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.
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.
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.
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.
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 last year, 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.
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 a contributing editor to the leading UK feminist website, The F-Word.
Get in touch with Lissy.
image credit: Pamela Raith Photography 2019
Zsófi joined Mimbre as an intern in 2018, following on to freelance for the company and in late 2019 joined full-time. Zsófi has a background in Events Management and Theatre & Costume Design. After moving from bonnie Scotland to undertake an MA in Event and Experience Management at Goldmiths, she finished with a distinction and a research thesis about Mimbre and went on to work for IPSE as an Event Designer. She’s particularly interested in how art and immersive performance can be used to positively impact the world in the core areas of Environmental Sustainability, Intersectional Feminism and Community Development through the Arts.
Get in touch with Zsófi.
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.
Get in touch with Anna.
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.
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.
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 is the Director of Governance and Compliance for Moat Homes Ltd.
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.
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.”
Karen has worked within the Artistic Programming team at the Southbank Centre for the past nine years. She is dedicated to working with artists to create accessible, enjoyable and diverse performances. During her career she has produced and managed events for a number of prestigious London arts organisations, including the Roundhouse, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera House. She has additionally worked on productions at a number of festivals across the UK, including Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Glastonbury, Latitude and Camp Bestival. Karen is passionate about contemporary circus and is delighted to be a board member for Mimbre. She is looking forward to seeing the company continue to evolve and create inclusive, original and exciting work for audiences and participants.
Jim is a Senior Liquidity Reporting and Operations Manager in Asset, Liability and Capital Management for HSBC.
Rosie is a multi-skilled performer from London. After graduating from the National Centre for Circus Arts, her career has taken her around the globe. From large-scale events in Asia and the Middle East, to UK theatre tours and immersive cabarets, Rosie enjoys connecting with audiences of all ages and sizes, and is most at home when hanging upside down in the air. Since 2015 she has also been juggling the demands of motherhood with her career, and is ever grateful to her family for their unending support!
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”