Black Mime Theatre Company Records

Scope and Content

This collection consists of papers relating to productions, tours and projects undertaken by Black Mime Theatre. The tour and production files series makes up the majority of the collection, and the bulk of the collection dates from 1992-1997.

Administrative / Biographical History

Black Mime Theatre was founded in 1987 by David Boxer and Sarah Cahn to encourage the emergence of black performers in mime. The company toured with summer and autumn productions each year.

By 1991 they had grown from a small company touring schools in Greater London to a national touring theatre. The company also provided workshops and workshop residencies for young people on themes from the productions.

Founded as an all-male troupe, the company expanded in 1990 by forming the Black Mime Women's Troupe, and also initiated the Black Women's Theatre Project. In 1992 the company founded the Ensemble by merging the Men's and Women's Troupes under the direction of Denise Wong with Arts Council franchise funding.

In 1994 an Annual School for young people was established, consisting of several weeks of training workshops, culminating in an outdoor performance. International tours included Sierra Leone and the Limberg festival in Holland.

Projects were funded by the Arts Council, the London Arts Board, the London Boroughs Grants Scheme, and the company received support from numerous Regional Arts Boards for tours. Black Mime Theatre was headed by a Board of Directors, to whom the Artistic Director and General Manager were accountable. An Office Manager was accountable to the General Manager, and all actors were accountable to the Artistic Director. The company was limited by guarantee and was a registered charity. On 31 March 1998 the company was wound up following the withdrawal of funding.


These records have been arranged chronologically in the following sub-fonds:

  • THM/26/1 - Company Management records
  • THM/26/2 - Production Management records
  • THM/26/3 - Project Management and Funding records
  • THM/26/4 - Press and Marketing records
  • THM/26/5 - Photographs
  • THM/26/6 - Audio Visual Materials

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Black Mime Theatre, 1997

Separated Material

All posters have been removed and one copy of each placed in the V&A Theatre Collections Poster Collection. Programmes and flyers have been removed and transferred to the V&A Theatre Collections Core Collections. All video cassettes have also been removed from the archive and placed in the V&A Theatre Collections Video Collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Custodial History

This material came to the V&A after the company closed in 1997.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also Theatre Museum Core Collections: material relating to Black Mime Theatre may be found in several collections, including Theatre Museum production files, company files, biographical files for related persons and photographs. Please ask for details.


Alison Donnell.Companion to Contemporary Black British Culture London: Routledge, 2001.