1st Edition

Mime into Physical Theatre: A UK Cultural History 1970–2000

By Mark Evans, Simon Murray Copyright 2023
    298 Pages 42 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    298 Pages 42 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This is the first book to investigate the social, political, cultural, artistic and economic forces which created conditions for the rise, success and decline of mime and physical theatre in the United Kingdom, from the 1970s to 2000.

    Unpicking the various routes through which mime and physical theatre emerged into wider prominence, this book outlines key thematic strands within this history of practice. The book blends historical description and refl ective analysis. It aims to juxtapose the various histories at play within this field, giving critical attention to the voices of the artists, funders and venue managers who were there at the time, particularly recognising the diversity of practitioners and the network of relationships that supported their work. Drawing upon over 40 original interviews, including, amongst others: Joseph Seelig, Helen Lannaghan, Steven Berkoff, Julian Chagrin, Annabel Arden, Nola Rae, Denise Wong, David Glass, Justin Case and Toby Sedgwick, the book offers unique testimonies and memories from key figures active during these three decades. This wide-ranging account of the history, social context, key moments and practical methods gives an unparalleled chronicle of one of the UK’s most vital and pioneering forms of theatre.

    From undergraduate students to established scholars, this is a comprehensive account for anyone studying contemporary theatre, theatre history, mime, physical theatre and the structures that support the performing arts in the United Kingdom.

    1. Introduction – Piecing mime together  2. The Moment of Mime  3. Cultural Economies of Mime and Physical Theatre: Ecologies of support  4. Mime and Physical Theatre beyond the Centre  5. Making Mime and Physical Theatre  6. From Scarcity to Abundance: training, education, dissemination and debate in mime and physical theatre  7. All Mimes Are Equal?  8. Conclusion - The rise and fall of mime as a cultural phenomenon


    Mark Evans is Professor of Theatre Training at Coventry University. He has written widely on movement, actor training and physical theatre. His recent publications include Frantic Assembly (with Mark Smith); Performance, Movement and the Body; The Routledge Companion to Jacques Lecoq (with Rick Kemp); and a critical introduction to The Moving Body by Jacques Lecoq.

    Simon Murray teaches contemporary performance and theatre studies at the University of Glasgow. Previously Director of Theatre at Dartington College of Arts, he was co-founder/co-editor (with Jonathan Pitches) of the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal and has been a professional theatre practitioner. His disparate writings include publications on Jacques Lecoq, physical theatres, lightness, WG Sebald and performances in ruins.