Family play with a fun medieval twist from Found In Translation Theatre touring the East Anglia this Autumn in collaboration Autism Anglia

Found In Translation Theatre Company are touring Bring Back Chainmail to venues across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk & Cambridgeshire from this October. This exciting new interactive play, written by Tom Campe, has been developed and produced in a collaboration with Autism Anglia, supported by Arts Council England.

Above: Pupils from Autism Anglia's Doucecroft School share their thoughts on Bring Back Chainmail

Bring Back Chainmail tells the story of James, a boy who lives the fantasy life of a medieval knight. Helped by his trusty jester, Bard, he transforms his boyhood bedroom into a royal castle with jovial jigs and tourney games. But beneath the merriment, Sir James longs for the return of his mother, the missing Queen Laura. When his worried dad Dave tries to fix the troubles at the heart of the realm, they set off together on a journey to discover how imagination can reunite a kingdom and heal a family.

In Chainmail James & Bard welcomes the audience as the lords, ladies and peasants of their imaginary world, using comedy, clowning, drama, dances, songs and audience participation. Together with Sir James, Bard and Dave, they will go on an immersive adventure with a gentle story about loss, love and the healing power of imagination.

The tour will see Colchester based Found In Translation visit small-stage & studio theatres in a wide range of locations, from cities to coastal towns, throughout their home region. Full details of the tour dates and venues are:

7pm Tuesday 4th October - Harlow Playhouse

7pm Wednesday 5th October - Harlow Playhouse

7:30pm Thursday 7th October - Southwold Arts Centre

7:30pm Thursday 13th October - Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft

1pm Friday 14th October - Sheringham Little Theatre

7:pm Saturday 15th October - Sir John Mills Theatre, Ipswich

Thursday 20th October - The Maltings, Ely

Saturday 12th November - Mercury Theatre, Colchester

Bring Back Chainmail is designed to include many people who find a trip to the theatre intimidating. Writer Tom Campe was inspired to write lead character James’ story by experiencing the positive impact of imaginative storytelling for his clients as a support worker for Autism Anglia, an independent charity enhancing the lives of autistic people across East Anglia. 

This led to a proud partnership between Found In Translation Theatre and Autism Anglia, which began with a successful collaboration during our ACE funded Research & Development project at Colchester Arts Centre last year, with the aim of making Chainmail more accessible for neurodiverse audiences. Thanks to this collaboration, all performances on our Autumn Tour will have a ‘relaxed environment’, and an easy read social story will be made available to those who need them. 

Pictured above: Found in Translation Theatre Company has received Autism Awareness training from the charity. 

Chainmail was also developed with the consultation of Dr Deirde Serjanson, an expert in medieval myths from Cambridge University, and historical reenactors, Regia Anglorum, to fill James’ world with legends of old, heraldry, swords, shields and jousting.

FIT co-founder & artistic director Ollie Harrington said of the news:

Found In Translation cannot wait to share  Bring Back Chainmail with new, wider audiences in our home region for the first time. A timely play in a world where loss has been present in our daily lives like never before, this show tackles heavy, complex feelings in a gentle and joyful way. With its silly humour and strong emotional story, Chainmail has something for all the family, and anyone still finding their place in the world. We are  especially proud to be continuing our collaboration with Autism Anglia, to make theatre more accessible for neurodiverse people, who often find a trip to the theatre intimidating. We are especially grateful that Arts Council England have awarded Found In Translation a second National Lottery Project Grant. Without their continued backing for Bring Back Chainmail, we simply would not be about to embark on this tour, which marks a genuine milestone in the growth of our company. ”

Kate Hancock, chief executive at Autism Anglia said:

We have welcomed the opportunity to work in partnership with Found in Translation Theatre Company.

It is so important to all of us at Autism Anglia that as many opportunities as possible are inclusive to people with autism so they can be enjoyed by everyone.

We are grateful to Found in Translation for their ongoing support of people with autism and of our charity through fundraising.

Chainmail writer, Tom Campe, who will also play the role of James, said

Bring Back Chainmail was originally ten minutes of me playing myself – a youth obsessed with medieval history and fantasy. The pride I’ve felt through its evolutions, via joyful devising, and many rewrites, is now at an all time high as it sits ready to embark on a regional tour. I’m so grateful to have Autism Anglia as partners supporting the project, and to all the people who helped me along the way. Huzzah!

Found In Translation would like to acknowledge the generous support of Arts Council England with funding from a National Lottery Project Grant, as well as giving thanks to Harlow Playhouse, Eastern Angles Theatre Company, Packing Shed Theatre Company & the Headgate Theatre for contributing advice and resources to the production.