Mimbre | About Mimbre
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About Mimbre

Mission

Mimbre is a female-led company creating nuanced, breathtaking and highly skilled acrobatic theatre.

We use circus and dance innovatively as a physical language to illuminate human connections and promote a positive image of women.

With an artistic voice that is physical and accessible, Mimbre build relationships with broad, non-traditional audiences and participants, creating unexpected moments in unusual spaces and reclaiming some beauty within the urban environment.

Our performances and participation programme reach beyond social, financial and cultural boundaries and find fresh ways to engage, encourage and inspire people, showing that the impossible can be possible on a local, national and international level.

The Company’s Aims

We are committed to street theatre and work in unconventional settings, creating moments of the unexpected and reclaiming some beauty in the urban environment . Through strong imagery, visual poetry and emotional content, our work aims at a broad and non-traditional theatre audience.

We aim to champion the development of the art of circus in London and the UK through extensive and in-depth artistic research, skill sharing and collaborative work across the boundaries of art forms and national borders, resulting in a continuously enhanced artistic vocabulary and in bold, challenging, highly skilled and visually poetic performances.

In addition, we support the next generation of creative artists, with a vibrant and varied education programme, which includes: a strong and continuous local educational programme with young people in Hackney, professional development opportunities for both upcoming and established artists and a programme of masterclasses and creative projects that create new connections and spark new ideas both within Mimbre and beyond.

Artistic Directors

Silvia Fratelli

After graduating from the National Centre for Circus Arts (NCCA) in 1998, Silvia founded Mimbre alongside Lina Johansson and Emma Norin with a vision of challenging the predominant gendered roles within contemporary circus.

Silvia has been both an artistic director and performer within the company, taking part in all 10 productions and commissions that have toured nationally and internationally.

Alongside her creative endeavours, she strives to understand the effects of training and touring on the performer’s body. In 2015, she organised and curated the first UK Acrobatic Symposium alongside Glen Stewart (Head of Training at National Centre for Circus Arts).

Currently, she leads on Mimbre’s acrobatic training and well-being program and investigations, developing Mimbre’s team of core acrobatic performers. She manages the company’s international bookings and tours logistics, and is on the steering committee for One Dance UK’s first Hip-Hop and Circus Conference, which will take place this November in Stratford Circus.

Silvia speaks Italian, English, Spanish and French.

Get in touch with Silvia.

Lina Johansson

Lina Johansson founded Mimbre together with Silvia Fratelli and Emma Norin in 1999 with a vision of creating strong acrobatic choreographies with women only.

As Joint Artistic Director of Mimbre, Lina leads on the company’s vision and artistic programme, including Mimbre’s programme for local, young people. Lina also works on collaborations and external projects  with other theatre company, venues and creatives, as director, specialist choreographer and movement director – to develop circus and the subtle ways that physicality can be used for imagery, not only representing the thrill and the spectacle, but also as representations of human relationships, atmospheres and to bring a narrative or a character forward.

Lina Johansson’s directing and choreography credits include ‘Falling Up’ and ‘Bench’ by ; ‘Mergence’ – ensemble show for National Centre for Circus Arts; Acrobatic Choreographer for ‘Boris Gudinov’ by Royal Shakespeare Company and most recently Circus Choreographer for ‘Orfeo’– a National Opera House and Roundhouse co-production. Lina is also mother of 2 daughters, balancing them alongside all other things in the air!

Get in touch with Lina.

Emma Norin

Emma began training to be a circus performer at Marieborgs Folkhögskola in Sweden in 1994, and then went on to train at The Circus Space in London in 1996-1998, and in Havana, Cuba in 1999. She co-founded Mimbre with Lina Johansson and Silvia Fratelli and has been a performer in most of Mimbre’s shows since moving back to Sweden in 2014.

Emma has extensive experience of working with ensemble acrobatics and developing movement in a balancing context and is especially interested in exploring the possibility of linking the physical and emotional as a performer as well as the expressive potential of acrobatics.

In 2013 Emma was one of the core acrobats for ‘The Lightprincess’ – National Theatre’s fairytale musical composed by Tori Amos.

Associate Performers

Alison Halstead

Alison is a British-born, American-raised, professionally-trained actor. After creating a full and exciting career in Chicago, Illinois, having worked with the city’s finest theatres, she returned to London 3 years ago.

Alison uses her unique physicality to always create specific and exciting work. She recently collaborated with Graeae Theatre, in an award-winning adaptation of Ted Hughes’s poem, ‘The Iron Man’. She has worked with Red Earth Theatre, in ‘The Lost Happy Endings’ and was a finalist in the BBC/Actors Centre Talent Boost programme. In all collaborations, she endeavours to challenge herself to risk, be bold, and to reveal.

Alison performed in Falling Up and Wondrous Strange.

Martha Harrison

I began performing as a national gymnast and contemporary dancer and then began my circus career by completing the BA Honours Degree at The Circus Space in London, where I trained as a doubles trapeze flyer.

Alongside my performing work I have also been teaching extensively for The Circus Space within their degree programme and continue to teach and assist creatively on projects, including, most recently, “Singin in the Rain” at The Palace Theatre, London.

Alongside my performing work I have also been teaching extensively for The Circus Space within their degree programme and continue to teach and assist creatively on projects, including, most recently, “Singin in the Rain” at The Palace Theatre, London.

Martha has performed in Bench and Until Now. She is currently performing alongside Silvia and Alcina in If I could I would.

Alcina Mendes

Alcina began her career in Lisbon at the school of performing arts Chapito (2002-2005) and then moved to Madrid to do a specialisation of circus at the school Carampa. She spent three years in Spain where she consolidated her experience as a performer.

There, she also co-founded the Cultural Association of Woman Circus, performed in several festivals with Voladas (double-trapeze act) and collaborated with many companies as a circus performer.

In 2008 she decided to extend her skills as a creator and joined the school of physical theatre, LISPA, in London. Since then she performed for Citrus Arts which toured in Wales, Dreamthinkspeak company, presented at Somerset House, created a solo comedy trapeze act “Maria the Cleaner” and has been collaborating with Systole Theatro on the show “Tie Between” as a creator/performer. Her aim as a contemporary performer is sharing life experiences from the personal to the social through the body, in a way that everyone can feel embrace, no matter which race, culture, gender or nationality.

Alcina performs in Bench and If I could I would, alongside Martha Harrison and Silvia Fratelli. She was also part of the Wondrous Strange cast.

Staff

Lissy Lovett (Executive Director)

Lissy leads on the financial, strategic and operational areas of the company.

Before joining Mimbre, Lissy was Director of Services and Interim CEO at Stagetext, the organisation which provides captioning and live speech-to-text services in theatres and cultural venues. At Stagetext she developed new processes, business models and strategies for the growth of Stagetext’s services as well as managing Stagetext’s theatre programme for five years.

Previously Lissy was the co-founder of the Pirate Fairies walkabout and street theatre company and produced for Pandora’s Box Theatre Company.  She holds an MA in Mathematics from Merton College, Oxford University.  She is also the comedy and theatre editor of the leading UK feminist website,

The F-Word: www.thefword.org.uk).

Get in touch with Lissy.

Jana Jammal (Learning & Projects Officer)

As Mimbre’s Learning & Projects Officer my role includes communications, contact and office management, and the implementation of our participation and education programs.

After spending more than 8 years on stage, I decided to step down and work behind the scenes. I left my home town of Beirut for London where I got the opportunity to work with excellent organisations such as The Old Vic Tunnels, Told by an Idiot, and the Wilderness Festival.

Get in touch with Jana.

Collaborators

Loren Elstein

Loren first collaborated with Lina Johansson Mergence at the National Centre for Circus Arts. Since then she has been involved on many Mimbre projects, including the RSC Wondrous strange, Mimbre Video and the upcoming exploded Circus.

Loren’s other credits include Pia De Tolomei, English Touring Opera (2016); The Night Watch, Manchester Royal Exchange (2016); Hangmen, Royal Court/Wyndhams (2016); Most Excellent Adventure Tour, Fatboy Slim (2015); Liberian Girl, Royal Court Theatre (2015); Out of Scale and Mergence, National Center for Circus (2014).

Quinta

Quinta works as both a solo artist – her acclaimed debut album My Sister, Boudicca was released in 2009 – and collaboratively with fellow artists such as Bat for Lashes, Penguin Café, Marques Toliver and Patrick Woolf. She has also worked closely with Radiohead’s Philip Selway on a number of projects including the musical score for Rambert’s staging of a Merce Cunningham event in 2014.

A co-founder of Music in Detention and one quarter of all-female experimental arts collective, Collectress, Quinta combines these projects with session work and compositions for TV and film.

Board

Jo Carter (Chair)

Jo is the founder and Artistic Director of Immediate Theatre, whose mission it is to engage young people (especially those at risk of marginalisation or exclusion) in high quality artistic projects which involve creative and personal development, training and employment that equip them with the skills of enquiry, collaboration and communication needed today to shape the thriving communities of tomorrow.

Lindsay Morgan (Treasurer)

Lindsay was the Joint Head of Finance at the National Theatre in London for the past 7 years, and a Chartered Accountant.

Poppy Burton-Morgan

Poppy is the artistic director of Metta Theatre. Established in 2005 by visionary Director Poppy Burton-Morgan and Motley trained Designer William Reynolds Metta Theatre is at the forefront of cross-art-form theatre practice, known for combining emotionally powerful performances with imaginative theatricality and striking visual style.

Clara Eldridge

Clara is a PR strategist and corporate communications specialist with more than ten years’ experience in the field.

Matthew Hayday

Matthew is the Head of Governance at the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Past Performers

Rebecka Nord

Rebecka was born in the south of Sweden and as a child she had lots of energy which was spent on climbing trees, riding the monocycle, sailing, singing and then – of course – circus. She started out doing monocycle, tight rope and acrobatics and at the age of 15 she moved to Gävle to enter the Cirkusgymnasium (Circus High School).

The circus has been her life ever since and she has learned a lot from this alternative career, most importantly she has learned to fight for what she wants to achieve. She founded the company Stint at the age of 19 and toured around the world with it, being her own writer, director, tailor, driver, scenographer and PR consultant. Recently she worked as a teacher at the circus school L’école de cirque de Bruxelles, worked as a flyer in the acrobatic duo The Walkers, as a base in Las Errantes and was touring with the European project Hip Cirq Europ’.

Rebecka performed in Bench, with Alcina Mendes and Silvia Fratelli.

Annemie Pierlé

Annemie started life as a gymnast where she specialised in sports acrobatics as a female base in duo and trio. After more than ten years throwing people in the air she discovered the world of circus where she could be flying in the spotlights. She took classes in circus schools in Leuven, Brussels and Antwerp and followed one year of pedagogic formation in ‘Ecole de Cirque de Bruxelles’.

Annemie performed in Falling Up.

Charmaine Childs

Charmaine is an Australian performer, resident in the UK, who has toured outdoor arts events through 17 countries internationally since 2003. Her first professional touring work was as half of the physical comedy duo ‘Tutti Frutti’ performing a clown based acrobalance show for almost 5 years, including being part of the cultural programme for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.  This lead on to the creation of a solo work celebrating the play between strength and femininity, “Betty Brawn: Strong Lady Show”, which has been touring solidly since 2007.  Also in 2007 Charmaine collaborated on a comic acrobatic duet “Barcelona” with ‘Mario Queen of the Circus’ which they continue to perform with resounding success. More on work can be found here.

Charmaine performed in Falling Up.

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