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  • Poster image - Danny and Joy jump
  • Joy gets her coat on
  • Little Joy and mum in the air raid shelter
  • Joy and Walter have a picnic
Finding Joy

About the show

Joy is 83 today: she's feisty, loves to dance, and is losing her memory. Her grandson Danny is rebellious, bright and always getting into trouble. When Danny decides to look after Joy, they discover a shared playfulness and growing love. But is that enough to face the challenges ahead?

Approaching the subject of dementia with humour and humanity, award-winning Finding Joy has performed to audiences throughout the UK. Praised by press and public alike for its consummate full mask skills, engaging storytelling, physical dexterity and emotional insight, the production continues to involve and engage audiences.

Suitable for 12 years and upwards, Finding Joy is accessible to hearing and deaf audiences alike.

Made in association with: The Hereford Courtyard, JABADAO.
Funders: Arts Council England, Worcestershire County Council.
Programme sponsors: Adventures with Dementia, Miracle Workers, Bancroft Gardens, Prime Life
Supported by: Gary Wiltshire

Production details


James Greaves Grandson Danny, A & E consultant, Joy's mother, man in sewing shop
Bidi Iredale: Joy at 83, Joy's daughter, seamstress Betty
Louise Mellor: Joy's daughter, Joy at 25, Joy at 8, Sister McLean
Sarah Nelson: Billy, husband Walter, nice nurse, patient Agnes Bull, stroppy nurse


Writer/Director: Rachael Savage
Composer/Sound Editor: Janie Armour
Advisor: Penny Greenland
Set/Costume Designer: Carl Davies
Mask/Puppet Maker: Russell Dean
Lighting Designer: Chris Barham
Choreographer: Rachael Alexander
Cine Film: Mike Jackson
Script Consultant: Janie Armour
Print design: alienpen
Set Builders: Gavin Lewery
Costume Supervisor/maker: Hannah Marshall
Wig Dresser: Alison Barlow



FUNDERS: Arts Council England, Worcestershire County Council,

CO-PRODUCERS: Hereford Courtyard


SUITABILITY: Over 12 years

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 the Finding Joy Visual Story here.


5 stars ★★★★★
Finding Joy has a short run at The Fringe and you cannot go home and face your loved ones with any excuse whatsoever for missing it. Have some compassion for your future memories. An absolute Fringe must!
Read full review here.

John Kennedy, Edinburgh Reporter

5 stars ★★★★★
Finding Joy, now showing at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol, can be summed up in two words: simply beautiful.
Read the full review here

Barbara Maxwell, What's On Stage

4 stars ★★★★
What could have been a hard-hitting and emotional response to an evil and devastating disease has been turned into a joyful and resonant piece of theatre that will leave you as speechless as the actors.
Read the full review.

Liam Blain, British Theatre Guide

A genuinely original, beautiful piece of work which deserves to be seen by a wide audience BRIGHTON FRINGE 2014 ARGUS ANGEL WINNER

Duncan Hall, The Argus, Brighton

Vamos Theatre's craftily constructed and crowd-pleasing piece...The show brilliantly conveys a sense of how frightening the world seems through Joy's eyes ... the company of four are always fleet and the storytelling is excellent.

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

4 stars ★★★★
Acutely observed and pitch perfect at every turn, there’s a kind of magic at work in Finding Joy.
Read the full review here.

Rebecca Parker, The Wee Review

The company are quickly cementing its position as one of, if not the, leading full-mask mime companies in existence. Finding Joy was an incredibly moving and wonderful piece of theatre. Quite simply, a triumph.

Dan English, InQuire

Life-affirming, funny, deeply touching and highly, highly recommended!
Read the full review

Katerina Yannouli, Plays to See

Skilfully handled without being overly's only a pity the company are up in Edinburgh for such a short run.

Alan Chadwick, Scottish Daily Mail

With well-chosen music and plenty of pace, this is a superb production that is a complete pleasure to experience.
Read the full review

Suzanne Hawkes, British Theatre Guide

Heart-warming, yet heart-breaking at the same time, this stirring physical performance combines humour with sympathy for the challenges of an illness that I am sure many will be able to relate to.

Daisy Malt, TW Daily

Exceptionally funny, with a sizable helping of British humour, [Finding Joy] brings the serious issue of dementia to the stage

Sebastian Kramer, Offenbach Post, Germany


BSL trailer

 Had me hooked from beginning to end!