme, to deliver an ambitious and energetic two-year audience development project. This activity aims to engage with the hardest to reach audiences, including people with complex barriers to involvement due to dementia, and their carers, whether professional carers, health professionals, care partners or family carers.

And as for 2017…
It’ll be a busy year ahead! We’ll be undertaking our Strategic Touring plan; developing our next show, A Brave Face; touring The Best Thing, including Relaxed performances for the first time; and training up Deaf actors and practitioners. You can also see Vamos in Norway, Germany, Czech Republic and more countries to be confirmed. We hope to see you along the way!