The London International Mime Festival launches its 26th annual event this week. Running from 10 to 24 January, the 2004 festival features visual theatre companies and productions from around the world performing at venues across the capital. This year's line-up includes performers from Canada, Russia, France, Spain, Germany, Denmark and the UK, presenting leading exponents of mime, circus, clowning, juggling and puppetry.

The highlight of this year’s festival is the Canadian Stage Company’s production of The Overcoat, which opens at the Barbican Theatre on 20 January 2004, as part of BITE:04 (Barbican International Theatre Events). A cast of 22 conve the wordless plight of the isolated Everyman, a cog in a bureaucratic labyrinth whose shabby life is transformed by the arrival of his new coat. Created by Morris Panych (Auntie and Me) and Wendy Gorling, The Overcoat continues to 24 January.

Other 2004 highlights include Pandora 88 by the German Fabrik Company, cult Russian Company Akhe Engineering Theatre from St Petersburg performing White Cabin, the Art of Dying collaboration between Italian Paolo Nani and Danish Kristjan Ingimarsson, Catalan artist Joan Baixas, the London-based troupe Gandini Juggling and theatre magician Pep Bou.

In addition to the Barbican, Mime Festival productions will be staged at the Royal Festival Hall, Battersea Arts Centre (BAC), ICA and the Albany. For further information, visit the festival website.

- by Terri Paddock