London International Mime Festival (LIMF), the UK’s annual festival of contemporary visual theatre, runs from Wednesday 12 January to Sunday 6 February 2022 with 15 productions including 7 co-commissioned works in 8 London venues: Barbican Theatre & The Pit, Jacksons Lane, Puppet Theatre Barge, Shoreditch Town Hall, Sadler’s Wells’ Lilian Baylis Studio and Peacock Theatre, and The Place.
This year’s LIMF co-commissions include the festival’s opening show, LIFE, Gandini Juggling’s tribute to contemporary dance legend, Merce Cunningham; Opposable Thumb’s BIG BOYS DON’T CRY, an emotional and comic story about manhood; BLUEBELLE, Theatre Re’s wondrous and mysterious tale about life and how to protect it; Thick & Tight’s SHORT & SWEET, a thoroughly modern variety show and The PappyShow with a multidisciplinary performance that asks us all to consider the question, when you look at someone, WHAT DO YOU SEE?
Other featured artists for 2022 are Nikki Rummer and JD Broussé, better known as the hugely successful acro-duo Nikki & JD. Between them they perform 4 shows in the programme. UNBROKEN is Nikki Rummer’s solo debut, a family story told through the eyes of a daughter while JD’s (le) PAIN is a journey through a universe of breadmaking, physical heroics, and growing up queer in a boulangerie in the south of France. Both solo shows are LIMF co-commissions.
Festival first timers include Scotland’s foremost artist-led independent theatre company, Vanishing Point, with its internationally acclaimed re-imagining of Maeterlinck’s 1895 drama, Interior, Sadiq Ali, a mixed heritage, neurodiverse circus artist born and raised in Edinburgh, and Australian circus strong-lady, Charmaine Childs.
Returning favourites include Britain’s hottest young circus company, Barely Methodical Troupe, Olivier Award nominated Compagnie 111, magical visual artist/musicians Romain Bermond and Jean-Baptiste Maillet, aka Stereoptik and String Theatre with its family-friendly adaptation of Albert Lamorisse’s famous short film, THE RED BALLOON.
The programme at Barbican Cinema features three comedy shorts films by Brussels-based duo Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel, alongside films by two giants of the French physical-comedy tradition, Jacques Tati and Pierre Étaix.
Online treats running throughout the festival include LIMF’s specially commissioned FIVE SHORT FILMS, a series created for 2021’s entirely digital festival, but so well received that it’s now a permanent fixture. This time the films are made by international artists Delgado Fuchs (Switzerland), Dewey Dell (Italy), Gabriela Muñoz (Mexico), Patrick Sims (USA/France) and Hiroaki Umeda (Japan). From the US, Heather Henson’s HANDMADE PUPPET DREAMS presents a compilation of shorts featuring new generation American puppet artists, and Open Sky Theatre’s feature-length COLD is a dark fairy tale for adults addressing themes of love, grief, madness and redemption.
The festival will also offer a mix of live and online workshops in various visual theatre disciplines including clown, commedia, puppetry and animation, mime, mask and devising led by Angela de Castro, Avner Eisenberg, David Glass, John Mowat, Chris Pirie/Green Ginger, Guillaume Pigé/Theatre Re, Nola Rae, The PappyShow, Told by an Idiot, Vamos Theatre and Steve Wasson & Corinne Soum/Théâtre de l’Ange Fou,