Tel: +44 (0)1905 312 921 | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

  • Soldier and afghan child together
  • Soldier holds a rag doll
  • Soldiers sitting in a Chinook helicopter
A Brave Face

About the show

Dear mum, things are a bit tough right now. But don’t worry – I’m ok. I’ll tell you about it when I get back.”

Afghanistan: 2009. Under bright blue skies, a small girl stands and watches the soldier. She smiles, just like his sister…
Ryan is there to see the world, learn a trade, get a life. Training is complete, combat is a buzz; he’s part of a team, and knows his job. But on one particular hot and desperate tour of duty, Ryan sees things he can’t talk about, to anyone. And then, when he returns home, the trouble really begins.

Created from two years of research with ex and serving soldiers, families and health professionals, A Brave Face explores Post-Traumatic Stress, an unseen and often unrecognised injury of war, and the impact it can have on even the closest of families. With compassion and fearlessness, Vamos brings its trademark, wordless, full mask style to a story that needs to be told.

A Brave Face is suitable for audiences aged 12 years and upwards, and is accessible to hearing and d/Deaf audiences alike.

Co-commissioners: London International Mime Festival
Co-producers: Mercury Theatre, Colchester
Production sponsors: Arts Council England, Worcestershire County Council, The Elmley Foundation, Worcestershire Arts Partnership.


João Ricardo Aguiar - Jimmy
Joshua Patel - Ravi
Tessa Gaukroger - Jane (Ryan’s Mum), Alex (Troop Sergeant)
James Greaves - Ryan
Sophia Knox-Miller - Katie (Ryan’s sister), Khatera

All other parts played by members of the cast


Writer/Director: Rachael Savage
Composer/Sound Editor: Janie Armour
Advisors: Ray Anderton, Rhys Jenkins-Hayhow, Mark Lucas, Matthew Green, Diane Palmer, The Ripple Pond
Set/Costume Designer: Carl Davies
Mask Maker: Russell Dean
Associate Director: Alan Riley
Lighting Designer: Matt Clutterham
Choreographer: Rachael Alexander
Projection Designer: Daniel Hill
Script Consultant: Janie Armour
Production Manager: Ali Fowler
Tour Technician: Paul Milford
Rehearsal Stage Manager: Sarah Hawkins
Print Design: alienpen
Set Builders: The Mercury Theatre, Colchester
Costume Supervisor/maker: Hannah Marshall
Wig Dresser: Alison Barlow
Photography: Graeme Braidwood, Kate Holt


RUNNING TIME: c. 70 mins (no interval)

FUNDERS: Arts Council England, Worcestershire County Council, The Elmley Foundation

CO-PRODUCERS: Mercury Theatre Colchester

CO-COMMISSIONERS: London International Mime Festival

SUITABILITY: Over 12 years


This production pulls punch after punch after punch. It’s essential theatre … and it makes a difference. It’s not to be missed, under any circumstances.
Read the full review here.

BBC Radio Shropshire, Shropshire Events

A tender, powerful piece about Post Traumatic Stress...perfect in its sensitivity.,,not to be missed.
Read the full review here.

Paul T Davies, British

Vamos (Theatre) proves you don’t need words to create an inventive and spellbinding theatrical experience...A powerful and thought-provoking 70-minutes of theatre.
Read the full review here

Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo

This is a powerful, imaginative and at times laugh out loud funny piece of theatre that demands an audience.
See the full review at here. 

Bryan Mason, Stage Talk Magazine

Its wordless story of a young man...resonates all the deeper for its lack of spoken dialogue.

Seven Days, What's On

A Brave Face is one of the most unique shows doing the rounds on the British theatre circuit at present, and you’d be a fool to miss out on the experience it offers.
Read the full review here.

Daryl Holden, The Reviews Hub

...this production was both moving and absorbing – an incredible piece of writing and performing that made the story and the emotion behind it completely accessible to the audience whatever their age and background.
Read the full review here.

Suzanne Hawkes,

A Brave Face is a compelling story, beautifully told with Vamos’ signature mask style.
Read the full review here

Kate Lovell, Disability Arts Online

A Brave Face takes us inside an issue which both the military and society generally has struggled to fully comprehend. And in doing so, it also gives us a story touched with humour and humanity and a cast of memorable characters.
Read the full review here

Diane Parkes, Weekend Notes

There are only five actors: James Greaves, Joanna Holden, Sean Kemp, Angela Laverick and Rayo Patel, and they are all amazing...Go find A Brave Face if you can.
See the full review here

Janet Jepson, The Reviews Hub

...this has authenticity and the true stories of veterans, writ large. It vibrates with truth and makes you shudder with realisation because of it.
Read the full review

Donald Stewart, Fringe Review Scotland

Relaxed Performances

If you'd like to see one of our shows in a more relaxed theatre environment, try a Relaxed Performance. You can come and go freely during the show (low level houselights will be on so that you can see your way out), noise and movement in the audience are no problem, there are small adjustments to the lighting and sound to try to limit shocks or stresses, and venue staff are on hand to help and support your visit. So if you're put off going to the theatre because you need a more flexible and easy-going environment when you're there, a Relaxed Performance could be what you need.

If you're coming to a Relaxed Performance and would like to know the story in advance, you can download the show’s Visual Story, which explains what happens using pictures and accessible text. Download it here.


A Brave Face was researched with the help of both serving and ex-soldiers, to create a powerful portrayal of the symptoms of PTS and the impact it has on the lives of returning soldiers and their families. As a result, the show contains scenes that some audiences may find distressing. All our performances welcome both civvies and Veterans. This includes our Relaxed Performances, which have slight adjustments made to the production to reduce the possibility of triggers and to provide additional support for those who could be affected by some of the scenes in the show.

If you are a Veteran or serving soldier and are concerned about the possibility of triggers, you can read our Trigger and Safety Sheet (TSS) in advance of seeing the show. Created with the help of Veterans, the TSS goes through each scene in detail, so please be aware that it contains plot spoilers. You can request a TSS to be sent to you via email from the box office, collect one on arrival at the theatre or you can download it here.

What Veterans can expect at a Relaxed Performance:
•    Members of the cast will be in the foyer before the show to welcome audiences
•    Lighting and sound have been adjusted to try to avoid triggers
•    You can leave the auditorium at any time if you find any scene too much
•    There will be a post-show discussion open to the audience to ask questions raised by the show.
 •    Support will be available from either a military mental health charity or the NHS after the show in the foyer
•    There will be leaflets available from the NHS on our merchandising table

What you can do before coming to a performance:
•    Request a Trigger and Safety Sheet from the box office or download it here
•    Where possible try to be seated near the aisles so you can easily leave during the performance should you wish to
•    Network and share your experience of the show with fellow Veterans and families in the audience
•    Tell us what you think on our feedback cards after the show


BSL trailer

 one moment we were laughing the next we were moved to tears - and not a word spoken