Jul 9, 2021

12 Reasons to Learn Mime

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hatever your background, whether you have no performing experience at all, are a working actor, dancer, storyteller, or a performer of any kind, mime has so many benefits. 

Whether you want to up your game and become more employable, get fit and keep your mind active, or just want to kick back, get to know people and be more joyful, mime’s here for you. Let me tell you why...

1. Mime is fun

We did a little feedback form for students last semester and each and every response organically used the word ‘fun’ and isn’t isn’t this what we’re all searching for in life? 

Sure you’ll come away from class feeling challenged, stimulated, sometimes a little tired - but I don’t think you’ll ever leave feeling a sense of tedium.

Mime is fun - basically just in general, but miming with Les - I think we actually wrote that down as our top USP. 

Wanna find out for yourself? Take a taster class.

2. Mime helps with your acting career

Think mime is so 20th Century? Just watch any season of RuPaul’s Drage Race (but especially S13E13) and you’ll realise that mime is a skill that needs to be in every performer handbook - it’s green screens galore!

As it becomes cheaper and cheaper to ‘add it in post’  playing with the invisible is becoming an essential skill for those who want to work in the movies. 

What about being the next Andy Serkis? Whether you’d like to be a motion capture star of the silver screen, computer game - or even be a player in the new world of VR, being trained for these technologies surely can’t hurt.

(Les has worked with both green screens and motion capture right from the early days, and most recently with Mr Mime in Detective Pikachu)

That’s Les ⤴️

(Oh and by the way, the photo for this article is Les with Alain Bernardin, the founder and owner of the iconic Crazy Horse in Paris)

3. Mime could help you communicate

Since taking mime classes, I’ve definitely become more flappy! I was always a gesticulator, but I’ve found that my non-verbal communication has developed to the point that when I’m trying to describe something that words don’t quite encompass, my hands have done a thing and the other person already gets it while my brain is still stalling in ‘umm...errr...you...know’.

Sure mime is about invisible walls and walking down stairs, but it also includes the emotional component of a character. Their attitude, their mood, their feelings in the moment. By doing character work through mime, I’ve found that my ability to express myself has skyrocketed in a way I never would have predicted, being a logophile and all.

For example, one exercise in the spring semester involved writing a letter, delivering it to someone and having a duel. (Yep, it was fun.) So of course we were thinking about what we were writing with, how we got to the duel, who we were delivering to and our weapons of choice - but we also had to think about why we were writing the letter, to whom was it being delivered, did we expect the person to receive it well, was it received well and so forth - and without any pesky verbal exposition communicate all this AND make it interesting to watch.

How do you say I love you without words?

How do you say I hate you?

How do you say I want a cheeseburger?

It’s good stuff. And you’ll see it come out in your everyday life too.

4. Mime can create a self sufficient performer

Actors are ever increasingly expected to build up their own social capital. Whether you agree with this or not, mime is a actually a pretty damn useful tool if you want to publish your own videos. Pourquoi?  

Well you don’t need a set, or hell, even an acting partner. Using mime tricks you can show the audience that you are playing an entire cast of characters on your lonesome. 

With mime alone you can let the audience know you’re clutching on to the edge of a very tall building. You can fall through space and time. You can have a chat with a pigeon or even be a pigeon if you want. 

No costume. No make-up. No set.

All the examples above? We introduce them all in our 8 week course.

5. Mime is a good workout

The day after my first mime class, my core killed. If you’re engaged with the work, you will absolutely feel it! So much of mime is about holding tension in the body, whether you’re ‘leaning’ on something, or pushing something, you are showing the effort by putting in the effort - and more effort than if the object you’re interacting with was actually there.

You’ll develop your mobility as you focus on moving each muscle set to create a convincing illusion, as well as your strength. As a professional performer, Les keeps himself extremely fit so he can give his illusions the effortlessness required to make the magic happen.

As you progress through our classes, you’ll develop this fitness that every performer needs - and in fact - that every body needs to stay healthy and rambunctious.

6. Mime is a total workout: intellectual, physical, emotional, performative - all together

So I mentioned tired slightly higher up in this post - and we’ll admit it - sometimes you will come away needing a glass of wine and some Netflix - but it will be very well earned.  

It’s the good-tired. The job well done tired. The tired from learning something different, doing something new kind of tired. The gold star kind of tired.

Learning something new, especially something that stimulates you on multiple levels has been proven to create new synaptic pathways in the brain - keeping your mind high performing, curious and excited for other new challenges.

As any performer will know a craft requires intellectual exploration, physical endurance, emotional connection with yourself and awareness of the timbre of your audience. It’s a lot. In a good way. In a challenging way. In a Day-1-definitely-don’t-think-I-can-do-this-but-by-Day-8-you’re-all-of-a-sudden-Doing-The-Thing kind of way. 

It’s great. 

7. Join a small passionate family

Check out some of the people on our Facebook Accounts to Follow post and you’ll see what we mean. Mimes are a passionate and committed bunch all around the world. Almost anywhere you go, if you like mime, you’ll have a friend out there who can’t wait to have a natter about it. Join the family.

8. Carry the torch. Be the next generation. Change the narrative

We said it was small - and that’s not always a good thing. Small can mean homogenous. Small can mean dying out. Small can mean ossified. Honestly, mime is in danger of all these things. Especially with the clichés about mime so strong, we desperately need people to switch up the narrative. To shout Mime from the rooftops (or the park as Les did on World Mime Day) and become the next generation of mimes and become the new Mime Greats of the World.

Exciting, no?

9. Mime is a niche skill

As much as we like to think we don’t have an ego, there’s something nice about being able to do something that others are like ‘woaaah’ and that not many people know how to do.

Apart from being great for employability if you’re a performer, just having that little something you can make someone grin with that’s quite unique is just a little bit nice.

10. Mime is an amazing party trick

Now I’m talking to the teensy weensy part of you that loves the attention 😉 Leaning against something that isn’t there and seeing how many people notice. Walking down ‘stairs’ behind a sofa - and that’s just the simple stuff that brings out the joy. Because that’s what mime is for us - joy. And we like to share.

I don’t think there’s been a single video call with Les where he hasn’t played with the medium in some way. From poltergeists, to perspectives, he definitely gives these TikTok kids a run for their money in terms of creativity.  Maybe we’ll show you one day...

Whether it's your kids, your mates or your colleagues, we’d love to hear about your favourite mime tricks in the comments below.

11. Mime creates opportunities

Whether you go pro or do this for the giggles, mime opens up a few doors. Whether you do it as your side hustle, main hustle or just because it’s damn fun, streetcraft has always been a core part of the mime artist.

From busking, to festival walk-abouts, all you need is you (and some costume if you’re that way inclined) and you can earn a little moolah by taking your craft to the street (but please see, Point 5 and Don’t Be Annoying).

12. Did we mention it’s fun.

Just had to cheat and write this one twice because it’s probably the best reason and deserves double credit.

Ready to take the plunge? Dooo iiiitttt.