Handprint Theatre

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

Category: 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 – ‘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!)

E Flyer Bikeshed

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

Soapy Sam is off to BRIGHTON!!

by handprinttheatreblog

Our very own wonderful Laura has written an awesome blog post that chronicles the journey of Soapy Sam, from the initial ideas, all the way to the way the production stands at the moment. It’s been one wild journey, and we are looking forward to where it will take us next! This week, Sam is going to be in Brighton – there are still tickets if you want to join him, more information is at the bottom of the post. 

 

Handprint HQ is always pretty busy, but it seems at the moment we have really surpassed ourselves with a manic summer of exciting events, festivals and projects!

Soapy Sam is back in development, and with some tweaks and adjustments and plenty more bubbles it is really exciting to be back on the road, this time heading to the seaside.

Soapy Sam

Soapy Sam has been one of our longest running projects, and his journey is something that we have definitely learnt from, and hope it will continue and children across the country fall in love with our little puppet.

Initially started in 2010, we decided to venture to the Camden Fringe with a children’s show, where we could explore signing with puppetry and include a younger audience (previously our work had not been suitable for children!). A memorable email was the moment when we suddenly thought ‘what if a boy got sucked down the plug hole?’.  This was our starting point, and the possibilities seemed endless, yet impossible!

But how to start the show when the company was living across the country was interesting!

With many emails and rehearsals, including commuting between Reading and London, and finding any space possible to build puppets and get messy with bubbles…it was not the easiest of processes. The original cast of myself (Laura), Marian Hoddy, and Megan Pennyfather tried many different story ideas, looking at what would happen if a small boy got sucked down the plughole.

As with many Fringe festivals with hundreds of shows, and unknown companies, it was a real struggle to get audience; and sometimes very disheartening. But we all agreed at the end of the run that Soapy Sam had far more potential!

In 2011 we began a Creative Partnership with a school in Slough, where we were asked to work with Yr 1’s on a puppetry project. Soapy Sam was desperate to jump off Marian’s shelf, and so we knew this could be the perfect way to redevelop the story – with children. So we welcomed Lucy O’Keeffe into the team and set about how the show could work in a 6 week school schedule, inspiring the children to make their own puppets and also to develop the story with their fantastic ideas.

Getting to Slough for 9am from London was a lot of early starts, but working with the children was an eye-opening process. Performing sections of the story and asking the children to tell the next part led to monster parties, scary slime and crazy creatures.

One pupil asked us, ‘Why is there only one picture of Soapy Sam online?’ – he was 7 (!!). We knew that Soapy Sam had a lot more adventures waiting to take place, and we needed more pictures online!

A complete story change, meant that Soapy Sam’s adventure was a whole new show, and we were excited to tell the new story.

The Little Chill festival in London provided a great opportunity to tell this new story in a slightly windy and very wet tent! Another cast change meant the show was a very new experience, and we added a participatory workshop after where the audience could make their own puppets like the children in Slough had done previously. More and more characters were building, and although this was a particularly wet performance, Soapy Sam still had a long way to go!

Sam next went international! Journeying on the ferry across to Guernsey, he charmed the Island, performing to many Deaf families, and even got in the local paper.

In November 2011 we were lucky enough to visit The Bike Shed Theatre in Devon. 3 days of Soapy Sam provided the first theatre experience for some tiny audience members, and was enthusiastically received. The performance had been accompanied by a shadow puppetry making workshop at the Exeter Central Library, which encouraged children to really get creative! We were also able to visit some local schools where they were able to not just watch, but also experience the show in an interactive workshop. Classes of children were sucked down the pipes, journeyed through the slime…but back in class in time for lunch!

The Exeter Royal Academy of Deaf Education brought a group of young people to The Bike Shed, where they were able to do a workshop on the stage, explore the ‘pipes’, meet the puppets, and then see the show. It was an exciting day and a great experience for young people to be working in the professional theatre.

Soapy Sam was tired, but did not stop exploring there, in fact he came back to London for a 3 weekend run at the Warehouse Theatre in Croydon. Once again, some reshaping, new direction and polishing up his adventure was set up and full of bubbles! Supported by the NDCS, we were able to provide puppet making workshop in the theatre after the show, where we met some exciting new characters, and were given many more ideas for his adventures.

We even had the first ever Soapy Sam birthday party, where an excited group of party-goers saw the show and then had a very tasty Soapy Sam birthday cake and of course met our famous friend!

We also worked with illustrator Alex Bennett, in developing the Soapy Sam children’s book which is currently on sale for £4, so families can take the story home to read together again and again, including lots of gruesome things to look out for down the pipes.

Many school teachers have contacted us and bought the book and told us it has become a class favourite – but what will he do next?

Since Croydon, Soapy Sam has been doing one off performances at various family events, including in Reading for the NDCS Family Day, and the Harrow Family Deaf day. Children (and parents!) were able to see the show in a beautiful cabin and then make some fantastic puppets, and told us exactly what would happen to Sam.

2013 has so far been a restful time for Soapy Sam, although he will be back in action for the Brighton Fringe. It is our first visit to Brighton, and we are really excited to be working with the Brighton and Hove Junior School who will be playing host to the performance. The pupils will be able to explore the pipes during the day, and then at 5pm we have a public performance where all are welcome to see the latest version of Sam’s adventures.

It is fascinating to recall the journey that the show has been on, the changing cast members, and different directors. All have contributed so much, but no one could ever give as much enthusiasm and passion for the puppet than the children in the audience. It is great to see how many children continue to care, and help Sam through his adventures, and we can not wait to meet his new friends in Brighton.

 

 

5pm, 22 May 2013, Brighton and Hove Junior School, Tickets £4 Children (£5 adult) Book online at www.brightonfringe.org.uk

 

Any teachers or organisations who would like a visit from Soapy Sam do get in touch.

Sarah n Bee

(Photo taken in Brighton, yesterday, publicising Soapy Sam – it involved lots of BUBBLES, shower caps, Soapy Sam stickers, and flyers…and a whole bunch of fun!)