The London International Mime Festival, Europe's longest-established annual season of contemporary visual theatre, launches its 28th annual event on 11 January 2006.

Running until 29 January 2006, the festival features visual theatre companies and productions from around the world performing at venues across the capital. The programme this year includes mask theatre, wordless comedy, acrobatics and an innovative circus performance combined with fine dining.

Amongst the international highlights for 2006 are: the final part of France’s Compagnie 111’s trilogy exploring spatial concepts, More Or Less Infinity; Belgium’s Twin Houses, a wordless monologue about spiritual and physical possession featuring one performer and five mannequin alter egos; French juggler Adrien Mondot; Germany's mask theatre experts Familie Floez; Japan’s Gamarjobat performing physical comedy; La Cucina dell’Arte, an evening of romantic dining and chaos, laughter and charm for all ages from Belgian group Circus Ronaldo; and South Korea’s Theatre Momzit making its London debut with Empty Hands, about the futility of human obstinacy and greed, and the wisdom of simplicity.

British acts include: aerialist Matilda Leyser presenting the London premiere of Line, Point, Plane, which combines physical theatre with circus aerial skills, dance, music and design; Faulty Optic’s visual theatre tale of love, guilt and revenge, Horsehead or The Rise and Fall of the Back and Front (pictured); winner of 2005 Total Theatre and Herald Angel Awards, Andrew Dawson, presenting autobiographical work with Absence and Presence; puppeteer Stephen Mottram’s macabre animation for adults, A Retrospective Season; Blind Summit’s London premiere of Lowlife, in which a man who looks uncannily like Kevin Spacey dances a love duet with a beer glass, a woman gets lost in a romantic novel, and a diva drinks to forget in the show, based on short stories and poems by Charles Bukowski.

Mime Festival productions will be staged at the South Bank Centre, the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Opera House, Battersea Arts Centre (BAC), Croydon Clocktower, Corn Exchange Newbury, and ICA. There will also be a number of talks and interactive workshops. For further information, visit the festival website.

- by Caroline Ansdell