Telling the story of wartime nurses... without words

Nursing Lives ANL-150219-171809001
Nursing Lives ANL-150219-171809001
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All the latest from the South Holland Centre

On Saturday, 
February 28, full mask theatre company Vamos Theatre brings its latest production ‘Nursing Lives’ to the South Holland Centre.

Rachael Savage ANL-150219-171820001

Rachael Savage ANL-150219-171820001

Vamos tours nationally and internationally, but their Artistic Director, Rachael Savage, is a Lincolnshire girl, growing up in Yarborough Road, Lincoln.

Q: Tell us about your Lincolnshire upbringing.

A: I lived in Lincoln until after my A-Levels so I have a lot of connection with the city. I went to Christ’s 
Hospital school and met my now-husband in Lincoln when I was 16.

Q: What inspired you to follow a career in theatre?

A: My first theatre experience was at Theatre Royal in Great Eastern Stage’s Youth Theatre production of the ‘Beggar’s Opera’ – after that I helped promote professional theatre visits to my school.

Both my parents work in theatre and it seemed a really natural thing to do. After A-Levels I auditioned for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and got a place.

Q: What is full mask theatre and how did you discover it?

A: Full mask is wordless, telling its story through physical communication – body language and clarity are crucial.

Because there are no spoken words, I find the audience engages strongly with what’s happening, creating the story for themselves in their heads.

I saw the founders of UK mask, Trestle Theatre, at North Kesteven School in Lincoln and was forever smitten.

Before long I was working for them, spending seven years as their education officer. That gave me the experience to form my own company and Vamos has been at the forefront of mask theatre in this country ever since.

It’s also amazing to be touring internationally, taking our work as far afield as Finland and Portugal. Mask theatre is ideal to take abroad – we all share an understanding of body language.

Q: So can you tell us a little about your current production?

A: In 2008 I saw a news item describing artifacts found at the Worcester Royal Infirmary when it was being refurbished, including postcards, dance invitations and love letters dating back to the 1940s.

I used these to create the tale of Flo who learns that the hospital she trained at during World War Two is being demolished. She decides to stop the bulldozers in their tracks – her visit becomes a personal celebration of friendship, adventure and romance.

Nursing Lives is a human story that celebrates nurses at work and play during the war. They worked incredibly hard, and played harder, seizing the moment and remaining cheerful and optimistic in the face of testing times. It has been a wonderful journey to make the show.

‘Nursing Lives’ is being performed at the South Holland Centre on Saturday, February 28 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12, £10 concession, and £7.50 for under 26s – from the box office (01775 764777) or the Centre’s website