Thomas G. Leabhart
Pomona College Department of Theatre and Dance
Claremont, CA 91711 USA
1982 – present: Professor of Theatre, Resident Artist, Pomona College, Claremont, CA
1981 – 1982: Assistant Professor of Theatre, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
1978 – 1981: Resident Artist, Grand Valley State Colleges, Allendale, MI
1976 – 1978: Artistic Director, Teacher, The Valley Studio, Spring Green, WI
1972 – 1976: Instructor, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, ARK
1968 – 1972: Ecole de Mime Etienne Decroux, Paris. Teaching Assistant and Translator
1968- 1970: M.A., Speech and Drama, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
1961-1966: B.A., Rollins College, Winter Park, FLA
Grants and Honors
2007 – Lifetime Achievement Award from ATHE (Association of Theatre in Higher Education).
2002 – French Ministry of Culture (DRAC Isle de France) Grant for Seahorse Project
2002 – Sontag Grant for Seahorse Project
1997 National Endowment for the Humanities Sabbatical Subvention
1987 – present — 9 Pomona College Faculty Research Grants
1994 – Borchard Foundation Grant, residency at Château de la Bretesche
1989- US Information Agency Grant for travel to International Festivals
1989- Associated Kyoto Program Fellowship, residency in Kyoto, Japan
1987, 1985, 1983- Canadian Cultural Programme Grants
1988, 1987, 1985 – California Arts Council Grants
1987, 1986- President, National Mime Association
1985- National Endowment for the Arts grant for Mime Journal
1985, 1984, 1980- National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowships
1982- Ohio Arts Council Choreography Fellowship
1975- International Research and Exchanges Board for study in Poland and Czechoslovakia
1968- Fulbright Fellowship for study in France
Performances, Lectures and Workshops: Widely in the US, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Uruguay, England, Wales, France (invited annually by Hippocame in Paris, Arts en Scene in Lyon, and La Montade in Aurillac), Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Estonia, Singapore, Korea and Japan. Collaboration with Eugenio Barba at meetings of ISTA (International School of Theatre Anthropology), 1994 – present. Artistic Director of Seahorse Project in Paris 2002-2003.
Consulting: Centre for Performance Research (Wales), Macalister College, National Endowment for the Arts – Theatre and Dance Programs (Panel Member and Site Visitor), Wesleyan University Press
Artist Selection and Adjudication: Festival of New Mime, Philadelphia; International Mime and Clown Festival, Philadelphia; International Mime and Clown Festival, West Virginia; New Mime Festival, Milwaukee; American Mime Festival, Milwaukee.
Administration: Chair of Dept. of Theatre and Dance (3-year term), Coordinator for Lessac Sumer Workshop, Pomona College Fulbright Advisor, Dean of Movement Theatre International Summer School, Summer Workshop Director (Paris, Arkansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, California).
Additional Training: Lessac Voice and Movement Intensives (3 summers), Noh play in Kyoto, Pilates Technique, Alexander Technique, 4 Summer Workshops at Jacob’s Pillow.
Creation and Direction of Theatre Pieces
2004- present: “Bonjour, Monsieur Decroux” performed in Santo Domingo (DR), Claremont, Seville, Paris and Wroclaw (Poland)
2004 – Maid to Marry and The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco. Performed on tour in Southern California.
2003 – “Les guerres que j’ai vue” and “Eau.” Two compositions for eleven actors, with text by Gertrude Stein, Antoine de St. Exupery, and Francis Ponge. Performed in Paris, June, 2003.
1994 – 2000: “A Simple Thing.” One-person performance piece with text by Gertrude Stein, music by Eric Satie. Presented in Brazil, Uruguay, France, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Portugal, Japan, Singapore and the United States.
1987 – 1990: “Like, is there a difference between abstract and bizarre?” A one-person performance piece with text from newspapers, music and slides. Performed in Los Angeles, Philadelphia,
1984 – 1986: “How I Was Perplexed and What I Did About It.” A one-person performance piece with autobiographical text, music and slides. Performed in Los Angeles, St. Paul, Philadelphia, Montreal, Paris.
1972 – 1984: Directed The Arkansas Mime Theatre, The Wisconsin Mime Theatre, and Corporeal Mime Theatre.
1982 – present: At Pomona College directed two original productions created collaboratively with students; directed The Learned Ladies, Scapin, the Misanthrope and The Miser by Molière; Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone by Sophocles; A Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard, Seven Against Thebes by Aesculus; Slave’s Island by Marivaux; Mother Courage and Her Children by Brecht; adapted and directed Spoon River: American Portraits, text by Edgar Lee Masters; adapted and directed Sisters in the Resistance; Twelve Angry Jurors by Reginald Rose; Arlene Hutton’s As it is in Heaven; directed 4 one-act plays (Glaspell, Gerstenberg, Berber and Nottage.)
Leabhart, Thomas. Modern and Post-Modern Mime, Macmillan, London, and St. Martin’s Press, NYC, 1989, 1998.
______________, Korean Translation of Modern and Post-Modern Mime, Seoul, Hyundai-Meehak Press, 1998.
______________, Etienne Decroux, Routledge, London, 2007 .
______________ and Chamberlain, Franc, eds. An Etienne Decroux Sourcebook, Routledge, London, 2008.
”A máscara como ferramenta xamanistica no treinamento teatral de Jacques Copeau.” Revista da Fundarte, v.2, n.4, jul./dez. 2002.
“Cirque du Soleil.” Mime Journal (1986)
“Corporeal Theatre.” Mime Journal (1980-1982).
“Decroux, le persévérant.” Gestes, No. 5, Summer, 1994.
“Decroux Made Easy.” Dance Magazine, March 1984.
“Does Etienne Decroux’s Great Project Exist?” Mime Journal (1998-1999).
“Dramaturgy in and of the Body.” Mime Journal (2000-2001).
“Friday Night Pearls of Wisdom.” Mime Journal (1997).
“Jacques Copeau, Etienne Decroux, and the ‘Flower of Noh” New Theatre Quarterly, Volume XX, Part 4, November 2004.
“Je ne vends que des choses chères…” Etienne Decroux, mime corporel. Edited by Patrick Pezin. L’entremps édition, Saint-Jean-de-Védas, 2003.
“L’Homme de sport: Sport, Statuary and the Recovery of the Pre-Cartesian Body in Etienne Decroux’s Corporeal Mime.” Mime Journal, 1996.
“Le maschere.” (Trans. of “Etienne Decroux on Masks” an interview with Thomas Leabhart, Mime Journal #4) in Guida al Mimo e al Clown. Edited by Balsimelli and Negri. Milano:Rizzoli, 1982.
“The Mask as Shamanic Tool in the Theatre Training of Jacques Copeau.” Mime Journal, 1995.
”Le <Grand Project> d’Etienne Decroux.” Etienne Decroux, mime corporel. Edited by Patrick Pezin. L’entremps édition, Saint-Jean-de-Védas, 2003.
“Le masque, moyen de transport…” in Copeau L’Eveilleur, Buffonneries, no. 34. Translation of “The Mask as Shamanic Tool in the Theatre Training of Jacques Copeau in Mime Journal, 1995.
“Meeting the Odin, Meeting Myself.” Anthropology/Sociology/Theatre Series (University of Lodz), 2000.
Mime as a Modern Art Form.” In Souvenir Program, Festival of North American Mime. Syracuse, 1979.
“Misunderstanding Delsarte.” Mime Journal (2005).
“New Mime in Czechoslovakia.” Mime News 1/4 (1976).
“New Mime in North America.” Ballet International 5, 1986.
“Parole su Decroux” in Teatro E Storia 17, 1995. Translation of “Introduction” in Words on Decroux, Mime Journal 1993/94.
“Profile: Peter Bu.” Mime, Mask & Marionette 1/3 (1978).
“Reflections on a Production of Scapin.” Movement Theatre Quarterly, Winter 1993-94.
“Renouveau du mime.” Alternatives Theatrales 9 (October 1981).
“Revenge of the Fugitive.” Mime News, March/April 1987.
“Sport, statuaire et rédecouverte du corps.” Etienne Decroux, mime corporel. Edited by Patrick Pezin. L’entremps édition, Saint-Jean-de-Védas, 2003.
“Talking Mimes.” Dance Magazine, November 1983.
“To the Reader.” Mime, Mask & Marionette 1/2 (1978)
“To the Reader.” Mime, Mask & Marionette 1/2 (1979)
“Speaking Out.” Arts Review 1/4 (1984)
“Speaking Out.” Reprinted from Arts Review. In Souvenir Program, Second International Mime Festival, Winnipeg, Canada, 1985.
“An Evening in Wroclaw.” Mime, Mask & Marionette 1/2 (1978).
”Daniel Stein.” Mime, Mask & Marionette 1/4 (1978)
“First Canadian Festival of Mime.” Mime, Mask & Marionette 1/2 (1978)
“Letter from North America.” Magazine (Newsletter of the Mime Action Group, London), Winter 1986, #6.
“Michael Moschen.” Mime News, Summer 1985
“Open Theatre Festival.” Mime News 1/2 (1976)
“Philadelphie pour un nouveau mime.” TelexDanse, 56 (April 1993).
“Second International Festival of Contemporary Mime.” Mime News, November/December 1985
“Six Reviews.” Bulletin Journalier. Special publication of the Canadian Mime Festival, 30 May-4 June 1983. Festival of Contemporary Mime, Winnipeg, Canada 1985.
“Warsaw Mime Company.” Mime, Mask & Marionette 1/2 (1978)
“Winnipeg International Mime Festival.” Mime Journal (1986).
“Marcel Marceau.” In The Academic American Encyclopedia. Princeton: Arete Publishing Co., 1982.
“Mime.” In Encyclopedia of Dance and Ballet. Edited by Mary Clarke. London: Rainbird Publishers, 1978.
“Mime and Pantomime.” In The Academic American Encyclopedia. Princeton: Arete Publishing Co., 1982.
”Mime and Pantomime.” Two entries in International Encyclopedia of Dance. Edited by Selma Jeanne Cohen. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
“Mime and Pantomime.” Six entries for the Cambridge Guide to American Theatre. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
“Mime, Pantomime, and Physical Theatre.” Two essays and four biographical entries in
Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance. Edited by Dennis Kennedy. New York: Oxford University Press.
“Pantomime.” In Encyclopedia of Dance and Ballet. Edited by Mary Clarke. London: Rainbird Publishers, 1978.
“A Poem’s Flight.” Christian Science Monitor, 29 April 1982. (prose poem)
“Jean Louis Barrault, 8 September 1910 – 22 January 1994.” Movement Theatre Quarterly, Spring 1994. (obituary)
1974-present Editor of Mime Journal. It has been called “an excellent publication” by the New York Times, “scholarly and vivid” by the LA Herald Examiner, “unique and imaginative” by the Library Journal and “fat…glossy and essential reading” by American Theatre.
Since 1974 Mime Journal has published 23 volumes:
Essays on Mime
New Mime in Czechoslovakia
Traditional Czech Marionette Theatre
Etienne Decroux 80th Birthday Issue
Jacques Copeau’s Theatre School
New Mime in North America
New Mime in Europe
Noh/Kyogen Masks and Performance
Words on Mime by Etienne Decroux
Canadian Post-Modern Performance
In/Sights: Moore Photographs, 1972-1988
California Performance/Volume 1
California Performance/Volume 2
Words on Decroux
Theatre and Sport
Words on Decroux 2
An Etienne Decroux Album
Theatre East and West Revisited
Essays on François Delsarte
Editor of Mime News, the bi-monthly newsletter of International Mimes and Pantomimists, 1975-1978; and (for the National Mime Association) 1984-1989.
Editor of Mime, Mask & Marionette, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York 1978-1980.
Bu, Peter. “Mimes, Clowns, and the 20th Century?” Translated from the French by Sally and Thomas Leabhart, New Mime in Europe, Mime Journal. (1983)
Decroux, Etienne. Etienne Decroux 80th Birthday Issue. Thomas Leabhart’s interviews with Etienne Decroux. Translated from the French by Sally and Thomas Leabhart. Mime Journal 7/8 (1979).
Weiss, William. “An Interview with Jean-Louis Barrault.” Translated from the French by Sally and Thomas Leabhart, Mime, Mask & Marionette 2/1 (1979).
Soum, Corinne and Pinok and Matho. Essays in Words on Decroux. Translated from the French by Thomas Leabhart.
REVIEWS of Thomas Leabhart’s Performances
One of the most gifted and accomplished disciples of Decroux is Thomas Leabhart…a superb solo performer. Leabhart’s body is transforming and transposing itself through a series of highly charged postures and moves–sudden cringes; startling grabbings of his head and torso by clutching fingers or twisted arms; swift, smooth falls and rollovers. There’s a wild disjunction to it all–often parts of the body seem to be going in opposing directions and tempos at the same time but also a crazy internal logic. And one of the things the piece seems to be saying is that no one can have “the answer” to the riddle of mime’s essence.
The Washington Post, 8 July 1984
He uses a great deal of language, usually in a carefully precise, somewhat literary way, both for its content and its colors. He also uses music and slides, all layered in with a deeply personal movement style that’s packed with the same elusively abstract gestural meanings as modem dance Throughout both pieces, there’s a strong undercurrent of artistic self-questioning, of the artist shaping a response to the modem world even as he’s being formed by it. Leabhart is never obvious about this, and his evocative, abstract movements resist social didacticism. But in the startling grabs of his head, the cringed internal tensions, the unexpectedly broad swoops and whirls, the sharply punctuated moves, there’s an internal, psychological vocabulary of enormous potential, one that at its most powerful can blend ideas with very strong emotional reactions, and make you feel them.
Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5 December 1988
Great mime is a rarity, but Thomas Leabhart gave us exactly that. Best of all, this was mime on the cutting edge of invention, far from Marceau’s shadow.
Los Angeles Times, 3 January 1986
Every once in a while a performance comes along that makes you realize how hungry you are for spiritual sustenance–the artistic wafer that empowers you to lift out of yourself, go far enough away so you can look back and get some perspective. Leabhart’s new piece…is full of the tough stuff of consumerism and consumption…the image bums in the retinas of our eyes long, long after it is done.
LA. Herald Examiner, 19 January 1987
Everything in the work is concrete, suffused with irony and sadness (aided powerfully by Leabhart’s lightly mournful voice). In its complex array of responses to a world of absurd pressures and ecological stresses, the new piece surpasses even his excellent and similarly themed piece which begins the program.
Los Angeles Times, 23 January 1987
Leabhart is a pure movement artist; he illuminated what it means to concentrate one’s whole life focus on movement. He never invents a gesture without due cause–he is a most economical and pure mover.
L.A. Herald Examiner, 27 December 1985
Leabhart’s solo work, which always moves and lifts me…is a delicate combination of poetic texts flavored with autobiography and ecological concerns, and of energetic and precise movement which has an almost anachronistic modernity. Leabhart composes corporeal images which are like ideograms, those Chinese characters inspired by the thing named. Very rich, of very high quality, and modest at the same time.
La Presse (Montreal), 28 May 1986
The realization of unexpected links between Leabhart and Lecoq’s teachings was one of those moments of synthesis one hopes for from festivals…other master classes were fun to watch even though none had the organizational coherence or substance of Leabhart’s.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 6 July 1986
Leabhart gave a very interesting lecture on Jacques Copeau and the lines of influence which have led to different forms of contemporary mime. He is one of the rare theoreticians who has a comprehensive overview of the subject.
La Presse (Montreal), 20 July 1986
Leabhart’s wise and witty solo made hard to “get” material accessible. Movement sequences, with stunning internal logic, were studded with lunges, flung arms and jiggles punctuated by autobiographical revelations…tender and powerful.
Ballet News, September 1984
He is fond of rhythms which jolt, which break apart. The being of Thomas Leabhart fills every cubic inch of his body, molds his flesh, carries him away into attitudes and sequences of expressive movement which are very constructed, very clean, and at the same time, emotionally charged. The obedience of a body motivated from within is beautiful to see, the subjection of inward rhythms which ask to be made manifest.
Reflex (Montreal), Summer 1985
Using the body’s entire range of movement and capacity for expression, he reconnected his audience with memory and human fallibility. And he did so with wit, openness, and a lack of precious, illusionary tricks. His deceptively simple, halting movements became more complex with each onset of information, expressing shades of wonder, irony, and anguish.
St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch, 8 December 1988
Leabhart is a marvelous storyteller, both in words and in movement. His anecdotes are irresistible, and his muscular, compact body is wonderfully articulate, able to combine gesture, mime and lyrical dancing into fascinating performance.
Los Angeles Daily News, 8 January 1989
A man, short in stature, alone on the stage with a chair…that is all. He immediately takes charge, holds on; the attention of the audience was such that it would have been possible to hear the proverbial pin drop.
Vasterbottens Folkblad (Umea, Sweden) 20 May 1995
His latest work, “A Simple Thing,” [is] a beautiful, lyrical, muscular piece, visually stunning and intellectually stimulating.
Total Theatre (London), Autumn 1995
The actor creates intensive theatre built on movement, unusual balance, and pulsating energy– concentration and relaxation, energy flowing in and out. Gestures, in his work, are not “acting with hands” but the extension of what is born within. His words are not recited; they are a stream which inspires and energizes the actor, who is not telling a tale, but creating, using the language of movement, a poem based on metaphor and emotion. Despite essential technical differences Leabhart’s actions resembled Ryszard Cieslak’s exercises. I found the analogies in integrity–the truth of the body and the truth of sweat.
Gazeta Robotnicza (Wroclaw, Poland) May 1996