Mime into Physical Theatre: A UK Cultural History, 1970-2000

Mark Evans, Simon Murray

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


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 Berko, 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.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages298
ISBN (Electronic)9780429330209
ISBN (Print)9780367352493, 9780367352486
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2023


  • Mime
  • physical performance
  • theatre
  • arts funding
  • arts administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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