Founded in 1999, Mimbre are a female-led producing company, creating delicate, breathtaking and highly-skilled acrobatic theatre for outdoor and unusual settings, touring nationally and internationally, with a strong digital presence. We collaborate across the Creative Industries, as consultants and creators. We run a vibrant local youth programme and an Artist Development Programme for physical performers.
We use circus and movement innovatively as a physical language to illuminate human connections. We pull down barriers to reach beyond social, financial, and cultural boundaries and facilitate everyone’s place within the arts. In all our work we aim to challenge gender stereotypes and promote a positive, diverse, and inclusive image of cis and trans women as well as non-binary people.
We make at least two productions each year, including at least one tour, typically reaching around 20,000 live audiences. In the last five years, our digital reach has been 3.5m. Partners include Dior, the RSC, The Lowry, National Centre for Circus Arts, Garsington Opera, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival and Stockton International Riverside Festival.
Our youth programme, Mimbre Youth, is rooted in the communities of our local borough of Hackney. It includes classes, community days, performance projects and progress routes. It is a place where young people can express themselves creatively, gain confidence and work as a team. Mimbre Youth focuses on access, inclusion and excellence, and pulls down barriers to enable every child to thrive, regardless of means or abilities.
Our Artist Development Programme advances circus and leadership through professional development initiatives, artistic research and knowledge sharing. We focus on mid-career performers, women, non-binary artists and those from under-represented backgrounds.
A collaborative approach permeates all aspects of our work, from our company structure to our relationship with our performers, audiences and participants. Working with a wide variety of artists, technical innovators and educators, across art forms and borders allows us to continuously enhance our artistic vocabulary and create bold, challenging and highly skilled work.
Mimbre was formed in 1999 by Emma Norin, Lina Johansson and Silvia Fratelli.
The creative and performance pedigree of Mimbre’s Artistic Directors Lina Johansson and Silvia Fratelli have earned the company a notable reputation. It has received NPO/Core funding from Arts Council England since 2006 in recognition of the company’s innovative approach and contribution to excellence within the performing arts.
Mimbre’s previous performances Sprung, Trip-tic, The Bridge, Until Now, Bench, If I could I would, The Exploded Circus, Lifted and their Daryl & Co co-production Look Mum, No Hands have toured widely and been performed across four continents.
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
Image credit: Stephen Fyfe
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.
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.
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).
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.
Image credit: Stephen Fyfe
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 Bench, If I Could I Would and Wondrous Strange.
Rosy Roberts is a physical performer, acrobat & theatre-maker. Rosy undertook 2.5 years of a medical degree at Bristol University before following an impulse to clamber on top of people & stand on her hands. This led her to Circomedia where she completed the BA honours degree in 2015.
She now works with Mimbre as an Associate Performer, performing in outdoor locations nationally & internationally. With Mimbre she performed on the Dior’s Dream Parade (Dior Haute Couture S/S 2019) and for the English National Opera in Aida (2017). Rosy has a penchant for animal transformation and has played a monkey (in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, Warner Brothers), a chicken in her own offbeat cabaret act about broken eggs & smashed egos, and a dog in Oh No George!, Can’t Sit Still (2020).
Rosy performs in If I Could I Would, Wondrous Strange, Lifted and To Untouch.
Freya is a Norwegian acrobat. She moved to Bristol half a decade ago, to study at Circomedia. Being a fan of doing everything, she joined Mimbre for their show Lifted in 2019 while finishing her BA in Circus at the same time. She has also worked with companies such as Citrus Art and Cirque Bijou, and in cabarets like The Decadent Rabbit and Carnie Cabooze.
She is a base, but has no time for anyone telling her how strong she is (for a woman). She believes feminism can only ever be intersectional, that action speaks louder than words, and that the only way forward is to decolonize our brains and our societies.
Freya performs in Lifted and To Untouch.
Jaide Annalise is a London based Circus Artist specialising in Cyr wheel and Acrobatics. Having competed in Artistic Gymnastics for 11 years, Jaide went on to train at The National Centre for Circus Arts. After graduating in 2019, Jaide became a Resident Artist at the Roundhouse in Camden. Jaide likes to bring a little bit of herself to every piece she creates – contemporary circus with an urban edge.
Jaide performs in Lifted.
Lissy leads on the financial, strategic and operational areas of the company. She is also a board member for theatre company Trans Creative.
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, produced for Pandora’s Box Theatre Company and was an editor of the leading UK feminist website, The F-Word. She has an MA in Mathematics from Merton College, Oxford University.
image credit: Pamela Raith Photography 2019
Meet Brilla, our dedicated Communications and Administration Officer. With a talent for crafting engaging content across web, social media, and email marketing, Brilla is a seasoned wordsmith and a team player. She excels at conveying ideas to diverse audiences and has honed her communication skills through various roles. Brilla is well-versed in content strategy development, ensuring consistent brand representation across all platforms. Armed with an MSc in Media & Communications and a BA in Creative Writing, she is our go-to expert for all things communication and administration
Natasha Khamjani is one of the core superstar teachers on Mimbre Youth! Natasha trained at London Studio Centre and worked as a versatile performer before deciding to concentrate on being a creative from behind the scenes, although she still finds herself making cameos on various projects!
She mainly works as freelance choreographer and teacher across the industry including theatre, commercial, corporate and education projects. Her signature is to fuse a variety of styles together with a strong and sometimes humorous narrative to create something spectacular.
She is a passionate and sought-after education specialist and has worked and still works for various organisations and charities including the Mimbre, Southbank Centre, East London Dance, Garsington Opera, Grange Festival, The Flying Seagulls Project, Magpie Project, CHIVA, Swindon Dance, Southwark Music Service as well as many schools and colleges.
She is Co-Director of a performing arts school in Brockley called DNPA and loves being at the start of young people’s dance journey!
Ted Barnes is a UK based musician, songwriter and composer. Best known for his work with British songwriter Beth Orton, he co-wrote, recorded and played live with Beth for over ten years.
Ted has released four solo albums and formed the band ‘Clayhill’ with long term collaborator Ali Friend (Red Snapper) and the late Gavin Clark (Sunhouse).
He has worked with filmmakers Shane Meadows and Clio Barnard and written soundtracks for both theatre and circus companies including devising theatre shows for the National Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre. He is a member of Mrs H and the Sing-along Band and also produces singer songwriters and commercial music library albums.
Photo credit: Rob Baker Ashton
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 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.
Aramide is a seasoned investment professional, most recently working as a product specialist for niche private credit strategies. She is passionate about women’s issues and also sits on the board of Rights of Women. Outside of work she is a budding aerialist and pre-ferment enthusiast.
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.”
Jim joined Mimbre as Treasurer in 2018. Originally from Falkirk, Scotland, Jim works in London within Global Treasury, Recovery & Resolution Planning for HSBC. Having worked for HSBC for over 10 years, Jim has also worked for RBS Group and Barclays. Jim has an MBA from the University of Glasgow and in his spare time enjoys travelling and singing with the London Gay Men’s Chorus.
Jessica has over fifteen years’ experience of working in research in the public, academic and voluntary sectors. Currently she is employed by University College London where she manages a national biomedical infrastructure project on biobanking. There she is also involved in initiatives to improve gender and race equality within the university’s policies and practices.
Alice grew up in Salisbury and is now based in London and Amsterdam. She is currently the Resident Assistant Director on A Little Life, at The Harold Pinter Theatre. Alice is Resident Director for Amsterdam on Stage, working in translation on immersive productions and Associate Director of Bric a Brac, international Lecoq trained devising company. She was Resident Assistant Director at the Unicorn Theatre (2019/20), The UK’s leading theatre for Young People. Alice was recipient of the Peter-Cheeseman Award for Most Developed Director (2020), the JMK Assistant Director Bursary at Salisbury Playhouse (2018) and a Young Vic Outreach Bursary (2018).
Mimbre is an exceptional company which holds an important position in both the Circus and Outdoor Arts networks. A combination of an ever-evolving, pioneering vision which feeds into a unique place as a female-led organisation has put them at the forefront of new work and sector development. As a company, they have longevity and a strong track record - and audience, programmer and participant loyalty on a national and international scale.
"...remarkable female performers [...] a mix of ages, body types and nationalities, but what they all had in common was astonishing physical strength.”
"Women stood on other women’s shoulders. They strode along the walkways, held high and visible from every angle, breaking gender barriers and breaking hearts with the symbolism of so much female support: She ain’t heavy—she’s my sister. . ."
"A magical evening ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆"
"I would wager a 99 ice cream that this grand old theatre on Worthing seafront has never hosted a production as visually exciting as this one"
Lina Johansson’s work on our collaborations has been central to their success. Her distinct virtuosity is in her imaginative acrobatic work, but her choreographic intelligence, her instinct for story, and her ability to draw ambitious, playful, and achieved performances from artists of varying ability have also been indispensable to each project. Lina brings clarity, rigour, and an open mind to the rehearsal room, and is a joy to work with.
“[a cabaret with]…no shiny glitter and no teeth grinding precision, but British understatement and rather casual perfection … mimbre celebrate their muscular dance-theatre on the highest level”
“…before you realise it you are trapped in a spider’s web of somersaults, pirouettes, throws and twists…the harmonic links create a performance with a future for these three young dancers, equilibrists, athletes and acrobats.”
“[sprung]…flows like a dance with a street style choreography. The anticipation on the faces of the children before this show of excellent visual beauty, subtle movements and great rhythmic sensibility, demonstrates that also children can appreciate artistic beauty!”
“…they appear like the sun after the storm. Fluidity, rhythm and humour are the three defining qualities of mimbre.”
“The female trio mimbre astonish with their excess of poetic agility.”
“A new side to movement arts, quite unlike any other group we’ve seen. The piece builds dance and acrobatics into a whole where neither side is a token. They’re renowned among those who know – state-of-the-art movement theatre/dance!”
“High spirits are much in evidence this week as mimbre cause fun and havoc in St Helier…a slickly choreographed show full of cheeky humour and moves.”
“A unique show which is charming in both its grace and strength; engaging, moving and full of fun!”
“mimbre is … proving that traditional circus skills and contemporary theatre really can be united successfully…A great piece of outdoor performance and one I hope will stay in mimbre’s repertoire for years to come.”
“Physically the performers are well balanced…..They climb up, balance on, vault over and plummet alongside one another with ease, but this nimble rapport is more than skin-deep … marked by a simple but emotionally delicate charm”
“Until Now benefits from the fact that this trio know each other intimately: it maps their relationships and reveals that three can be a crowd if you don’t get the balance exactly right through real physical expressiveness … mimbre is starting out on a journey that could, if they are brave, take them – and us – to unexpected places.”
“In the Plaza Mayor three women enchanted the audience with harmonious acrobatics and images so soft and delicate that the physical effort seemed not to exist. The extraordinary beauty and elegance of their movements, accompanied by a delicate soundtrack, means magic wins the leading role. mimbre is the name of this splendid British trio, who creates a story where travel and the strength of friendship are expressed through the poetry written with their bodies.”
“Some partings and greetings involve such mixed emotions that the moments are beyond words, and it’s these wordless moments that, mimbre have captured in Until Now. We were completely swept away by the three mimbre women tumbling, soaring, climbing and whirling through a series of poignant, amusing, delightful scenes … Director Leandre Ribera has developed something unique with mimbre, a dance theatre that has equal space for narrative and amazing acrobatics …That they can convey the emotional subtleties of parting, staying, arriving and leaving at the same time makes Until Now a deeply satisfying, unique and above all extremely joyful experience”