Start your new year with some of the most thought-provoking and unusual theatre from around the world. London International Mime Festival (LIMF) champions contemporary visual theatre and this year features artists from Australia, Belgium, France, Japan, Spain, Switzerland alongside some outstanding British companies.
There's a story told entirely by pictures emerging from a briefcase, and a juggling masterpiece inspired by Pina Bausch. From Wales, No Fit State brings circus and theatre together in a Picasso-blue-hued show directed by the great Mladen Materic, spectacular, sublime and violent movement meets mathematics, and Camille Boitel's L'Immédiat company will surprise you with a tumultuous visual reflection on the mayhem of modern times.
LIMF 2012 is twenty days and nights of cutting edge circus, magic, mime, mask and object theatre. Uncategorisable, universally accessible, mostly wordless, packed with premieres, after-show discussions and learning opportunities. Welcome to the unexpected!
We thank all our artists, venue colleagues, collaborators and supporters for their contributions to the festival. LIMF is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and gratefully acknowledges ACE financial assistance.
Joseph Seelig and Helen Lannaghan, Festival Directors
London International Mime Festival is the Capital's longest established international theatre season. It was founded by producer, Joseph Seelig, and mime/clown, Nola Rae. Inspired by Cologne's Gaukler Festival and Amsterdam's Festival of Fools, the first edition took place in 1977 to showcase the work of British visual theatre artists, many better known abroad than in their own country.
The programme spanned the spectrum of wordless performance including live art, physical theatre, new circus, puppetry and object theatre – work which is still at the heart of the Festival's annual season. It was presented and funded by leading London fringe venue, the Cockpit Theatre, with support from the Arts Council of Great Britain.
The late 1970's was a period of resurgence for innovative forms of theatrical expression where words played little or no part, and which now inform mainstream theatre at every level. Before Dance Umbrella (1978) or LIFT (1981), when international theatre work was rarely seen in London, the Festival struck a chord with public and performers alike.
Helen Lannaghan joined the organisation in 1987, bringing new ideas and expertise. The ICA has been a partner since 1980, the Southbank Centre since 1988, and over the years the Festival has collaborated with some twenty-five London venues, from the West End to the Natural History Museum, the Almeida, Roundhouse, Barbican, Laban, Royal Opera House, Sadler's Wells, BAC and South London Gallery. Spin-off seasons have been programmed at many UK regional centres, and as far afield as Hongkong.
New circus, extreme dance, physical imagery, fairground commedia and exotic Japanese puppetry are just some of the exciting and essentially wordless media through which the Mime Festival’s artists tell their stories.
At LIMF 2015 ballet dancers collaborate with Sean Gandini’s brilliant jugglers, and Basil Twist's sly foxes dance through a hundred hand painted Japanese ‘dogugaeshi’ theatre screens. From Belgium, Peeping Tom makes its UK debut with a thriller set in a chilly landscape of wind and ice, while Circus Ronaldo’s grandiose puppet opera brings high tragedy and raucous comedy in equal measure. Entrapped in a forest of light, the extraordinary Japanese dance Kaori Ito performs in London for the first time, in Olivier Award nominee Aurélien Bory’s Plexus.
LIMF 2015 offers fabulous contemporary visual theatre for everyone. Read on and book early!