Even the Tiniest…1935

Edinburgh Evening Dispatch

4 March 1935

Even the tiniest newspaper article was of interest to Irene Mawer.  This one, is another which relates to the performance or performances given in Scotland during March 1935.  We learned from previous accounts that students from Edinburgh took part in the performance given in that city.

This time, we get clarification of who the local students were – they were from the Edinburgh School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art and on this occasion they had travelled to London to perform.

We also learn a little more about the aimed-for Scottish links in the mime plays, the experiments to see if Scottish Ballads could be interpreted in mime.  This evening’s choice was “Tam Lin” and seems to have been successful as it ‘effectively  demonstrated the possibility of Scottish ballads as themes for pictorial representation.’

Gosh!  I have just done a quick web search on the story of Tam Lin.  Wow!  It is very involved and worth a look so that you can imagine this being played out as a mime play.  Here is  some brief information from Wikipedia, there is more on the link: Tam (or Tamas) Lin (also called Tamlane, Tamlin, Tambling, Tomlin, Tam Lien, Tam-a-Line, Tam Lyn, or Tam Lane) is a character in a legendary ballad originating from the Scottish Borders. It is also associated with a reel of the same name, also known as the Glasgow Reel. The story revolves around the rescue of Tam Lin by his true love from the Queen of the Fairies. The motif of capturing a person by holding him through all forms of transformation is found throughout Europe in folktales.[1][2]


I am aware that Miss Mawer’s beloved Greek, together with the Commedia dell’Arte, contains much bawdry activity, bacchanalia, sexual farce, etc, but to see it brought much nearer to home was quite a shock, with the young maiden being made pregnant through the forces of magic, without her knowledge.

Indeed, I wonder what became of the attempts to portray other Scottish ballads in mime?  It sounds like an interesting topic brim full of exciting subject matter.

Miss Mawer has been forgotten by the history books, and this blog aims to re-instate her work.  Please like/share/ comment etc to raise her profile.  Thank you.

Author: Janet Fizz Curtis

Janet Fizz Curtis is trained in the Irene Mawer Method of Mime and Movement and is now writing a book about the life of Irene Mawer.

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