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AngelaVonLerber ganzOver 70 participants from 21 nations came together for the first ever World Mime Conference

27.03.2018, by Angela von Lerber

What images come to mind when you think of the word ‘mime’? – human statues as tourist attractions along a busy pedestrian thoroughfare, a dusty theatre in some lonely back street, or yawning boredom amongst the audience in half-emptyvenues? The World Mime Organisation serves to dispel such prejudices. Founded in 2004 by the Serbian mime Marko Stojanović and his Israeli colleague Ofer Blum, the organisation invited guests to the first World Mime Conference in Belgrade from 21 to 23 March 2018.

28 04 2018 001Marko Stojanović, President of the World Mime Organisation, welcomes guests from around the world

The two founders have long dreamed of bringing together in one place the stage artists of mime and physical theatre, as well as their training establishments and institutions from all the corners of the world. For the date of the first gathering of mime artists, they selected World Mime Day on 22 March, which is also the birthday of the world’s most renowned mime, Marcel Marceau. Over 70 participants from 21 countries accepted the invitation to Belgrade – some of them ‘attending’ via live stream on Skype.

A voice for the silent sounds of mime

In his address, Vice President Ofer Blum succinctly summarised the reason for organising the gathering:

“We want to free the art of mime from the stigma of antiquation and highlight the inherent potential of this art form.” (Ofer Blum)

Joining the event live from Hunter College New York, Professor of Theatre Mira Felner confirmed his diagnosis: a survey of the new students at Hunter College revealed that only one of them – a foreign student from France – knew the name of the world’s most famous mime, Marcel Marceau. It is high time to change this state of affairs.

Participants from four continents

The participants at the World Mime Conference came from Northern, Western and Eastern Europe, from the USA, Colombia, Brazil, Japan, China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A considerable number came from Serbia, where the local organiser Marko Stojanović has established and maintained his network over many years. Alongside the annual awards ceremony for outstanding services to the world of mime, participants also enjoyed a densely-packed programme. The boundaries of mime were explored and eagerly discussed. Even if there was some disagreement as to where mime stops and modern dance begins, there is one thing the participants were all in agreement with – that mime has evolved and has the power to achieve more than is commonly assumed.

World Mime Awards ceremony

Since its earliest days, the World Mime Organisation has bestowed awards for outstanding services to the world of mime. This year there were no fewer than five awards, which went to stage artists and institutions. One such award was received by the Spanish mime Carlos Martínez, who is also popular in Switzerland’s small theatre scene and has been touring the world’s stages with his solo programmes for the best part of four decades.

28 04 2018 002Award-winner Carlos Martínez talks about his work

The other winners included:

28 04 2018 0032018 World Mime Awards ceremony

Kaleidoscopic mime

Beyond the stage, mime is also a great tool of inclusiveness for disadvantaged or physically disabled people. Working with one’s body, the shared experience, and standing on stage all help to boost the participants’ self-confidence. For obvious reasons, the art of mime is especially popular among the hearing-impaired community. Lepa Petrović, Director of the School for the Deaf in Belgrade, Julijana Lekić from the Serbian Association of Sign-Language Interpreters, and the deaf mime Ivan Beader reported on mime projects carried out by hearing-impaired people. There was particular interest in implementing communal stage projects with hearing-impaired and non-hearing-impaired people – finally on an equal footing. The mime Nemo from Germany in turn reported on his project Mime Art for Life, which uses workshops in the townships of South Africa to boost young people’s self-confidence and takes them on tour. Nemo also works with organisations for the disabled:

“It requires plenty of patience. But if I manage to obtain even a brief insight into the world of an autist, I feel very enriched.” (Nemo alias Wolfgang Neuhausen)

As a dance and movement therapist, Miodrag Kastratović works with paraplegics and people with physical disabilities. He has been involved in the organising of Paradance championships for many years. After 35 years in this field, it was only after his meeting with the founder of the World Mime Organisation that he realised that what he practises is not dance but mime. He is convinced – and his successful therapies prove him right: “Mime is better than any medicine.”

Other talks and presentations highlighted the artistic aspect of mime within the following topics:

  • Mime and dance
  • The future of mime as an art and business
  • Mime in higher education curriculum

28 04 2018 004AmiranShalikashvili Jr. presents the spectacular new building planned by the Georgian State Pantomime Theatre in Tbilisi

Promoting young talent

At the conference, attention was also paid to learning and implementation. Veteran masters of the mime scene were in attendance to provide insights into their work – people such as Yoram Boker, who continues to teach at the university in Tel Aviv despite being advanced in years, and Ella Jaroszewicz, the widow of Marcel Marceau and former member of the Tomaszewski troupe. In 1974, she opened her own training institute for physical theatre in Paris.

28 04 2018 005YoramBoker from Tel Aviv explains the use of masks

 Ella Jaroszewicz was presented with the World Mime Award for her life’s work Ella Jaroszewicz was presented with the World Mime Award for her life’s work

Another master of physical theatre was in attendance in Belgrade, namely Stanislaw Brosowski – another former student of Tomaszewski. Brosowski teaches at the Stockholm University of the Arts and helps aspiring actors to use not only their voices but also their bodies on stage.

The conference was rounded off with a junior talent competition and practical workshops.

Looking back – looking towards the future?

It is impossible to do justice to every talk and performance in a review of these densely-packed three days. What remains is amazement at the diversity of the universal art form that is mime, and at how many places around the world it is still practised at the highest level.

In contrast to the famous French mimes such as Jacques Lecoq, Etienne Decroux and Marcel Marceau, or the Polish mime artist Henryk Tomaszewski, who were celebrated like stars in the first half of the twentieth century, mime today has been eclipsed by modern theatre and entertainment comedy. The mimes of that era provided a counterpoint to the age in which they lived: against the backdrop of social tensions, war rhetoric and decadence, they expressed the silent, humane emotions. Where words had no impact or were even banned, mime appealed to people’s common humanity. Will mime manage to reclaim this role in the present day? The gathering at the World Mime Conference might have broken the ground in this endeavour.

Link to the original blogpost in German:

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Download the full Report in PDF

Dear colleagues,

The First WORLD MIME CONFERENCEwas successful for many reasons thanks to all the participants. Allow me to go through some statistics with you and share some information that was not obvious.

When the conference was in planning stages an idea of having some 15 participants from abroad and 30-35 all together was considered an acceptable success.

COUNTRIES represented at the WMConference

First WORLD MIME CONFERENCE had more than 70 participants from 21 countries and 4 continents.

We had 17 countries represented by participants in person, 2 countries were represented as countries of residence of the participants, 1 additional over Skype video and 1 joined the Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon.

Here is the list of countries represented by participants: Sweden, Ukraine, Spain, Bangladesh, Japan, Switzerland, France, Germany, Georgia, Colombia, Sri Lanka, USA, China, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Israel, Serbia, Brazil (Skype), Montenegro (Country of residence), Netherlands (Country of residence), Macedonia (Wikipedia).The continents are: Europe, Asia, North America, South America.

The largest delegations not counting Serbia were from Ukraine with 7 participants and Sweden with 6, followed by Israel with 3 and France, Spain, Switzerland and Bangladesh with 2 persons present.


First World Mime Conference was a 3-day multi-event manifestation with complex organization of 9 different programs:

1. Discussions

2. Presentations

3. Workshops

4. World Mime Day Wiki Edit-A-Thon(with Wikipedia)

5. FIST World Mime Students Festival

6. WMC Participants Festival (Was established spontaneously by participants)

7. Mini Tour of the Pantomimteatern from Stockholm

8. Workshop in Child Friendly Space inthe Asylum Center Krnjača (Refugee Camp)by Alice Hillbom Rudfeldt and Bosse W Lindström from the Pantomimteatern organized by the Danish Refugee Council

9. Ceremonies

10. Official Dinner


We had 4 DISCUSSIONSwith predefined topics:

1. “Mime As A Tool Of Integration (Mime And Deaf Community)”

2. “Mime & Dance”

3. “Future Of Mime As An Art And Business”

4. “Mime In Higher Education Curriculum”

The planed duration of the discussions was 90 minutes each or 6 hours all together but at the end we had more than 8 hours of discussions which is a 35% increase.

That did have a tiring effect an all the participants but also showed that mimes have things to say aloud and feel the need to be heard.

The discussions were planned to have 3-5 Key (Introductory) Speakers each to inspire the discussion. At the end we had 18 Key Speakers from 11 countries.


Presentationswere a way to share information, ideas, methods, work and we have had 8 presentations from 6 countries in the duration of about 4 hours.

Let me remind you of the presenters and their presentations:

1. Tadija Miletić (Serbia): “International Monodrama and Mime Festival in Zemun”

2. Diana Kržanić-Tepavac (Serbia/International): “ASSITEJ- International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People”

3. Kakumoto Atsushi (Japan): “About the environments for Japanese reception of Mime”

4. Ella Jaroszewicz (France): “Studio Magenia”

5. Nataliya Skryabina (Ukraine): "The Education of Contemporary Pantomime Actors in the Kyiv Municipal Academy of Circus and Variety Arts. The Methodology of Nataliia Uzhvenko"

6. Anastasiia Liubchenko (Ukraine/Netherlands): “Mime Wave Project”

7. Marko Nektan (Serbia):“Festival of Performance in Pančevo”

8. Shahidul Hasan (Bangladesh): “Short History of Mime in Bangladesh”


According to those who participated in theWORKSHOPSthey were extremely interesting and diverse. As we were receiving confirmations for the workshops on invitation we also started receiving offers to do workshops.

The plan was to have 2 workshops in the duration of 90 minutes each but we ended up with 4 workshops of 60 minutes each.

Workshops and professors:

1. “Cultural Differences As The Foundation Of Physical Theatre” (basic)/Kakumoto Atsushi (d’UOMO ex machine & International Theatre Institute Japan)

2. “Mime With Or Without Words”/Prof.Stanislaw Brosowski & Prof.Lena Stefenson(Mime Acting Department, Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts, Sweden)

3. “Clowns In Hospitals” (basic)/Ofer Blum (Israel)

4. “Types Of Physical Movement: From Simple To Difficult"(basic)/Prof.Nataliia Uzhvenko & Nataliya Skryabina (Pantomime Department of Kiev Municipal Academy of Circus and Variety Arts, Ukraine)


World Mime Day Wiki Edit-A-Thonis an event that World Mime Organisation and Wikimedia Serbia are organizing since 2016 and with the Serbian Wikipedia Chapter it is promotedthrough the international Wikipedia network.

It is an international event organized by a local institution or a person involved in mime together with the local Wikimedia chapter. It has two parts. First is educational where Wikipedia volunteers teach volunteer participants/writers how to write for Wikipedia, format the texts and publish them. Second part is the actual writing and publishing as well as “liberating” the photo, video, audio and graphic content under the Wiki Commons licensing. The goal is to enrich the content regarding mime on Wikipedia in different languages. Symbolically it is held on 22nd of March –the World Mime Day. The event was successfully organized in 2016 and 2017 and this year itwas a part of the First World Mime Conference and the difference was that all of the conference participants were educated by Wikimedia Serbia volunteers so that they could organize World Mime Day Wiki Edit-A-Thon and similar events (one that is being developed in partnership with International Theatre Institute) in their countries. After the two-hour education it was the Serbian (11) volunteers together with their peers in Macedonia (4)that wrote 35 new articles and published them on Wikipedia in Serbian (27) and Macedonian (8) languages.


FIST World Mime Students Festivalis a result of collaboration with the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade and especially its Department of Management and Production and professor Saša Sailović Head of the Department.

For the past 12 years as well as this year, students of the 4th year of the “Management and production in theater, radio and culture” study program organized the Festival of International Students Theatre. This year for the first time they had a “Mime Day”on the World Mime Day and that became a festival within a festival – FIST World Mime Students Festival.

We were following their festival rules of which the most important was that one is eligible to participate only if he or she is a university student.

During the WMConference I had a short meeting with professor Saša Sailović who was also present at the Students Cultural Centre where the Students Mime Festival took place and we have agreed to adapt the rules to the situation in mime education and to allow students of any official mime school not only university students to participate next year.

Because of the financial situation and the fact that students had everything for free (4 nights in the hostel, 3 meals per day, no registration fee for the WMConference) we could only accept up to 5 students and we have decided to turn the Festival into a solo act festival with show durations from 15 to 40 minutes each. That way we could have acts from up to 5 universities from that much countries and have students perform alone on stage which is one of the most difficult situations for any actor.

There were 4 students competing in the FIST World Mime Students Festival:

  1. Krishantha Jayabahu from Sri Lanka (University of Colombo)
  2. Emerson Vergel from Colombia (National University of Colombia, Bogota)
  3. Maksym Lytvynenko from Ukraine(Kyiv Municipal Academy of Circus and Variety Arts
  4. Filip Donchev from Bulgaria(Krastyo Sarafov National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts, Sofia)

Members of the FIST World Mime Students Festival Jury were prof.Stanislav Brosowski (Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts) as President of the Jury, Amiran Shalikashvili (Georgian State Pantomime Theatre) and Vladimir Cvejić (Serbian mime artist and actor). They have awarded the WMO Students Grand Prix to Maksym Lytvynenko from Ukraine.

Many of the participants wanted to present their work on stage and we thought that they could perform while the FIST WMSF Jury will be deliberating. At the end we had more short non-verbal performances of very different styles after the Students Festival and we believe this was the spontaneous birth of the WMC Participants Festival (working title).


WMC Participants Festival:

1. “The Child of the Abyss”, Marko Nektan (Serbia)

2. “Ex – Roommates”, Marko Nikolić i Stefan Stanojević, students of the Faculty of Contemporary Arts (Serbia)

3. “Beautiful nature / Romantic morning / Freedom fighter”, Nadezhda Farzana (Bangladesh)

4. “Our World” / Pavlo Vyshnevskyi & Maksym Lytvynenko, students of the Kyiv Municipal Academy of Circus and Variety Arts, Pantomime Department (Ukraine)

5. “Utensil and Spirit”, Shi Jing Xin (XIN-ART-LAB and Shanghai Theatre Academy Acting Department , Shanghai, China)


We also had events that were happening “behind the scenes” of the Conference. We have managed to organize a mini-tour of the children’s mime show “At The Far Edge Of The Forest” by Pantomimteatern from Stockholm. They have performed 3 shows in 3 different cities in Serbia and visited a Child Friendly Space in the Asylum Center in Krnjača, a refugee centre near Belgrade.

Our colleagues from Pantomimteatern performed at the:

1. Children’s Theatre of Subotica (200km north of Belgrade near the Serbian-Hungarian border) on the 20th of March at 11am

2. KoPS Festival in Kovin (60km east of Belgrade) on the 23rd of March at 11am

3. Pinokio Puppets Theatre in Belgrade on the 23rd of March at 6pm


On the 24th of March, a day after the WMConference when most of the participants went home, Alice Hillbom Rudfeldt and Bosse W Lindström from the Pantomimteatern went to visit children refugees in the Child Friendly Space in the Asylum Center Krnjača near Belgrade and performed a workshop with them. The visit was organized by the Danish Refugee Council, UNICEF in Serbia and World Mime Organisation. I couldn’t have been in two places at the same time, so I stayed in Belgrade to wish you all a safe trip home and drive some of you to the airport but I was informed that the kids loved Alice and Bosse and the workshops.


We also had 2 ceremonies, the Special WMO Award Ceremony on the first day of the World Mime Conference in the Rectorate of the University of Arts in Belgrade and the New WMO Members Ceremony on the last day of the Conference in the Serbia Korea Information Access Centre of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government where we went back after the workshops.

The Official Dinner is a relaxing, bonding, gourmand event of communication over food, drinks and music but it still needs to be organized…We had a wonderful and very experienced, famous local band entertaining us and an fellow actress reciting poems and telling stories from the Skadarlia the artistic bohemian part of old Belgrade.

What we find really important and we have managed to do it, is organize again “behind the scenes” long video interviews for WMO archives. Parts of the interviews will be posted on WMO YouTube Channel and WMO Website.


Let me inform you of an importantinitiative we have had from the WMConference participants and WMO members from Asia.

WMO Member from Japan Mr. Kakumoto Atsushi made an official proposition to form a WMO Asia Regional Council. As all the WMConference participants were present we have discussed the proposition and had a vote by raising hands and the proposition was accepted unanimously as well as the next proposition that another member has put on table and that is to have Mr.Kakumoto Atsushi as the first Coordinator.

Present were following WMO members from Asia: Mr.Kakumoto Atsushi (Japan), Ms. Shi Jing Xin (China), Mr. Krishantha Jayabahu (Sri Lanka), Mrs. Nadezhda Farzana and Mr.Shahidul Hasan (Bangladesh).

Mr.Kakumoto went to Paris for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the International Theatre Institute where he promoted this idea, the initiative and the WMO.


I am using this opportunity to thank all of the people in the small organizing team that we had and all our partners.

The first people that new that the First World Mime Conference will be organized were my wife Dara Gravara-Stojanović who works for the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government and is managing the Serbia Korea Information Access Centre, our son Filip Stojanović who was photo-documenting the whole event and who designed all the printed materials. Thay have also willingly agreed to use part of our home budget to cover the costs of the Conference that we will not be able to cover from other sources. Thank you my darlings.

The people in Serbia that were in the organization from the first day are Tamara Kukić and Ratko Ignjatov, both are actors/mimes and my former students. Thank you Tamara and Ratko.

Among the first to know about the conference and the World Students Mime Festival was my good friend professor Saša Sailović from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts who generously added a “Mime Day” to the Festival of International Students Theatre (FIST) and covered most of the costs of our students participating at the FIST World Mime Students Festival and my good friend, co-founder and Vice-President of the WMO Ofer Blum who came few days earlier to Belgrade to land a hand. Thank you Saša and Ofer.

The Rector of the University of Arts in Belgrade professor Zoran Erić was the first who replied and e/mail I have sent to several institutions and offered to host our conference the first day for free. Thank you professor Erić.

Slavica Rajlić from Vekol DMC agency came in to help us and supervise the realization of all the events especially the venues/tourist/banquet part of our conference. My friends and partners in different business/tourist/ sport/entertainment events are Tanja and Dejan Bogdanov owners of the Vekol DMC one of the best destination and events management agencies in Serbia. They have also provided us with a Credit Card Payment System. Thank you Tanja, Dejan and Slavica.

Award-winning film director Dragoslav Mihajlović who filmed with his friends all the events and interviews and live broadcasts for free. Thank you Dragoslav and his team.

Dragan Petrić a friend and the owner of the Kolibri Printing House who printed all the materials, awards etc. who gave us discounted prices and will wait for the payment as long as necessary. Thank you Dragan.

Miodrag Kastratović a friend for years and co-founder of the WMO and first general secretary. Thank you Miodrag.

Jovan Žegarac Ratkos friend that was responsible for the sound at the conference, Lidija Brajević and Dragan Nelki volunteers at the Serbia Korea Information Access Centre. Thank you Jovan, Lidija, Dragan.

Former State Secretary in the Ministry of Social Affairs and friend Nenad Ivanišević who helped us organize a show for the Pantomimeteatern in Subotica and the general manager of the Children’s Theatre of Subotica Mrs.Marta S. Aroksalaši. Thank you Nenad and Marta.

Pero Šunjka and his daughter Jelena and Nebojša Milivojević, frineds who were there for any kind of help in Subotica. Thank you Pero, Jelena and Nebojša.

General manager of the Pinokio Theatre, theatre director and a friend Vladan Lazić and his deputy and my friend for years Vojislav Savić for giving us the theatre for free and helping promote the Swedish show. Thank you Vladan and Vojislav.

Music conductor Nenad Petković from Kovin, probably most recent friend, who connected me with Vendel Vestag deputy manager of the Kovin Cultural Centre and who organized a performance of the Pantomimteatern. Thank you Nenad and Vendel.

My friend Zoran Ilić entrepreneur and owner of the Biomelem one of most successful Serbian cosmetics companies who landed us a car/van and drivers that were taking some of you from the airport and bringing us fresh and free of charge pastries from the Trpković Bakery. It was Zoran also who asked the Trpković Bakery to sponsor us. Thank you Zoran, Biomelem and Trpković Bakery.

Srđan Kožović, a friend for many, many years who is a successful Sales Manager in one of the largest coffee production companies in Serbia “Doncafe” who provided us with coffee and a coffee machine for free. Thank you Srđan.

Katlin Zara Brašić, Child Protection Specialist from UNICEF in Serbia and Ivana Milovanović-Djukić from the Danish Refugee Council who organized a visit to the Refugee Camp near Belgrade. Thank you Katlin and Ivana.

Teodora Bosanac, Nadja Milosavljević, Ivana Vraneš, Nikolija Zdravković, students of the Faculty of Dramatic Arts responsible for the production of the FIST Festival. Thank you Teodora, Nadja, Ivana and Nikolija.

I would like to thank our partners as well:

International Theatre Institute, University of Arts in Belgrade, Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, FIST - Festival of International Students Theatre, Serbia Korea Information Access Centre (Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of the Republic of Serbia), Wikimedia Serbia, Hotel Palace, Vekol DMC, Biomelem, Students Cultural Centre, Pinokio Puppets Theatre, Tango Natural, Children’s Theatre of Subotica, Kovin Cultural Centre, Danish Refugee Council, Kolibri Printing House, Trpković Bakery, Doncafe.

As you might have noticed the key word is “FRIEND” and thanks to my friends we have managed to organize the First World Mime Conference with no existing budget and with all the events mentioned in this report. That kind of challenge one can manage only with the help of FRIENDS.I hope I did not miss to mention somebody.

Thank you!

Marko Stojanović


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WMC Ella Jaroszevicz 7127The World Mime Organisation has decided to present the "Special WMO Award for the outstanding contribution to the art of mime" to professor Ella Jaroszewicz of the Ecole internationale de théâtre corporel Studio Magenia.

She created her own body movement, style and school evolving from dance and mime, Tomaszewski and Marceau but keeping her creative originality.
Ella creates and teaches with rigor of the Eastern and freedom of expression of the Western Europe.
She is still influencing and inspiring young mime artists, dancers and actors as well as theatre across Europe and the world where her students are working and creating."
Just like the name of her school "Magenia" or "marzenie" in Polish which means "Dream", her dream never ends.
WMC Ella Jaroszevicz 7128
WMC Ella Jaroszevicz 7119



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WMC Carlos Martinez 7101

The World Mime Organisation has decided to present the "Special WMO Award for the outstanding contribution to the art of mime" to Spanish mime artist Carlos Martìnez.

He began his journey as an actor using his voice and words but discovered the power of silence and universality of body language. An artist who uses stage to advocate universal human rights and mime to promote ideas of European peoples unity in all their differences. 
WMC Carlos Martinez 7087
Carlos Martìnez shares his art as if it was mime a la carte around the world as well as his knowledge with his students inspiring them to find their hand made way in the art of "pantomima".


World Mime Day should belong to humanity but history should also remember the three initiators of this idea Marko Stojanović (Serbia) More...

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