Handprint Theatre

A peek into the world of the sometimes crazy, but mostly lovely Handprint Theatre

Handprint Blog Holiday…

by Sarah

The Handprint Team are extremely busy bees this summer, and the lucky blog is going to have a holiday! We all hope you have a wonderful August, and we will be back on the blog in the Autumn – with lots of exciting summer stories to recount to you all!🙂

Have yourselves lots of Happy Mondays (and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays!), and don’t hesitate to get in touch via email if you have any fun theatre experiences that you would like to write about. We are always on the lookout for blog contributors – do get in touch!

Go and have yourself a marvellous summer!!

“Wherever you are – be all there.” ~ Jim Elliot

Superhero 2

 

Email: handprinttheatre (dot) projects (dot) gmail (dot) com

With love and hugs from the Handprint Team x

Happy Monday Soapy Sam!

by Liz Ward

Happy Monday! We hope you’re either outside enjoying the sunshine or inside with a fan or the air-con on full blast.

A while back, I wrote a review of Handprint Theatre’s Soapy Sam, when it was performed at the Warehouse Theatre in Croydon last year. It was the first time I had seen it and I fell in love with the ball of cute that is Soapy Sam! I hope you enjoy reading the review…

A Flight of Imaginative Fantasy

By Lizzie Ward

Handprint Theatre are a brilliant and accessible new theatre company, using a combination of physical theatre, BSL (British Sign SS27Language), puppetry and the talented array of performers and artists in their stable to create performances that strive towards a new vision of inclusive theatre. They create both performances aimed at adult audiences and they also run workshops and produce plays for children.

Soapy Sam is the adorable little puppet boy who hates bath time and loves to have interesting adventures – often down the plughole! There he meets an array of imaginative and colourful characters – some stranger than others. This weird and wonderful tale of a smelly little boy who will do anything to escape being scrubbed by soap delighted and charmed the little (and big) children in the audience, not least those of us who love imaginative flights of fantasy.

Marian Hoddy, Lucy O’Keeffe and Laura Goulden (also of SignDance Collective) bring this story alive using mime, physical theatre, expressions and puppetry. Their expressions are absolutely brilliant, conveying the highs and lows of Sam’s adventures below the plughole. The puppets are entire characters in their own right – the movements the cast use to bring the puppets alive are spot on. The performance made me wish I could have brought along some of the little kids I know so I could see their reactions and enjoy the puppet making workshop after the performance!

The scenery and set enhances the story – just sparse enough for the audience to imagine, yet also adding to the story. For example,SS4 when Soapy Sam eventually escapes the soapy underworld, the use of shadow puppetry was inspired. Dwayne Drain was also a fearsome character with huge eyes that gave me some nostalgia for a certain drum playing puppet on a certain TV show…

The show also balanced performance with audience participation, ensuring that children (and adults of course!) will feel connected to the story. Handprint truly are an inclusive company, and I for one can’t wait to see more of what they have to offer.

The Sunday performance is followed by a workshop – where children can create something inspired by Soapy Sam’s adventures. They also have a new book out – so that you can take the Soapy Sam story home. It is beautifully illustrated and brought to life by the talent of Alex Bennett, a professional illustrator!

Photography by Sarah Ward.

Happy, Wicked Monday

by handprinttheatreblog

Well, our loves, you’re in for a treat today! Our lovely Lucy has some words to impart with you all…and it’s very green… Happy Monday!!

 

Helllooooooo downnnn therrrreeee…!!

I am currently imagining I am painted green and flying on my broomstick. Can you think which West End Production I am thinking of?

 

YES, you’ve got it, Wicked the Musical.

Handprint Theatre have just finished working with Mousetrap Theatre to deliver accessible workshops to D/deaf children, in relation to their theatre trips to see Wicked at The Apollo Victoria Theatre, in London’s West End. It was a very special project for Handprint, because every child deserves the right to access, no matter whether they are D/deaf or hearing.

 

The day started off by meeting our students in the foyer of the theatre. The students where from all over London, Surrey, and some had even travelled all the way down from Manchester up north!

We then had an introduction of everyone who was working on the project. This consisted of Mousetrap productions, the lovely NDCS volunteers, and a variety of very talented Handprint facilitators. It was a rather large team but it could not work without everyone pulling together.

 

We then split off into three different groups where the students took part in a theatre workshop delivered by Handprint Theatre. As a team we decided it was important to look at themes linked to the show, such as: friendship, judging, differences in people, and our beliefs. We played lots of different drama games to break the ice and then went on to discuss these themes through practical work.

After a very thoughtful hour of drama the students had the opportunity to learn a sign song of Defying Gravity…

 

‘Something has changed within me,

Something is not the same…

 

Its time to Try defying gravity….lalalalala’

 

…which later on they performed on the stage in front of the cast of Wicked. WOW… all I can say is watch this space, Elphaba and Glinda, we have some very talented young people – just show them the way to the Emerald City.

 

Within the day the students also had a touch tour of the stage, demonstrating how it worked with scene changes and lighting. They also got to see up close some of the very expensive props used within the show. (We even got to touch the wigs… made out of REAL hair…ewwww).

On second project day we were lucky enough to have a performer join us for the talks…I think we had some fans at the end of the day. Finally, the students took their seats to watch the show!

 

I feel very lucky to be apart of such a fantastic project. Discussing the show in detail before the students see it, and also having the opportunity to see the behind the scenes workings of a show is enlightening, and reignites my enthusiasm for theatre as an adult, so I can not imagine the effect this project has on the students.

 

When asking a student whether she had enjoyed her day she replied:

 

It’s been such a fun day, I have also made some new deaf friends and taken their numbers. I liked seeing deaf and hearing people working together and meeting new people..’

On that note…I’m off to dig out my witches hat and find me a wizard…

 

Lucy aka Luchia of the North (my witches name)

xx

Happy Monday

by Sarah

July is in full bloom at the moment, what with all the beautiful sunshine we’re having…and it has brought a birthday with it. Yes, our very lovely Lucy celebrated her birthday yesterday! Lucy is a true Handprinter, through and through, and the rest of us want to take this opportunity to wish her a truly Happy Birthday!!! (after all…it is her birth-week…) We love you, Lucy!!

As usual…we’re enjoying the small things. Things like afternoons in the garden…taking notice of all the colour around us. And self-love; we think that is important.

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“Say yes to the adventure of life.”

Happy Monday from us all x

Happy Monday

by Sarah

Monday has rolled around again…hey there, Monday, how you doing? What has made you smile today?

The Handprint team received something wonderful today:

Handprint Thank You

 

There can’t be a better way to start the working week then to receive a big envelope full of thank you letters and drawings from children who have enjoyed our workshops! Certainly put a big smile on our faces and Soapy Sam has a lot of new fans!! – what we said earlier on Facebook.

“I was really happy playing in the rainbow” – said by a child in a nursery we worked at recently.

Need more reasons to smile today? How about the lovely sunshine?!

Or news about the Deaflympics Flame Relay? 

Or a competition to win a pair of Eyelash Sunglasses?

Or an extremely interesting article about the “many faces of the Creative Performer”?

And, in the spirit of Canada Day, how about this list?

Now…go and do a little sunshine dance…you know you want to!

Happy Monday from us all: the giddy-on-sunshine-Handprinters!

P.S. Our wonderful Jennifer Wilson is flying home today – we can’t wait to see her! (She has been in Sri Lanka since January!!)

Happy Monday

by Sarah

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

When was the last time you had a solitary adventure?

When was the last time you took genuine pleasure in the simple things?

On those Mondays, or any day of the week that isn’t so hot, why not try one of the things mentioned above?

Something that could combine all of the above is going on a long, solitary walk in the city, countryside, or even along the coast…and document it somehow. Have a camera on your phone? Good. Now just take yourself out there.

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Yes; we love you all. Wishing you a very Happy Monday, hoping you have a great week; and here’s to solitary adventures…and the inspiration they bring us. Big hugs from the Handprint team x

Happy Monday

by handprinttheatreblog

It’s creeping towards 11pm; there was a gorgeous North London sunset tonight, yet Happy Monday has not yet gone live… It’s been one of “those days”, yet, us Handprinters are determined to find the silver linings…even on “those days”. Perhaps, on days like these, it is all the more important that we seek out the little things that make us smile? Well, we certainly think so. Without further ado, we give you Mika. (Special mention must be given, as Sarah tweeted earlier today…and got a tweet back from a blogger in America…pointing her towards this song. Don’t you love random acts of kindness on the internet?)

Doom da da di da di Doom da da di da di

Everybody’s gonna love today,
Gonna love today, gonna love today.
Everybody’s gonna love today, gonna love today.
Anyway you want to, anyway you’ve got to,
Love love me, love love me, love love.

I’ve been crying for so long,
Fighting tears just to carry on,
But now, but now, it’s gone away.

Hey girl why can’t you carry on,
Is it ’cause you’re just like your mother,
A little tight, like to tease for fun,
Well you ain’t gonna tease no other,
Gonna make you a lover.

Everybody’s gonna love today,
love today, love today.
Everybody’s gonna love today,
Anyway you want to, anyway you’ve got to,
Love love me, love love me, love love.
Girl in the blue with the big bust on,
Big bust on, big bust on.
Wait till your mother and your papa’s gone,
Papa’s gone
Momma, momma papa, shock shock me,
Shock shock me, shock shock.

Everybody’s gonna love today,
Gonna love today, gonna love today
I said,
Everybody’s gonna love today, gonna love today,
Anyway you want to, anyway you’ve got to,
Love love me, love love me, love love.

Carolina sits on ninety five
Give her a dollar and she’ll make you smile.

Hook her, book her, nook her, walk away!

Girl dresses like a kid for fun,
Licks her lips like they’re something other,
Tries to tell you life has just begun,
But you know she’s getting something other
Than the love from her mother

Everybody’s gonna love today,
Love today, love today
Everybody’s gonna love today,
Anyway you want to, anyway you’ve got to,
Love love me, love love me, love love.

Girl in the blue with the big bust on,
Big bust on, big bust on.
Wait till your mother and your papa’s gone,
Papa’s gone
Momma, momma papa, shock shock me,
Shock shock me, shock shock.

I said,
Everybody’s gonna love today,
Gonna love today, gonna love today
I said,
Everybody’s gonna love today,
Gonna love today,
Anyway you want to, anyway you’ve got to,
Love love me, love love me, love love.

Doom da da di da di Doom da da di da di Doom da da di da di Doom da da di da di…..

Everybody’s gonna love today,
Gonna love today, gonna love today
Everybody’s gonna love today,
Gonna love today,
Anyway you want to, anyway you’ve got to,
Love love me, love love me, love love.

Doom da da di da di Doom da da di da di Doom da da di da di Doom da da di da di…..

~ Love Today, Mika 

 

A very Happy Monday to you all, and here’s to finding the silver linings on our off days! Big hugs from the Handprint team x

Happy Monday from Sri Lanka!

by handprinttheatreblog

Our lovely Jenny, for the last 5 months, has been living and working in Sri Lanka (we’ve missed her!). For this week’s Happy Monday, we want to pass it over to her. She’s been having a wonderful time, and can’t wait to tell you all about her experiences… A very Happy Monday to you all, hope you’re finding the sunshine on this dreary day!

Ayubowan! (That’s how we say hello in Sri Lanka!)

In this post, I will write about my experiences in Sri Lanka over the past five months. My main incentive to visit this wonderful country was to gain experience in the very rewarding prospect of volunteering as an English teacher in a school for the deaf.

Since I visited a deaf school in Kenya at the age of 21, I have made it my ambition to volunteer at a deaf school in a third world country. Since Kenya, the opportunity has never presented itself, until a good friend of mine mentioned that there was a place at a volunteering experience in Sri Lanka! I thought to myself “Why not?” and jumped at the chance.

Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, we were given a chance to relax in our first homestay in Maharagama, which was owned and run by a lovely lady named Savitiri, who was most helpful, and made us feel very welcome in a totally different culture and environment to our own. Indeed, we were taken out of our comfort zones a little bit; I started to realize just how much us British take for granted. For example, there was no computer or video game in sight (a bit of a relief, to be honest!), and the majority of the food they eat in Sri Lanka is rice with various different curries.

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Speaking of food, this is where I had my first culture shock. Sri Lankans eat curry (rice, sauce, the lot) with their HANDS! I was a bit horrified because I had had no previous warning! Yet, after a few failed (and very messy) attempts, I managed to get the hang of it. In fact, now, after four months, I think I will have difficulty using a knife and fork!

After a week of drinking in the Sri Lankan culture, getting over ‘Delhi belly’ (which I will not describe), white water rafting, jumping 20 feet into natural pools, and most importantly, going through training, myself and a French lad named Samuel were taken to our homestay near the school we were going to be teaching at in Bandarawela, which is a picturesque mountainous area in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. The journey to Bandarawela was to take roughly six hours, which we were forewarned about; however, we were not told just how mountainous the area was! Cue lots of being thrown about on the coach!

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After the basic conditions of our first homestay, the second one (our home for the next eight weeks) turned out to be a bit more luxurious; Samuel and I had a whole flat to ourselves. We would be given meals every day, apart from lunch, which we would eat at our school.

We were then taken to our school for a welcoming visit. At this point, I was not sure how to feel; scared? Excited? Happy? To be honest, I think I opted for all three! I just did not know what to expect. As we approached the school gates, we were greeted by a sea of white; the children were standing just inside the gates, in two very long orderly lines with huge grins on their faces.

Walking up the drive, in between the long lines of children, who were waving at us and smiling, I felt tears start to my eyes. I was expecting a welcome, but not of this magnitude! And still, there was more to come.

We were taken into the school hall, where speeches were made by the principal, who then beckoned us forward to light a candle set on a plinth, which was a brilliant honour. We were then treated to some dancing and singing acts performed by the children. I could not believe that the school had made such a supreme effort, just to welcome two newcomers!

The very next day, upon arrival at the school, I expected to just be observing lessons, but no. I was thrown straight into teaching! On a positive note, this was a good thing, as it meant there was less chance for me to be nervous! However, as I looked down at the expectant year-11 faces, I have to admit, I did feel like running away! I decided to start by teaching them the names of things in the classroom, such as a pen, paper, book, rubber, pencil case and so on.

Over the next week, I tried to look at the knowledge and learning abilities of the children, so I could determine exactly how and what I would teach them. I was given the freedom to choose what and how I would teach them, which was good, as it gave me the chance to look at each class’s individual abilities and think about how I was going to go about teaching them.

I was in for a little bit of a shock. The school is by no means a bad school (in fact it is a very good one, seeing the abilities in all the children, rather than the disabilities) and even has a Sri Lankan English teacher. But I did notice that the children, when learning English, the children were told to copy English examples from the board, as opposed to actually being told what they were writing. The English they were told to write was sometimes very advanced, and a lot of the children had no idea what they had written.

I decided that I would start from the very beginning and use very basic English. I started by teaching the children the BSL alphabet – which they knew to an extent – and then progressed to teaching them English words bit by bit, such as colours, weather, moods etc. I worked hard at using visual resources such as pictures and mime to help them to link the object to the word, so they could learn to recognise English words.

At the end of school, almost each day, the boarding children went to the playing field near their boarding home to play cricket and do keep fit exercises. This was a nice change from the world of computers and mobile phones! Even when a teacher was not present, the children went outside to run, play cricket, volleyball and many other sports!

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Aside from working at the school, I have found the time to explore Sri Lanka, and see what the country has to offer. I will not waffle on about every single thing I have done, but I will list the most impressive parts: –

Climbed Adam’s Peak – a 2250 metre high mountain that has steps, yes, steps, going all the way up to the top! Even more impressively, we started climbing at 2:30 in the morning to see the sunrise from the top, which was glorious!

Experienced a lot of Buddhism – The main religion in Sri Lanka is Buddhism. The other day, I saw the actual Buddha’s preserved body! It was made up to look so real, it was creepy! I even had a cup of tea with a Buddhist monk in his house!

Learnt to drive a Tuk-Tuk – Sri Lankan taxis basically! In Sri Lanka, you see these three-wheeled cars all over the place. It was so much fun to be able to drive one!

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That’s all about me for now. I would also like to mention that the playing field at the school I worked at is in dire need of a revamp. The playing field is on a steep mountainside and lacks a fence, so whenever the children play their sports, their volleyballs, cricket balls etc get thrown over the side and lost. The school struggle to afford to pay for all this extra equipment. There is also the fear of the children falling off the side (yes it is that steep!) and getting seriously injured.

Therefore, I have decided that I would like to help them pay for a fence around their playing field. It seems like such a small thing, but even the smallest things can make a huge difference! This is where I would like to ask for YOUR help. I will be setting up a fundraising page in the near future so people can make donations, however big or small, to help this wonderful school that I feel very privileged to have taught at.

That is all for now. I really hope you enjoyed reading (or skimming through) this post.

Much love, hugs, and kisses,

Jenny xx 

Happy Monday – ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ style…

by handprinttheatreblog

This week’s Happy Monday is focused on our (revamped!) production of Something’s Gotta Give – hopefully it’ll make you smile, and round off your Monday with a bit more of the wonderful sunshine we’ve had today. Hey, June, we think we like you. A lot! Happy Monday, y’all!

Who is your favourite celebrity?
Someone who you can look up to and idolise, or that guilty pleasure as you watch someone fall from grace in the public eye -what could they possibly do next?

We have been passionately exploring our relationship with celebrities:  just why did we idolise, and now seem to love to hate certain ‘celebs’. It is fascinating that 51% of 18-25 year olds said that it was their lives ambition to become famous – are you part of this statistic? With the ever increasing number of TV talent shows manipulating the way we perceive the arts, Something’s Gotta Give is no X factor.

Without following a predictable argument against celebrity culture, we hope to explore, expose and excite ourselves with the bizarre world we live in. What do you think? We encourage anyone with a response to celebrity culture to come along and contribute ideas towards the development of the performance. (Something’s Gotta Give is going to be performed at the Ignite Festival in Exeter this week – come along if you’re in the area!)

New to Handprint? 

Our company is made up of Deaf and hearing performers, directors, writers, photographers, and any roles going, working together as equals! The impact this has on our work is that we devise visually; taking images before words to develop the performance means we work with an aim for total communication (a combination of BSL and spoken English, fused together, wherever possible – bridging the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds).
Something’s Gotta Give includes film, British Sign Language and a bit of Britney Spears – an unusual combination for us but it has been an interesting process! But how to devise a performance breaking down the journey of a celebrity without simply re-enacting ‘that’ Britney video has been a challenge.  Additionally, none of us could ever strive to become the sophisticated images of Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn! As within all devising processes, there has been laughter, tears and a lot of toilet roll (?! – it’ll be clear once you’re in the audience…). And we are excited to share with you the completely revised piece.

We hope you find this performance artistically accessible. Whether Deaf or hearing we would like to welcome you and hope it is an engaging  eye opener to our own responses to celebrity.  (Even if that favourite celebrity is Lindsay Lohan – we won’t judge. Much!)

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Happy Monday

by handprinttheatreblog

Another Bank Holiday Monday, and another sunshine-filled day! So…you guessed it…another very Happy Monday!

With the summer fast approaching, we’re looking forward to a summer full of fun events and performances. More to come on all of these adventures soon! How lovely it has been, though, that the weather here in London has finally become warmer – and sunnier. We’ve been loving it – hope you all have too!

What are you looking forward to this summer? What’s on your agenda?

The Handprint Team are excited to be travelling down to Exeter in June, with a reworked version of Something’s Got To Give; and we’re also buzzing about performing Soapy Sam again, especially after his adventures in Brighton – we all loved it down there, and can’t wait to get back there soon (any Brighton people – do get in touch with us, we love your ‘land’). There are also lots of workshops and summer activities on the Handprint calendar…we can’t wait to share our upcoming adventures with you all. As always, if you want to contact us, feel free; we adore hearing from you, and love working with a wide mix of people! It’s going to be a great summer…let it roll!

So…what’s been making you smile today? The sunshine? The flowers? The smell of freshly cut grass? Cycling along a canal…? Do let us know; comment below, or even send us a tweet.

A HUGE Happy Monday to you all, and lots of hugs; here’s to a summer filled with plenty of brilliant Happy Mondays x