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5 coolest things to see at this year's London International Mime Festival

The festival runs from 8 January to 2 February across various London venues

Thick & Tight's Romancing the Apocalypse
© Jon Archdeacon

Soon to celebrate its 44th year, the London International Mime Festival (LIMF) has long held a reputation for programming stunning performances across live art, physical and circus-theatre, mask, puppetry, movement and object theatre.

The annual festival runs from 8 January to 2 February and to assist the unfamiliar, we thought it might be a good idea to round up some of the most eye-catching shows from this year's programme. Hopefully, these are just the beginning of your mime adventure!

Wes Peden – Zebra

Wes Peden's Zebra
© Sonia Sleurs

Wes Peden is one of the festival's most celebrated jugglers, a performer who has travelled around the world showcasing his talents. Having been a guest star at the Mime Festival last year, Peden returns in 2020 with a solo show called Zebra. It is unlikely that any juggler has ever used vinyl records with quite the same level of creativity... 24 January to 26 January – Purcell Room, Southbank Centre

Galactik Ensemble – Optraken

Galactik Ensemble's Optraken
© N. Martinez

Showcasing one of the most anticipated movement pieces this year, Galactik Ensemble's five members all graduated from France's national circus school at Rosny sous Bois. Suffice to say this production ought to push the talented dancers right to their physical limit. LIMF is Optraken's UK debut following extensive touring in Europe. 29 January to 1 February – The Peacock Theatre, Sadler's Wells

Nick Lehane – Chimpanzee

Nick Lehane's Chimpanzee
© Richard Termine

Puppeteer Nick Lehane's upcoming Chimpanzee tells the tragic history of a captive ape and being a non-verbal production, relies solely upon the skills of three puppeteers to successfully convey the story. Shows such as Life of Pi gained acclaim last year for stunning use of puppetry in a major production, so if that piqued your interest then this show could be for you. 21 January to 25 January – The Pit, Barbican

Opposable Thumb – Coulrophobia

Opposable Thumb's Coulrophobia
© Adam Laity

"Coulrophobia" – extreme or irrational fear of clowns. Spanning slapstick, mime and puppetry, this production from British company Opposable Thumb might be able to transform even the most ardent clown cynic. Having debuted six years ago in Norway, this looks to be a riotous 80 minutes of entertainment. 24 January to 26 January – Jackson's Lane

Thick & Tight – Romancing the Apocalypse

Thick & Tight's Romancing the Apocalypse
© Tim Spooner

It is impossible to say for sure but Romancing the Apocalypse is probably the first production in the history of the world to feature the ghosts of Andy Warhol, Winston Churchill and a two-headed Barbara Cartland... which hints at the bizarre nature of this production. Combining queer culture and outsider art into their work, Thick & Tight have been consistently praised for their entertaining shows and this brand new production looks to be no different. 9 January - 11 January – Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells