• Ryan hugged by his family
  • Ryan surrounded by health professionals
  • Ryan sits with a bottle of beer
A Brave Face
Promoters' Information

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 co-production with Mercury Theatre Colchester and a co-commission with London International Mime Festival, A Brave Face is suitable for audiences aged 12 years and upwards, and is accessible to hearing and d/Deaf audiences alike.

Staging

Total Tour Personnel: 5 performers + 1 technician
Venue Technical Staff Requirements:  A minimum of two resident technicians to assist running the show
Min. stage area: 7 metres depth x 7 metres width x clearance of 3 metres to grid
Duration: Approximately 80 mins, no interval
Suitability: 12 years upwards
Lighting: A lighting pre-rig is essential. Vamos provides a technician and design. Please note: a blackout is required
Sound: We operate sound on QLab using our own laptop with an external soundcard, running 4 x 1/4" jack outputs to 4 speakers: we provide 2 x onstage speakers and require the venue to provide suitable front-of-house speaker set up
Projection: One floor mounted projector is used in the production, USC behind set
Min get in time: Approximately 8 hours, depending on venue and where a pre-rig (essential) is in place
Max get out time: The get out starts immediately after the final show and takes a maximum of 2 hours

Current Cast

João Ricardo Aguiar - Jimmy
Adeel Ali - 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

Other Info

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

The making of A Brave Face

In June 2015, Johnny Mercer, Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor, addressed the House of Commons:

In 2012, we reached a very unwelcome threshold when, tragically, more soldiers and veterans killed themselves than were killed on operational service in defence of the realm.”

A Brave Face is a full mask theatre production born of real life stories, created from over two years of extensive research and development into Post-Traumatic Stress. During the research period we met, talked and worked with ex- and serving soldiers and their families, as well as a breadth of mental health practitioners, journalists, and staff from Help for Heroes, Veterans First and the pioneering Recovery Centre, Chavasse VC House. A Brave Face brings together all that we learned to create a poignant, playful and fearless production in Vamos’s trademark full mask style.

Throughout the production’s creation, we have renowned photojournalist Kate Holt, a regular contributor to The Guardian, as Photojournalist in Residence.

Chilled Performances

We believe in making our work as accessible as possible, and we work with bookers to encourage as many Chilled Performances as we can.

Chilled Performances are for anyone who may be put off going to the theatre because they need a more flexible and easy-going theatre environment. Audience members can come and go freely during the show (low level houselights will be on), 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.

Veterans and serving soldiers, who may be unsure about attending a standard performance because of potential triggers, may particularly benefit from attending a Chilled Performance. We encourage venues to also support Veterans by promoting our Trigger and Safety Sheet (TSS). Created with the help of Veterans, the TSS gives full details of the show’s content, and highlights potential triggers, and can be made available via the venue Box Office.

If you think you might be interested in hosting a Chilled Performance, please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

Reviews

 

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,

 

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 Theatre.com

 

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

 

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

 

...a five-handed masterclass of this rare and beautiful art.
See the full review here.

Chris Eldon Lee, What's On Live

 

...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, Felixstowespy.com

 

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

Learning and Participation

Vamos Theatre offers workshops for schools, colleges and universities, which can run alongside a performance booking. They’re suitable for all ages and abilities and give a unique experience of full mask and physical theatre. Find out more on our Learning pages.

Designed alongside Help for Heroes, we are also offering mask making workshops for military and ex-military communities which can be booked alongside or separately to a performance.

Further information and booking

Please contact Claire Morton, Executive Producer, on 01905 312921 or by email on claire[at]vamostheatre.co.uk

Trailer



You can view a BSL version of this trailer here

 Funny, sad, clever, thought provoking, and much much more