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.

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Silvia Fratelli

Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director

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 many of its productions that have toured nationally and internationally. Her most recent work as a performer includes the Sky Arts silent comedy Ruby Robinson alongside Kim Cattrall, Aida – English National Opera, The Party – Nearly There Yet, Wondrous Strange – a RSC-commissioned show, and Mimbre’s If I Could I Would.

Currently, she leads on Mimbre’s acrobatic training and well-being programme and investigations, developing Mimbre’s team of core acrobatic performers. She manages the company’s international bookings and tour logistics, and was on the steering committee for One Dance UK’s first Hip-Hop and Circus Conference.

Silvia speaks Italian, English, Spanish and French.

Get in touch with Silvia.

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Lina Johansson

Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director

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 companies, venues and creatives, as director, specialist choreographer and movement director. She is driven by the wish to use circus and physicality not only for thrill and spectacle, but also in subtle ways to represent human relationships, create an atmosphere, tell a narrative or reveal a character.

Her directing and choreography credits include: The Exploded Circus – Mimbre – UK Tour (Director), Aida – English National Opera (Movement Director),  Wondrous Strange – Royal Shakespeare Company/Mimbre co-production (Director), City of The Unexpected – National Theatre Wales/Wales Millennium Cenre co-production (Associate Director), Orfeo – National Opera House/Roundhouse co-production (Acrobatic Choreographer), Polymer -Udderbelly – London (Director), Mergence – National Centre for Circus Arts (Director), Falling Up and Bench – Mimbre – National and European tours (Director), What We Do Is What We Love – Roundhouse (Director), Boris Gudinov – Royal Shakespeare Company (Acrobatic Choreographer), among others. Lina is also mother of two daughters, balancing them alongside all the other things in the air!

Get in touch with Lina.

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Emma Norin

Co-Founder

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.

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.

Emma moved back to Sweden in 2014.

mimbre by the Farrs
23/04/16
Picture ©Sam Farr 
sam@combehay.net

Alison Halstead

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

Shows include: Dior S/S 2019 (Christian Dior); Aida (ENO), Wondrous Strange (Mimbre/RSC) and Falling Up (Mimbre/National Theatre). During the Summer Season 2019 in the Swan Theatre, Alison made her RSC acting debut in Venus Preserved and The Provoked Wife.

Other theatre credits include: Hole (Royal Court); Future Bodies (HOME/Rash Dash/Unlimited); Julius Caesar (Sheffield Theatre); The House of Bernarda Alba (Graeae/Royal Exchange Theatres); Blood Wedding (Graeae/Dundee Rep Theatres); Exhibit B (Barbican); As You Like It (Taking Flight); Prometheus Awakes (Graeae/La Fura dels Baus); Macbeth, As You Like It, and King John (Chicago Shakespeare) and Antigone and No Place Like Home (Steppenwolf).

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Martha Harrison

Martha began performing as a national gymnast and contemporary dancer before completing the BA Honours Degree at The Circus Space in London, where she trained as a doubles trapeze flyer. She is an acrobat, aerialist, circus teacher and researcher.

She has worked for many years with Mimbre, performing in a number of shows. Alongside this, she has worked with the RSC, ENO and Incandescence. She completed her MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture in 2012 and published a paper titled ‘Gender representations in circus arts; a case study’, within Volume 10 of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Journal (Issue 1, Routledge, 2019). She has been the year manager for the degree course at The National Centre For Circus Arts for the past two years.

Martha has performed in If I Could I Would, Bench and Until Now.

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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, co-founded the Cultural Association of Woman Circus and toured in several festivals with her act of comedy double-trapeze, Voladas.

In 2008 she joined the School of Physical Theatre, LISPA, in London. Since then she has performed for many UK based companies such as Citrus Arts, Dreamthinkspeak, Upswing and at the English National Opera in Aida. She also has created a solo comedy trapeze act Maria the Cleaner and co-created the show Tie Between with the company Systole Theatro.

Alcina is interested in exploring how society is shaping our lives as an individual and as a group. This has encouraged her to do a BSc degree on Community Development and Leadership at London Metropolitan University. She is now on her third year.

Alcina performs in BenchIf I Could I Would and Wondrous Strange.

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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.

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

Get in touch with Lissy.

Frankie-Rose Taylor

Administrator and Communications Officer

Frankie-Rose joined Mimbre in 2018, after graduating with distinction with an MA in Contemporary Performance Practice from the University of Kent. She previously worked for EMG, a theatre marketing agency with a number of West End and touring clients. Frankie has a lifelong passion for performance that she wants to share with as many people as possible through her work in communications.  She’s particularly interested in the power of art to influence social change, and to reach out to underrepresented communities.

In her spare time, Frankie is a performance artist and political activist. She’s Co-Artistic Director of her own company, BLEEDOUTheatre, and Co-Founder of CB4 Theatre in Cardiff.

Get in touch with Frankie-Rose.

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Anna Strickland

Youth Programme Coordinator

Anna started life as a circus performer in her teenage years and quickly realised that her true forte was behind the scenes not on stage.  After training at The Circus Space in London, Anna then went on to form Missing Link Productions, one of the premiere circus booking agencies and events companies in the UK.

Anna is the UK Director of Operations for Circus Kathmandu, a social circus in Nepal supporting a group of young people who have been rescued from trafficking and other vulnerable situations to develop their own business and empower them to use their histories as a tool to educate others.

She is starting up a new programme called Circus for Survivors which uses circus skills to help survivors of trauma reclaim their physical narrative.
I’m driven by social justice, photography, buddhism and feminism.
I have joined Mimbre to help with administration and the youth programme.

Get in touch with Anna.

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.

Clara Eldridge

Chair

Clara is a seasoned corporate communications professional, providing strategic counsel and communications support across a wide range of industries. She is currently a senior member of the MSL corporate team.

Jo Carter

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.

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.

Matthew Hayday

Matthew is the Director of Governance and Compliance for Moat Homes Ltd.

Ria Meera Munshi

Ria Meera Munshi is a Bollywood Guinness World Record Holder and celebrity Choreographer. She is the Director of multi-award winning and international dance and theatre company, Ri Ri’s Dance Academy, based in Manchester. Ria has worked with Manchester City Football Club, Lloyds Banking and made a guest appearance on ITVBe’s “The Real Housewives of Cheshire.”

Kalwant Grewal

Kalwant Grewal is the Financial Controller at the West London NHS Trust with governance expertise in a wide range of industries including education, law, healthcare and charities across public, private and not for profit sectors.

Jim Robertson

Treasurer

Jim is a Senior Liquidity Reporting and Operations Manager in Asset, Liability and Capital Management for HSBC.