Get to know CHE Mime Company


Courtesy of CHE Mime Company Instagram (@mime_che)

The CHE Mime Company at the Blackwood Pumpkin Festival held in October

If you happen to wander into the East Little Theatre after school on a Wednesday afternoon and find a group of students creating skits and having a great time without uttering a single word, then you have arrived at a practice of the Cherry Hill East Mime Company (“Mime”). Take a seat, be prepared to laugh, and get ready to enjoy a few minutes of over the top comedy, written and performed by Mime, the only high school mime company in New Jersey.

Auditions for Mime are held in the fall and spring and there is enough interest at East for Mime to have separate fall and spring companies. All interested students are welcome to audition for Mime and no prior theatre experience is necessary, but because Mime is a performance art, many students involved in Mime are also involved in theatre at East. Ms. Debbie Barr is the advisor for Mime and the current company has 19 members.

“I think to be a good mime you need to be a good actor and you have to be able to show a lot of expression in your face, and a lot of emotion because that is how the audience knows what is happening,” said Aline Tang (‘25), a member of Mime.

Being a member of Mime is a fun and unique experience. The company has a tight bond and works well together. Rather than communicating through words, Mimes use facial expressions and precise physical movements to tell a story to the audience. Movements and gestures are technical and must be big and clear enough to create imaginary props and sets using body language. These technical movements allow the audience to visualize a door opening or other settings during a skit that can be used to help understand the story.

“We don’t speak. Words just don’t exist in mime. It is very dramatized. Everything in a Mime skit, if it can go wrong, will go wrong. Everything is so big and unusual,” said Tang.

East students write, create, and perform skits for Mime. Most of the skits are comedies and are meant to make people laugh. The Mimes use their imagination to help bring their skits to life. Skits often include seasonal themes that change to stay relevant throughout the year. In the fall, skits can be about Halloween and pumpkins, and during winter, they often include holiday themes. A typical skit takes about two minutes but is no longer than five minutes.

In every performance throughout the year they paint their faces and wear specific clothing that ensures the true look of a Mime. Members of Mime are allowed to choose their own costumes that incorporate a combination of black and white clothing with a hint of red. Some members like to have a lot of fun with it and spice up their outfits with red accessories, such as a beret, winter hat, or suspenders.

When Mime performed at the Blackwood Pumpkin Festival in October, company members had the chance to take their performances to a new level. Members of Mime chose to stay in character while interacting with members of the community at the festival.

“Even when we were walking around, we were told not to speak . . . we were told to write our lunch order on our phone, to keep the character even when we were not performing,” said Tang.

Mime also performed at the Lions Gate Retirement Community at the beginning of December. At the end of December, Mime will go on the road for the annual elementary school tours where they will perform their skits for students in the district. They plan on entertaining the kids with their comedic and amusing performances.