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Virginia Arts Festival Announces Mummenschanz

Words and Images Courtesy of Virginia Arts Festival

Virginia Arts Festival Announces


A Poetic Journey into a world of silence

Saturday, October 29 at 7:00 PM Chrysler Hall

"Witty madness...dazzling and delightful!" - New York Times

Swiss performing troupe Mummenschanz comes to Virginia Arts Festival to perform Saturday, October 29 at 7:00 pm at Chrysler Hall as part of the troupe's 50th Anniversary Tour. Tickets are available at, by phone at 757-282-2822 and in person at the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office.

If, as a child, you were lucky enough to be taken to see the genial madness that is Mummenschanz, you can doubtless call up images of wriggling creatures made of tubes and tentacles, getting themselves into situations that had you shouting with delight. Fifty years on, the performance is still creating gentle mayhem for audiences of all ages around the world. For its 50th year anniversary, the internationally acclaimed company has gathered some of its most iconic and beloved characters—the Clay Masks who grab hunks of their plasticized faces, creating hilarious expressions; the Toilet Paper Faces who weep streams of undulating paper; the delicate Giants filled with air, the Pipe Creature, and so many more, along with new creatures created for the new show. Plan now to gather multiple generations of family and friends; as The New York Times put it, Mummenschanz is “witty madness, dazzling and delightful…particularly vital to young audiences who’ve been raised on beeping gadgets and headphones, and rarely experienced the extraordinary powers of silence.”

About Mummenschanz Since it was founded in Paris in 1972, Mummenschanz has been a global touchstone for contemporary mask-based theater that transcends cultures and linguistic boundaries. The theater company’s three founders, Floriana Frassetto (born here in Norfolk, VA!), Andres Bossard and Bernie Schürch, conquered the world without saying a single word, but using a purely visual language of unsupported masks against a black background. As Mummenschanz, they carved out a new niche in the performing arts.

With Andres Bossard’s passing in 1992 and Bernie Schürch’s retirement in 2012, Floriana Frassetto remains as the main artistic driving force behind the multi-award-winning troupe. The foundation has put on a host of full-length productions over the past 50 years. The masks, performance techniques and repertoire have all evolved over the course of more than 100 productions, performed on every continent. A half-century after it was founded, the troupe continues to be one of the most popular theater attractions around the world.

To mark the foundation’s anniversary, Floriana Frassetto – the poet of silence – has devised a production that will take the public on a 50-year journey through the fascinating world of Mummenschanz. It will take a look at the most popular, successful productions of years gone by, featuring legendary characters such as the Clay Masks and the Toilet Paper Faces. “50 Years” will also see appearances by the delicate, air-filled Giants, the Pipe Creature and plenty of other bizarre objects and shapes brought to life by the troupe’s five performers. The production will also include sketches featuring surprising new forms and characters that capture the signature Mummenschanz spirit.

This is an imaginative, poetic production without words or music, taking audiences on a magical, captivating journey through the infinite – yet familiar — world of imagination conjured by Mummenschanz.

About Virginia Arts Festival Since 1997, the Virginia Arts Festival has transformed the cultural scene in southeastern Virginia, presenting great performers from around the world to local audiences and making this historic, recreation-rich region a cultural destination for visitors from across the United States and around the world. The Festival has presented numerous U.S. and regional premieres, and regularly commissions new works of music, dance, and theater from some of today’s most influential composers, choreographers and playwrights. The Festival’s arts education programs reach tens of thousands of area schoolchildren each year through student matinees, in-school performances, artists’ residencies, master classes and demonstrations.

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