The Inside Story of Movement Theatre International's Mime and Clown Festivals

This book tells the story of ground-breaking movement theater performers of the late twentieth century. It explores how the virtuoso stage clowns and mimes drew on all the performing arts to create and star in shows in order to reveal our deepest thoughts and feelings. They ignored taboos and busted boundaries to redefine the relationship between performer and audience, making a theater of kindness—a theater of joy. Complete with over two hundred photos, the book tells how these performers came together at the International Movement Theatre Festivals and reached American audiences with their work. It also details the author’s story, his devotion to, and love of, the art and the artists, and his sometimes-harrowing journey into non-profit management. It offers a peek behind the curtain to describe the process of engaging artists, audiences, funders, and the international press in this mission.

For the first half of his professional career, Michael Pedretti was a college professor directing theater productions and teaching history of theater, acting and directing. In the late 1970s, he became fascinated by the work of mimes and clowns. He founded Movement Theatre International to provide professional training, performance opportunities, and national conferences to encourage the artists and to create a sense of community for the field. He presented more movement artists from around the world than any American impresario and is the most qualified person to describe and document the performances that may otherwise be lost to history. He has received many awards including a Kellogg Grant and appears in the International Directory of Distinguished Leadership. He is the author of six books including the dog and i, Begetters of Children, and The Book of Agnes.

"Read this book and marvel at how Mr. Pedretti changed the face of theater and got clowns and mimes more recognition and appreciation."

Judy Finelli, Artistic Director of Notoriety Variety.

"It’s moving, funny, exciting [...] the book is magical. I could not put it down."

Anne D’Arbeloff Guerrieri, Co-founder and Co-Director of Il Theatro Club, Rome

"This is a fascinating read and an important contribution to the historical library of performance arts."

Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Award-winning author, for Readers’ Favorite

"This is the only book about the “arts” I have ever read that brought tears to my eyes. This is a remarkable book, recounting a truly remarkable time. I would require it for every artist and arts administrator in the world."

Richard Linzer, Author of It’s Simple and The Cash Flow Solution

"I found the work utterly fascinating, right from the powerful ethos of its grassroots beginnings through the journey to bring mime, clowning, and circus arts onto a prominent stage."

K.C. Finn, Amazon best-seller, for Readers’ Favorite

"It will inspire others to dare to dream and make something in line with your beautiful dream. Your passion and love resonates in and between the lines."

Fred Curchack, Award-winning performance artist

"To read about the marvelous work that you have done from the inside, is fabulous! A truly great book that is bound to make a contribution to a part of performance art that is seldom found recorded anywhere."

Harry Bartron, Poet and mime extraordinaire

"Michael Pedretti has accomplished the impossible. With the eye of a surgeon and the heart of your favorite grandmother, he has painstakingly documented one of the most creative periods in the history of modern American theater. Through the lens of his creation, Movement Theatre International, and the many festivals he produced in the latter years of the 20th century, we see a stunning array of clowns and mimes from around the world who made taboo busting a way of life in order to create innovative work that brought madness, mayhem and magic to the delight of the numerous audiences. Not only this, but Pedretti writes about the mechanics of producing these festivals, a Herculean task in itself not reserved for many mortals. This book is a must read."

Leonard Pitt, Co-founder of Life on the Water

Buy This Book

ISBN: 1-5275-9065-8

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-9065-6

Release Date: 19th January 2023

Pages: 704

Price: £79.99


ISBN: 1-5275-2978-9

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-2978-6

Release Date: 10th August 2023

Pages: 704

Price: £39.99