NEWS: 2011 London International Mime Festival

2011 London International Mime Festival

Saturday 15 – Sunday 30 January 2011

‘This epic festival showcases some of the most gaspworthy theatre you will see all year.’ The Guardian

The London International Mime Festival is a once a year chance to see the very best in contemporary visual theatre, featuring cutting edge circus-theatre, adult puppetry and animation, physical and object theatre. For two exhilarating weeks in January artists from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA animate some of the most prestigious stages in London – the Barbican, ICA, Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre and Roundhouse.

Southbank Centre

From Spain, Teatro Corsario’s famous  ‘puppets of terror’ open the 2011 festival at the Southbank Centre with La Maldicion de Poe (The Curse of Poe), a hilarious, nerve-jangler based on the stories of celebrated horror writer Edgar Allan Poe.  Not for the faint-hearted.

Also at the Southbank is leading young British aerial theatre company Upswing with the London premiere of Fallen, a powerful story of what it means to be a woman and mother. Weaving dance, aerial, circus, shadows and animation with African spirituality and a contemporary story, Fallencreates a dynamic and poetic portrait of eternal love, overwhelming loss and the resilience of the human spirit. Founded in 2004 by Vicki Amedume,Upswing has quickly established itself at the forefront of British contemporary circus.

Returning after sold-out visits to London with previous productions Compagnie 111/Aurélien Bory (France) present the UK premiere of Sans Objet.   Described by Le Figaro as ‘a contemporary take on Chaplin’s Modern Times’, an industrial robot co-stars with acrobats Olivier Alenda and Olivier Boyer as the unlikely hero of a remarkable futurist fantasy.

From Switzerland Compagnia 2 + 1 presents the UK premiere of La Porta a family show filled with magic, illusion and old-fashioned artistry. Kai Leclerc, Bernard Stockli and Andreas Manz have between them worked with top European circuses like Roncalli, Monti and Knie, America’s Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, with appearances at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas and on the David Letterman show. Director Sergio Bini co-starred with Roberto Benigni in the Academy Award winning movie, Life is Beautiful.

Paolo Nani & Kristjan Ingimarsson (Denmark) return to the Festival with The Art of Dying. In 70 minutes of wordless comedy and tenderness, this show explores the big taboo and the mystery of Life Before Death.  How does a clown die? Are there instructions? And does it have to be in the middle of a successful tour?


Two shows mark the Festival’s first visit to the Roundhouse. Circo Aereo (Finland) with the UK Premiere of Un Cirque Plus Juste. This enchanting one man circus show by and with Jani Nuttinen creates a dreamy world with shadow play, illusion and skillful object manipulation.

Faulty Optic (UK) are renowned for their haunting tales, visual theatre, strange animated figures and dark, dark humour. Gavin Glover’s new show for the Company, the world premiere of Flogging a Dead Horse, starts 11 kms down in the deepest ocean, where ink blots, intercoms and moon theory are all part of an investigation into the similarities between seabed sludge and the human brain.


Inspired by John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel Of Mice and Men Du Goudron et des Plumes is a remarkable new French circus-theatre production byCompagnie MPTA/Mathurin Bolze.  Five strangers, perhaps exiles or survivors of a storm are thrown together on a vessel adrift between earth and sky. It’s a tale of friendship, co-operation and trust combining thrilling acrobatics, bewitching lighting and heart-stopping tension. One of today’s most original and brilliant young circus creators, Mathurin Bolze won France’s most prestigious circus award Le Prix du Cirque in 2009.

Winners of a Fringe First award at the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the dark ecological satire Flesh & Blood, Fish & Fowl, American performers Geoff Sobelle & Charlotte Ford’s hugely entertaining show has its roots in generations of silent comedians from Jacques Tati to Mr Bean.‘ Imagine The Office crossed with The Day of the Triffids. This wild two-hander builds to an astonishing coup de theatre’. (The Guardian). Presented in association with barbicanbite11

Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House

Covent Garden returns to its horticultural past for Le Jardin when ex-Archaos members Jean-Paul Lefeuvre & Didier André (France) bring their own garden to the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House. Their battle of wits around the flower pots plays out with expert circus skills and deadpan flair.

The Linbury also plays host to Festival favourite Josef Nadj (France) who joins forces with musician Akosh Szelevenyi to perform Les Corbeaux(The Crows) a beautiful duet featuring movement, free form jazz and a barrel of lustrous, inky paint. At its gripping climax, Nadj becomes simultaneously paint brush, bird, and the essence of blackness itself as the duo evoke the spirit and presence of the crow, a creature held in superstitious awe and fear since time immemorial.  Director of France’s National Choreographic Centre in Orléans, Nadj’s work has been a highlight of LIMF programmes since his Woyzeck in 1999, most recently in 2008 with Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo in the LIMF/barbicanbite08 co-presentation of Paso Doble.

Complicite original member Jos Houben (Belgium) returns for one night only with a new version of his brilliant analysis of physical comedy, The Art Of Laughter. In a witty and engaging sixty minute performance/lecture he explains and illustrates just what makes people laugh. ‘With the subtlest of glances, or slight turn of the head, Houben has the entire audience in stitches.’ (The Scotsman)


From Russia avant-garde icons Akhe Engineering Theatre present Gobo.Digital Glossary – an absurdist take on the Everyman story, set in Akhe’s chaotic world of fantastic images and bizarre and quite literally explosive happenings.

Award-winning young visual theatre company Anagoor (Italy) present Tempesta, exploring the disturbing world of Renaissance painter Giorgione, teacher of Titian, who died aged 33. An unsettling, visual and physical collage inspired by the artist’s enigmatic studies of light, landscape, youth and violence.

Les Antliaclastes (France) directed by Patrick Sims presents Hilum,  a micro comic-tragedy based on the cycles of the washing machine and set in the basement of a rundown museum of natural history. Orphaned and cut off from the ordered kingdom of curiosities upstairs, the cast of nursery rhyme characters, cartoon images, and mischievous urchins turn playtime into a theatre of cruelty. Patrick Sims was co-founder and creative director of Buchinger’s Boot Marionettes , whose Armature of the Absolute was a sell-out hit at the Barbican for LIMF/barbicanbite09.

Full programme online from 1 November at and free festival brochure available from 1 December at 020 7637 5661.

The 2011 London International Mime Festival gratefully acknowledges financial assistance from Arts Council England.


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