Handprint Theatre

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

Category: Productions

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 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!)

Happy Monday

by handprinttheatreblog

How has your day been…? Has it gone off with a snap, crackle, and pop? We’re rushing around like headless chickens here…but all for a good cause – Handprint are heading down to the seaside this week, and taking Soapy Sam with us! (More on that to come…keep your eyes peeled for a SUPER Handprint Monday, here on the blog…)

Yesterday was also spent beside the sea, as some of the team were back in Brighton for another publicity day (let us know if you spotted us around town, shower caps and all…). It sure is going to be an exciting week.

Soapy Sam

What’s making us smile this (happy!!) Monday?

1 ♥ The 10 annoying habits of hearing people on The Limping Chicken

2 ♥ Cat/Kitten vs. Lizard…

3 ♥ Sad, but very thought-provoking documentary-style short film (not so smiley, but good none-the-less):

The End

Happy Monday y’all!

~ x ~

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!

superfun

 

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!

SuperGoldini

 

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.

Superhandprinters

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!!

 

SuperHoddy

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!

 

SuperSTEPHEN

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 🙂

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 (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

What:

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…

Behind the scenes…

by handprinttheatreblog

…of Something’s Gotta Give. More photographs from rehearsals, before we performed at the Roundhouse on Saturday 2nd June.

Happy Monday

by handprinttheatreblog

Another Monday has rolled around…and after last night, it’s possibly one of those hard Mondays…why, England, why do you build us up, just to knock us down?

Why do you build me up, 
Buttercup baby,
Just to let me down,
And mess me around,
And then worst of all,
You never call baby,
When you say you will,
But I love you still,
I need you,
More than anyone darlin’,
You know that I have from the start…

And, on top of that…Sam has been naughty…

Tut tut!

Keep smiling…Happy Monday!

 

Something’s Gotta Give…today!

by handprinttheatreblog

It’s here…the performance day is here. If you are free, then come along to the Roundhouse in Camden, to catch us at the Accidental Festival, at 2pm…

The Something’s Gotta Give Photo Journal got a little side-tracked on here, didn’t it?! Not to worry though, they will come in the days to come! Here’s a little sneak peak:

Hopefully we’ll see some of you there today, but if not, then have a great Jubilee weekend – dance and sing in the rain to your heart’s content!

Big hugs from all at Handprint, and here’s hoping we all break our legs… x