Image credit: Giacomo Gabrielli


Hattie Lloyd 03/11/22

London International Mime Festival

When the longest running, most prestigious mime festival in the world invited some of the planet’s best performers to come and show off their skills in London…

…they were literally speechless.

But fortunately the London International Mime Festival is around to sing their praises and toot their own trumpets for them, and it’s very slowly rolling its (invisible) wagon into town for the 47th edition of the annual festival at the start of next year.

Taking place at venues scattered across London, it’s an eclectic mix of eccentric, athletic, jaw-dropping, intimate and generally excellent performances plucked from the vast range of disciplines that come under the ‘mime’ umbrella. Featuring performers from around the globe, expect everything from large scale productions by award winning troupes, to puppet execution squads. They include:

London Mime Festival

Image: Milan Szypura

  • Materia – the protagonist of this show is, believe it or not, polystyrene. It’s not a character made from polystyrene, but the material itself is the character. And the artist behind the show, Andrea Salustri, will essentially use it to create magic before your eyes, making the plastic do stuff you otherwise wouldn’t believe.
  • The Brides – this Anglo-Italian co-production sees seven women all dressed up, ready to be wed, and all watched over by the ‘Death Bride’ as they await “a groom who never comes”.
  • The Games We Play – from the award-wining troupe at Gandini Juggling (now celebrating their 30th year in the business), this is going to be a straight-up showcase of juggling & performing magic, drawing from all of their years of performances to show off the best bits…
  • The Great He-Goat – this wonderfully titled number involves a museum’s paintings literally coming to life at night. It’s like Night at the Museum, only if it was inspired by 18th century Spanish artist Francisco Goya, not a T-Rex.
  • Famous Puppet Death Scenes – “The title says it all, prepare to weep.” Yes, this one isn’t some baroque metaphor. They’ll be executing puppets, live on stage. And you’ll probably feel bad for laughing quite so hard at it all.
  • Charline & Stan – based on the true story of how the then-unknown Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel shared a cabin while sailing from Southampton to New York, and gradually discovered their mutual talents for silent comedy.

You’ll also be able to catch silent movie screenings at The Barbican, watch free films online, and take on some excellent workshops from some of the best in the business, who’ll happily show you how to make vivid, silent characters come to life.

Apparently it all comes down to thinking inside the box.


NOTE: The London International Mime Festival takes place between 16th January and 5th February 2023 at various venues across London. You can find out more about what’s on, and book tickets, right HERE.

Partial to unusual events? Find out what else is in your January Agenda

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