Handprint Theatre

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

Category: London

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)



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!)

Happy Monday

by Sarah

The Olympics have officially arrived!!


Let’s dress up and do a happy dance…




People watching is pretty fun on the tube at the moment, especially when people dress head to toe in their country’s colours!


We’re right behind Team GB…



…and Team Handprint!


And to round it off, the sky was vibrant tonight…




We love a good sunset, we do. A very Happy Monday to you all!

Lots of love from Team Handprint, always looking for the small things xx

Happy (Sunshine!) Monday

by handprinttheatreblog

Summer is making a comeback…and we couldn’t be happier! It’s so nice to enjoy summer activities (BBQ, anyone?) without having an umbrella as your sidekick! (Not that we don’t like the rain – see last week’s Happy Monday – but we don’t hate the sun either…)

A little bit of exciting news for you:

Handprint are taking to the streets!

To celebrate the start of the Olympics, London Bridge is holding a street theatre festival, which we are very proud to have been selected for, over the opening weekend. (This weekend coming!!)

Come along and support Handprint Theatre (and share your photos and tweets: @TeamLondonBdg).

When and where:

Friday 27th – 10am Hay’s Galleria
                            12pm  St John’s Churchyard
                            2pm Kings College Campus
Saturday 28th – 10am St John’s Churchyard
                                  2pm Hay’s Galleria
Sunday 29th – 10am King College Campus
                              2pm St John’s Churchyard


A Suburban Silent Movie

Love at first sight, a jealous villain and escape into the moonlight is not the classic silent movie we are telling; this story is definitely no picnic!

Will the jealous Baron get his evil way, will our heroine’s days be numbered, will our hero save the day, or will ‘planned’ engineering works get in the way?

Our Characters have escaped the confines of the cinema screen, and are free to run riot throughout the streets.  Clowning, British Sign Language and a wealth of comedy submerses the audience within the silent movie.

Hope to see you there…


…and a very Happy Monday from all of us! Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine…remember to wear sunscreen…

Happy Monday

by handprinttheatreblog

Wow! How can it already be the middle of June? The days are starting to whizz by!

Things that have been making us smile recently:

The Jubilee:

Rainbow cake: 

Teacup Candles: 


Wine, after a hard day’s work: 

Cups of tea: 


What has been making you smile? Remember those things on Mondays that seem to drag…and give yourself a treat as well! Happy Monday!

(Photographs by Marian Hoddy and Sarah Ward; Teacup Candle made by Lucy O’Keefe; Rainbow Cake made by Lizzie Luxton.)

Sam’s Adventures in Croydon: Part 2

by handprinttheatreblog

If you needed further proof of the adventures Sam had in Croydon…here they are:

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the sunshine comes back…and have a great Tuesday! Sam sends his love…

Sam’s Adventures in Croydon: Part 1

by handprinttheatreblog

It’s been a little while coming, but they’re here at last! Thank you to all who came along to see Soapy Sam, and to all those who couldn’t make it – hopefully you’ll get to enjoy the delights that Sam offers in the not too distant future! But for now? Enjoy the photos…and there’s more to come!

…pop back soon for more!

Let the rehearsals…begin!

by handprinttheatreblog

Last night, in the Handprint office, as the sun was setting over London:

…we officially began our rehearsals for Something’s Gotta Give.

And henceforth, our Something’s Gotta Give Photo Journal begins…

We want to involve our supporters and followers as much as we can for this production…so…


Questions for YOU:

  • What comes to mind when you think of celebrities?

  • Do you think they live a glamorous life, or is that a thing of the past? 

  • Who is more beautiful; Marilyn Monroe or Britney Spears? 

  • Do you think we build celebrities up, just to knock them down? 



Until next time!

“I just wanna be loved by you, Nobody else but you…”


Soapy Sam…in Croydon!

by handprinttheatreblog

Soapy Sam has escaped the confines of the Handprint office…and has landed in Croydon! You can expect lots of adventures and mischievousness…oh, and he’ll be performing too!

Soapy Sam

Sam loves hiding, especially when it’s bath time.
But what happens when adventurers play with the plug?

Handprint will be joining a host of other exciting performers, with lots happening over the next few weeks. If you are based in, or near London, then do come along. All information about the performances, activities, companies, travel and everything else you might want to know…below:

About New Gold Season (collaboration with Sign Dance Collective)

An exciting season of new performances for children, adults, and everyone in between at The Warehouse Theatre, Croydon!

April 13th-29th 2012
Have a look at the line up!

Handprint Theatre – For Children 3+

Soapy Sam

Soapy Sam loves hiding, especially when it’s bath time. But what happens when adventurers play with the plug?

Handprint Theatre ignite the imagination of all, making small things into big characters.


Signdance Collective – 8+

New Gold

Critically-acclaimed SignDance Collective perform their Olympic and Paralympic inspired production following four unlikely characters in their search for ‘gold’.

A playful, witty and completely irreverent look at competition and winning.

Half a Penny

Half A Penny showcases the phenomenal rock/folk set Dead Days Beyond Help. The show is devised in collaboration with Pedro De Senna and the ETOS Festival Ankara, Turkey. 

‘A box full of surprises, plenty to sing about’  – Stage First


Dead Days Beyond Help


Dead Days Beyond Help are Alex Ward (guitar/vocals) and Jem Doulton (drums). They formed in 2006 and played their first show in February 2007, and have performed regularly in London and around the UK since then. Their debut album “Access Denied!” (Copepod, 2009) featured a set of nine compositions (six instrumentals and three songs) written by Alex; while a subsequent limited edition release called “The Verbing” (Copepod, 2011) showcased the duo’s totally improvised work.

Their live performances feature an unpredictable mix of complex composed instrumentals, free improvisation, cover versions selected for maximum emotional resonance, and Alex’s own songs, spontaneously balanced by the two musicians without use of a set-list.

There are also dance, theatre and craft workshop opportunities for those aged 3-25.

Box Office: 020 8680 4060


A schedule of shows is on the website.


By Train turn right out of East Croydon Station and right again (one minute)

By Bus to East Croydon : T33, 64,119,194, 197, 198, 312, 367,409, 410, 466 & X26

Warehouse Theatre, Dingwall Road, Croydon CR0 2NF U

Dates and times of performances:

Saturday 14 April 11am Soapy Sam
Sunday 15 April 11.30am – workshop and Soapy Sam Show (1pm)
Tuesday 17 April 11am to 2pm Handprint workshop
Saturday 21 April 11am Soapy Sam
Sunday 22 April 12.30pm – workshop and Soapy Sam Show (2pm)
Friday 27 April 1pm Soapy Sam
Saturday 28 April Soapy Sam
Sunday 29 April 12.30pm – workshop and Soapy Sam  Show(2pm)

(For the Show) Tickets £4 children £5 grown-ups or Soapy Sam puppet workshop including the show £8

Link to The Croydon Warehouse Theatre’s website: http://www.warehousetheatre.co.uk/kidz.html


We hope to see you there!