New curatorial project MimeLondon announces first season of work

New curatorial project MimeLondon announces first season of work

MimeLondon is a new curatorial project created by Helen Lannaghan and Joseph Seelig, the directors of London International Mime Festival (LIMF), which ended in 2023 after five decades of award-winning success.

MimeLondon will support occasional seasons of contemporary visual theatre, in collaboration with different partner venues. For its first series in London, which runs from 12 Jan – 17 Feb 2024, the Barbican, the National Theatre, Sadler’s Wells and Shoreditch Town Hall will host 8 productions new to London, the work of four overseas groups, and four UK-based companies co-commissioned by London International Mime Festival in its final year. A series of workshops organised in association with the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and Shoreditch Town Hall will take place during the same period.

“At the conclusion of 47 years of LIMF in 2023 it was our desire that opportunities for contemporary visual theatre to be seen at important London venues should continue. MimeLondon offers a different and less formal context for this work, with a collection of shows for Jan/Feb 2024 which we hope everyone, including followers of the much-missed LIMF, will enjoy and support.” Helen Lannaghan & Joseph Seelig

Les Antliaclastes (France/USA) return to the Barbican with AMBERGRIS, an alchemical puppet operetta set in the belly of a whale. It’s the tale of a charlatan perfumer seeking to create the perfect smell, from the perfect lump of ambergris. Sought-after as the fixative which makes scent linger on the skin for years, ambergris comes from the digestive systems of whales. Les Antliaclastes’ mini-epic features three famous literary figures, Moby Dick’s tyrannical Captain Ahab, the prophet Jonah and the puppet Pinocchio, each swallowed by a whale. Directed by Patrick Sims. (Tue 23-Sat 27 Jan).

From France Stereoptik’s ANTECHAMBER reveals the creative process behind the making of an animation film. An artist’s pencil sketch takes shape, projected onto a screen above his table. An eraser appears and rubs it out. Its replacement charcoal drawing disappears in turn, giving way to painted landscape. Live keyboard and guitar accompaniment both drive and reflect what takes shape, dreams of the Amazonian jungle and an unfolding urban love story. The fascinating pathway of ideas transforms into screen reality, and finally a completed film. (Tue 30 Jan-Sat 3 Feb)

From Spain El Patio Teatro’s INSIDES (ENTRAÑAS) seeks to unravel the mysteries of the human body. What exactly are we made of. What happens when our physical forms disappear. Izaskun Fernandez’ and Julian Saenz-Lopez’ pseudoscientific anatomy class dissects nostalgia, love, and memories. With beautifully crafted objects and unusual projections, their award-winning and thought-provoking new production takes the audience on an intimate voyage of discovery, an imaginative tour through the inner workings of the human body and spirit. (Tue 6-Sat 10 Feb)

From the USA Phil Soltanoff, recipient of the 2020 Herb Alpert Award joins performer/puppeteer Steven Wendt, a member of the legendary New York performance company Blue Man Group, to explore the cosmic and the micro in the multimedia animation THIS & THAT. THAT imagines the creation of the universe with abstract video, choreographed to recorded music. THIS is about the people in it – their romantic sense of longing, loss and what might have been. Depicted with beautiful shadow vignettes inspired by Henry Moore sculptures, we see a cowboy sleeping under the stars, a jazz pianist’s reverie, a disco dancer, and a crooner serenading his lover all in a world brought to life with magical, old-school skills. (Tue 13-Sat 17 Feb)

Award winning and internationally acclaimed physical theatre company Gecko perform KIN, in association with the National Theatre, exploring themes of racism, family, migration, and home.

In 1932, Leah and her family escaped persecution and embarked on a journey from Yemen to Palestine. Ninety years later, her grandson Amit Lahav (Artistic Director of Gecko) reflects on the life-changing decision his family made to flee and build a better life. This powerful piece is a provocative story of desperation, compassion and acceptance, inspired by the migration stories of Gecko’s international performers and the extraordinary voyage Leah undertook as a young child. (Fri 12 Jan-Sat 27 Jan. Previews Fri 12-Mon 15 Jan)

Classic literature and circus collide in TESS by contemporary circus company Ockham’s Razor (UK), a ground-breaking adaptation of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy’s classic tale of power, loss and endurance. Against a backdrop of projections, the cast climb shifting walls and move through ropes and swathes of linen to evoke the vast landscapes and interior worlds of Hardy’s Wessex. It’s a story of striking relevance for our times in its nuanced evocation of female relationships, sexual desire, consent, privilege, and poverty. (Wed 31 Jan-Sat 3 Feb)

Multi award-winning UK theatre company Ad Infinitum presents LAST RITES a bold new performance celebrating the transformative power of grief and ritual.

One man has twenty-four hours to perform his father’s funeral rites. This intimate, final ceremony brings to life a rich tapestry of shared memories and a complex relationship cut short by death. Combining striking visual and physical storytelling with dynamic projection and a resonant soundtrack, internationally acclaimed theatre makers Ramesh Meyyappan and George Mann collaborate for the first time to create an epic non-verbal solo show. LAST RITES is powerful journey of love, loss, and what it means to be a parent. An ending. A beginning. A goodbye. (Wed 24-Sat 27 Jan)

BOY ON THE ROOF, by UKs leading full mask theatre company Vamos Theatre, is a story of an unlikely friendship, about acceptance, understanding and love.

At no.73 Cooper Street, Brian Baxter wishes his son wasn’t so irritating. Liam Baxter can’t switch off, can’t sit still, he’s disruptive at school and chaotic at home. Liam just wishes someone understood him. Three doors down, Albert keeps himself to himself, sticks to his routines. At 91, he knows what he likes and likes what he knows. But Albert misses his wife and just wishes that someone, somewhere, would have time for him.

BOY ON THE ROOF was created through Community Conversations across the UK, gathering people’s experiences of ADHD, loneliness, aging, hearing loss, connection and community. (Thu 1 – Sun 4 Feb)

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