Handprint Theatre

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

Category: News

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! ūüôā

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 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 ‚ÄúWhy not?‚ÄĚ 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.


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 ‚ÄėDelhi belly‚Äô (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!


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 ‚Äď which they knew to an extent ‚Äď 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!


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‚Äôs Peak ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď The main religion in Sri Lanka is Buddhism. The other day, I saw the actual Buddha‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď 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!


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‚Äôs 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 Рbridging the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds).
Something‚Äôs 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 ‚Äėthat‚Äô 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 ‚Äď we won‚Äôt 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

Happy Monday

by handprinttheatreblog

The Handprint Team hope you’ve all had a great weekend…and let Happy Monday begin…

Need something to make you smile today? How about 30 things? Here’s a happy article from BuzzFeed.

Want to make a difference today? Why not write to your MP and ask them if they are voting for the EDM for the BSL Act? More information can be found here. (And the Facebook group now has over 11,000 members – and growing!)

Our very own Sarah has written an article for Deaf Unity, about her experiences in education. We first met Sarah when she was in her first year (on the TAEDS course) at Reading, which she talks about in the article. You can find it here.

We hope you got some sunshine this weekend – it was wonderfully sunny here in London. Welcome, Spring, we’ve been waiting for you…

Happy Monday to you all!

A very Superhero-tastic (NDCS) Big Weekend…

by Sarah

March 15th-16th 2013

(NDCS Big Weekend for families with deaf children with additional complex needs)


What do you get with a packed car full of costumes, puppets, rainbows, bubbles, hoops, arts materials, jelly babies and wellies?? A Handprint journey, of course!


Travelling in an unusual style due to a rent-a-car (Handprint’s poor trusty and much loved Nissan-Micra, aka Terrance, was the victim of a naughty speeding car who hit him as he has having a rest, parked on the side of the road). Thankfully no one was hurt…well, apart from Terrance.

Anyhow, on Friday 14th March, we left a rainy, cold London for a rainy, cold Manchester via a “thrilling” 5 hour stop start journey in rain, hail, traffic jams, and problems involving not knowing how to turn the car’s air con off after de-steaming the windows! So we¬†channelled¬†the windswept and frozen look! Thankfully, the jelly babies proved a vital source of energy (although some Handprinters should not be given too much sugar), and Marge (our Satnav) provided¬†continuous¬†entertainment. Just never mess with her or disobey her instructions as she gets MAD!


Having finally arrived, the hotel and orange/purple T-shirts from the NDCS staff became a beacon of light in the rain, welcoming us in with a smile. What we love about working with the NDCS is everyone is so happy, friendly and helpful all the time! So soon, inside this happy hub, the journey felt like a distant memory.


The following morning started with a full English Superhero breaky, and after a whiz down the road in the Handprintmobile to a lovely site – the Seashell trust – the Handprinters were ready to set up their Superhero Training Camp! With a ZIP, a ZAP, and a WALLER, the room was transformed, Superhero capes were on (for some this is not a costume but an everyday fashion-must-have) and the Superhero cadets started arriving!



The four different groups, appropriately named FAST, FLEXIBLE, STRONG¬†and¬†SMART put us through our paces, showing that they are much better Superheroes by completing a number of Superhero challenges, including: learning to fly, pose, burst bad bubbles (yep, not all bubbles are good), going over/under/through a number of obstacles such as green goblin slime and rescuing helpless creatures, to name but a few! PHEW, I’m knackered just remembering it all!



The next stage was to create a Superhero mask and cape to go with the new skills, and the cadets put the likes of Stella McCartney to shame with some of the designs!

To end the session, the new Superheroes explored our Sensory City with glow sticks and torches, catching any villains that were lurking around, and enjoying some free play time.


Then just as quickly as we came, we were off again, back to the hotel, after reports reached us of an evil green villain who was up to no good.


Luckily we reached the stage just in time to bring our comic “Saving Cardboard City” to life to an eager audience (which was full of newly trained Superheroes who were ready to join in and stop the green villain… ha ha, who had no chance against this brave lot).


Performance over, we took a minute to look at the variety of coloured capes and masks being paraded around the hall…brilliant! Never had a hotel felt so safe then with this super lot!!



Springing into action the following morning and we were back at the Seashell trust, ready to meet our mini Superhero cadets for the day, this time from the creche!

And soon, another fab day flew by with more imaginative and hilarious Superheroes, who may have been small but they were still on the ball! Whilst going through our obstacle challenge, we got to a stinky, slimy section, and on asking the cadets: “Shall we go over or under it?”, one smart Superhero shot his hand up, and replied: “Well…we got just go pass it….” Duh!



Packing up and saying goodbye is sometimes rather sad, but at the end of this project we could do nothing but smile and laugh at all the wonderfully funny moments that make projects like this so magical and fun!! Our mission was accomplished, Superheroes were trained and the World was saved…once again!


So now all that is left is for us to say is a BIG thank you to the NDCS for having us, and thank you to all the families we met on this adventure!


Until next time…its time for the kettle to go on and to hang up our capes….well, maybe we will leave them on…just in case ūüôā

Handprint Stephen


“I was at the NDCS’s Big Weekend for deaf children with complex needs and their families this week in Manchester and just wanted to say what a fabulous show you put on. It was lovely to hear so much laughter from the children (and the adults) around the hall. Thank you!” (Feedback from the Weekend)


From Handprint Marian

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.)

Happy Monday

by handprinttheatreblog

Introducing lampshade number 1:

You may be¬†scratching¬†your head right about now, but let me explain. Above is, as I said, lampshade number 1…and the first of many. We are on a hunt. A hunt for…yes…you guessed it, LAMPSHADES. Old-looking ones, at that. Why? Well…Handprint are once again hard at work creating a new production. For all you big kids out there, which translates as adults!

Something’s Got To Give

“Do the stories of yesteryear reveal a glamorous portrayal of successful life-through-art or a bitter shattering of our idols?

What is our relationship with these reoccurring characters; the public dismembering of Britney Spears lay-bare beside the adoration of Marilyn Monroe.

A combination of puppetry, images, music, multi-media and British Sign Language, create an intimate journey questioning relationships with fleeting, often fatal, celebrities, relishing the sophistication and scum of those we love to destroy.”

In conjunction with the rehearsals, the blog will be showcasing a Photo-Journal of snippets from the project…tune in again later this week.

A very Happy Monday to you all…and big hugs from all at Handprint x

Happy Monday + Birthday

by handprinttheatreblog

Guess who had a birthday today? Our very own Marian! Therefore, this Happy Monday is dedicated to her; the magnificent Miss Hoddy.

We hope that she had a lovely birthday, full of ginger cake, lemon cake and carrot cake.

Let’s hope she can have a little break this year, and make it to Italy, because she definitely deserves it.

Tanti auguri a te, 
Tanti auguri a te,
Tanti auguri a Marian, 
Tanti auguri a te!

Bella Marian!

Happy Monday to you all, near and far.

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 Рworkshop 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 Рworkshop 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!