• 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.


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: 2 x main FOH speakers, 2 x upstage speakers: show run on QLab using laptop with external soundcard, requiring 2 x 1/4" jack outputs
Projection: Two floor mounter projectors are used in the production: DSC on stage/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


Over the years, we have developed a formidable reputation for creating work that attracts people who are often less engaged in arts and culture. Audiences find our full mask theatre entirely accessible, because it’s highly visual and unerringly human. We connect with diverse audiences, and because there is no barrier of words to overcome, we attract people whose first language isn’t English. We have a strong following among d/Deaf audiences who don’t miss out on the action, as there’s no need for signing.

Relaxed Performances

We are experienced in delivering Relaxed Performances, and create assets and adapt our shows to make them accessible for all, including those with sensory and communication disorders, learning disabilities or autism spectrum conditions.

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.



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. You can download more information in our A Brave Face Learning Flyer

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.

Relaxed Performances

We believe in making our work as accessible as possible, and we work with bookers to encourage as many Relaxed or Dementia Friendly performances as we can.

Relaxed Performances are open to all, but specifically designed to welcome those who benefit, for whatever reason, from a more relaxed environment, such as people with sensory and communication disorders, a learning disability or autism spectrum condition. They’re a great way for family and friends to experience live performances together in an adapted environment.

Dementia Friendly Performances: People living with dementia can often feel isolated and lose their confidence in doing things they have previously enjoyed. With a few sensitive adaptations to the performance of A Brave Face more flexibility with the seating plan and within the venue, and introducing more staff  who understand what it is to live with dementia, we create a dementia-friendly environment where people living with dementia feel involved and supported.

Click here to see our Relaxed Performances film...

If you think you might be interested in hosting an accessible performance, please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

Further information and booking:

Contact Vamos Theatre:
tel: +44(0)1905 312 921
email: info[at]vamostheatre.co.uk

In German speaking countries
Angelika Martin:
Tel: +49 (0)8122 - 42666
email: angelika.martin[at]artpromotion.eu


You can view a BSL version of this trailer here

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