Star Clown and Mime Artist Julien Cottereau comes to Southbank Centre!

This winter, you can enter a world of pure wonder with this former star clown from Cirque du Soleil, who will have the whole family in stitches.

Julien Cottereau: Imagine Toi, Purcell Room, Thursday 13 – Monday 24 December.
More information/book tickets here.

And now you can hear from the man himself as he lets us in on a few secrets about transforming himself into a monster and more!

How did you discover your talent for mime?
Little by little as a child, when I used to dance at parties. I felt proud when others joined me on the dance floor and would get a bit wilder. I wanted these moments to be inspiring. I still see what I do as ‘funny dancing’.

Can you give us your top miming tip, maybe a sound effect the audience could practise at home?
The best thing to do if you want to mime is to work in front of a silent crowd and mime an invisible object – you must believe that it is real. Then make a story out of it, and that’s all you have to do! It is such an unusual way to tell a story, that everyone will be intrigued and want to know more. To start off, drink from an invisible glass and let your audience know what’s inside, whether you like it, or not, how it affects you… Then share your reactions with us
and let us join in (if we want to, of course!), mocking yourself as you do it… Then you might want to produce the sound effects yourself to make your performance even more irresistible, and even better understood. And the more you do silly things, the funnier you are! The best mime is the silliest clown.

What is your favourite part of the show?
It changes often. Anything that people really enjoy is my favourite part, so maybe the best thing is when I interact with the public the most. These new friends always have something to teach me about how to be innocent and courageous facing the unknown. They are good and humble masters. I would want to be like them on stage forever. They’re my heroes!

The show involves some audience participation and everyone must react differently in each show you do.
How does the ‘not knowing what will happen’ element affect your performance?
As I just said, the audience participation affects the show in the best way. It forces me to stay alert and makes me want to perform the show everywhere with many different playfellows.

Have you ever used your skills at creating sound effects to play a trick on someone?
Yes, often on my four-year-old daughter. When she is naughty (which happens quite regularly), I transform myself into a monster – the same monster that
sometimes appears in my show, actually – then she gets really scared until she remembers all she has to do is cuddle me and I’ll return to my normal self. Then I thank her very much for saving me from being a monster forever.

We’re celebrating winter at Southbank Centre this year.
What’s your favourite thing about winter?
Sometimes the snow and the frost get in the way of our plans, and we have to stop what we’re doing and stay indoors. Suddenly, there is a true solidarity between people and everyone opens up a bit more. Everything stops, it’s silent and we stay at home, feeling lucky not to have to sleep outside. I like winter for that. Nature
holds us in its palm occasionally.