The End of a Chapter.
To those of you who have been supporting me week in and week out, thank you. For almost a year and a half you have journeyed with me as I have explored the Institute of Mime through Miss Mawer’s cuttings book.
It has been a thrilling trip and I have learned so much about Miss Mawer. I have endeavoured to follow each and every clue that she left for me and this has opened up a fascinating world, peopled with women, men and girls who were trailblazing the theatrical world with their interest in mime and movement, or supporting the program through their patronage. Miss Mawer interacted with some of the important movers and shakers of her time, had her work showcased to Royalty, endeavoured to have mime on the curriculum of schools for deaf children, and organised for her method of mime to be taught to underprivileged women and girls, including inmates at Holloway Prison.
Sadly, with the onset of World War 2, we lose track of what happened next. I don’t think I will ever know exactly why the Institute of Mime disappeared without trace. I think it was amalgamated with another organisation, but until I know for sure, I have to keep an open mind on that one.
So what’s next for this blog? I don’t have another scrapbook full of cuttings to work through, and with the sad death of Susan Mitchell-Smith, I am currently unable to access to the rich seam of information held in the magazines of the Ginner-Mawer School of Dance and Drama. When the seam resurfaces, I will be sure to mine it to its full. Until then, one of my projects will be to attempt to document some of the stories of the people associated with Ginner-Mawer, especially the Old Girls and what they went on to do with their lives.
I think it is also important to explain and develop something about which I had no knowledge when I started this endeavour, that is, that Irene Mawer was more than just a mime. My initial approach to her was because of my own training in her method of mime. I now realise that she was an actor; teacher; supporter of disadvantaged women; poet; speech therapist; educator; voice specialist; researcher; in some respects a Classicist (I don’t know if she spoke Greek and Latin but she had a thorough knowledge of Ancient Greece and Greek mythology); author; playwright; director; theatrical technician; costumier; stage manager; publicist; producer. Away from her work she was also a much-loved family member; a wife; and I think probably above all else, a firm and loyal friend.
I hope that you will continue to journey with me, as I explore more about how this interesting woman left her mark on those around her and dedicated her life to the theatre arts. Let’s keep alive the story of the woman at the centre point of it all, Irene Mawer Dale Perugini.