American Mime Theatre – Founded in 1952 by Paul J. Curtis

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February 4, 2011 // Mime, Photography
“Curtis is making American audiences realize there is an important difference between a Pantomimist and a Mime.”   Dance Magazine

“Do see this company; it isn’t often you will get such a gift.”      Village Voice

Photograph of AMT play ‘EVOLUTION’ .

Photograph of AMT play “SLUDGE”.

Photographs of the American Mime Theatre company performing by Jim Moore

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I took classes with Paul J. Curtis for about 3 years. (late 1970’s) . He has been teaching and creating American Mime since 1952. During the time I studied  at AMT we developed a great professional relationship and I became the resident photographer. I shot all the shows they performed and did some great studio shots during the time I was studying there as well as after I left the school as a student.  Paul is an amazing teacher. He understands the human psyche and movement and how they work together in a unique mimetic process. He teaches actors to move and movers to act.

The company performs a wide variety of mime plays created and written by the American Mime Theatre Ensemble.

I quote from the company’s webpage:

American Mime is a unique performing art created by a particular balance of playwriting, acting, moving, pantomime, and theatrical equipment. It is entirely different from the pantomime of the French Schools and the dance of the Eastern Mime disciplines.

American Mime is a complete theatre medium defined by its own aesthetic laws, terminology, techniques, script material and teaching methods. Basically, it is a medium for non-speaking actors who perform, in characterization, the symbolic activities of American Mime plays through movement that is both telling and beautiful.

The classes are still at the AMT studio on Fourth Avenue in NYC. every Wednesday night. You should call first if you want to audit a class. It is an amazingly rewarding experience.

Paul still teaches!

For more information about the school and classes click here.

About the author

  • Paul J. Curtis, Founder and Director of The American Mime Theatre, founded in New York City, 1952, has created a unique art form, known as American Mime. It is a blending of acting and moving simultaneously, a silent theater that differs from the French tradition of pantomime often associated with Marcel Marceau.Paul is to be congratulated in maintaining a Company and a School on a continuous basis for 59 years; quite an achievement for a small arts organization.

    I have been at T.A.M.T. for over 40 years and have witnessed the evolution of this art form:
    the training procedures and creating the Repertory of plays. American Mime training is excellent for the professional performer seeking excellence and proficiency.

    And, Jim, thank you for following us around with your camera. You were always a joy.
    Love, Jean

  • Paul J. Curtis, Founder and Director of The American Mime Theatre, founded in 1952 in New York City, is the innovator of a new and unique art form known as American Mime. It is a blending of acting and moving simultaneously, a silent theater that differers from the French tradition of pantomime often associated with Marcel Marceau.

    I have been at T.A.M.T. for over 40 years and have worked closely with Mr. Curtis; I have witnessed the evolution of this art form and all the procedures involved in training and creating a Repertory. Paul now celebrates his 59th Anniversary in maintaining a Company and a School operating on a continuous basis. That is quite an achievement for a small arts organization.

    As the Assistant Director, we invite you to experience American Mime; it is excellent training for the professional performer. And, we appreciate Jim Moore’s contribution as a photographer for many years. Thank you Jim; you were always a joy to have around following us with you camera. Love, Jean

  • Hi Jim,

    Nice !* Great to get the word out —>If you are looking for excellence as an actor or artist or in daily life — take classes with Paul Curtis at TAMT. As you say : He teaches actors to move and movers to act.

    Paul Curtis is quite brilliant. He has designed a “Prep” that works you out thoroughly — body, mind, emotions and spirit. Develop skills in character interplay and relating. Move the audience with your performance. TAMT is the most authentic theatrical experience you will ever have. If you have the chance to study there – dont hesitate. Jump in and change your life!

    Janet Carafa

  • This is terrific Jim. Placing The American Mime Theatre in context for current practitioners is a great service. I hope many see your enthusiastic recommendation and avail themselves of Paul Curtis and TAMC while Paul is still teaching!