Mime company to perform at pumpkin festival

If silence is golden, then the Blackwood Pumpkin Festival’s Fire Hall stage area will shine during Cherry Hill High School East’s Mime Company’s performances.

The Mime Company, the only one of its kind in the Delaware Valley, will present three shows during the Oct. 7 event.

The festival, presented by Mainstage Center for the Arts and sponsored by Beneficial Bank and Elauwit Media, takes place along and around the Black Horse Pike in downtown Blackwood from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tom Weaver, Cherry Hill East speech and theater teacher, theater director, and Mime Company director, says the festival is the perfect place for the company’s performances.

“It’s a feel- good day with a relaxed atmosphere. People stroll by and stop to look at the show. With each performance the crowd builds,” said Weaver. “The kids just love to hear the giggling and laughter from the crowd, knowing they’ve made a connection.”

Weaver believes the students get so much out of the pumpkin festival experience that he’s been bringing the group to perform there for more than 10 years now.

He started the Mime Company 35 years ago as a way to help theatre students better develop their characters.

“I was in a mime company as a student at Glassboro State College. I learned the technique there. Then, when I first began teaching at Cherry Hill East, as student asked me if it would be possible to start a company there. I thought it was a great idea,” said Weaver. “Pantomime is a wonderful way for an actor to learn how to involve his whole body to make his actions believable from head to toe.”

This year, the company has 24 members. Its routines range from comical slapstick to a more serious anti-bullying segment.

“We’ve brought the anti-bullying skit to elementary schools and an anti-bullying expo. It’s wonderful to be able to entertain while delivering an important message. Since its pantomime, that message is delivered entirely without speaking, which is something different for audiences,” said Weaver.

Those interested in seeing one of the Cherry Hill High School Easts Mime Company’s unique performances should stop by the Blackwood Fire Company, 14 W. Central Ave., Blackwood, during the 21st Annual Blackwood Pumpkin Festival, Sunday, Oct. 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The group’s performances take place at noon, 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The rain date is Sunday, Oct. 14.

Since parking in downtown Blackwood fills up quickly, free parking with a free shuttle bus service to the festival is available at Highland Regional High School, 450 Erial Road, Blackwood.

For more information about the Blackwood Pumpkin Festival, visit www.mainstage.org, or call (856) 227–3091 or (609) 405–0306.

All proceeds of the festival benefit Mainstage Center for the Arts, a non-profit organization committed to providing affordable, quality arts education and entertainment for the South Jersey Community.

In addition to Beneficial Bank and Elauwit Media, the Blackwood Pumpkin Festival is sponsored by: PNC Bank; Bowman and Company; LLP; Mayor David Mayer and Democratic Township Council; Comegno Law Group, PC; Joseph W. Bowley, CPA; Castor Auto & Truck Repair; Garden State Discovery Museum; Senator Madden, Assemblyman Moriarty, Assemblywoman Mosquera; Dr. Sullivan & Dr. Turner, LLC; Gloucester Township Chamber of Commerce; Camden County Regional Chamber of Commerce; Blackwood Development West; Township of Gloucester; Camden County College; New Jersey State Council on the Arts; National Endowment for the Arts; Sign & Design; Gloucester Township Rotary Public Library; Rite Aid; Space Mart; Sports Specialties; Blackwood Lake Development; Chews Florist; and Preferred Party Rental.