Shining the Spotlight on “Mimes and Mummers”




Most Fordham Lincoln Center (FLC) students are well versed in the clubs this campus has to offer, but what about the opportunities at Rose Hill? While FLC has some things Rose Hill does not (a theatre major, visual arts major and dance major), the Bronx campus has one significant edge on Lincoln Center: a musical theatre organization with a professional atmosphere.

The Mimes and Mummers is a performance group for non-theater majors based at Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH). It is the oldest club on either campus, having started a mere 14 years after the Rose Hill campus’ opening in 1841. Founded in 1855 by Charles Melton Walcott, FCRH alum and professional Broadway actor, Mimes and Mummers has been an integral part of Fordham theater for 161 years.

The Mimes combine the use of student talent for lighting, sound, costume and publicity, with professional guidance from local directors, choreographers and musical directors to produce four shows each year: two musicals and two plays (one drama and one comedy). While every show The Mimes produces is stellar, they have gained notoriety for their lavish musical productions, as they are the only club on either campus with the resources to produce a full-scale musical.

Despite being based at Rose Hill, any Fordham University student who is not a theater major can participate in The Mimes and Mummers. In fact, Lincoln Center students have had great success participating with the club in the past.

“We’ve had a very decent amount of [Lincoln Center] participation,” Vice President Katie Dolan, FCRH ’18, explained. “Rent” (spring 2015)  and “Bonnie and Clyde” (fall 2015) have been the two shows in recent years that have had the highest rate of Lincoln Center participation: “‘Rent’ had about a 50% LC cast. ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ had pretty much an all Lincoln Center group in the leads of the show,” Dolan said.

For those worried that their Lincoln Center affiliation might be a detriment to them in the audition process, Dolan explained that FLC students should not be worried about not getting roles based on their home campus. “They have an equally good chance of getting a spot as anyone else. It’s the best person for each role.”

While the time commitment may seem daunting, many FLC students who have participated in the shows report that the experience was invaluable and rewarding. “It can be good to devote yourself to this, and it can give you a community… a new part of the Fordham community that you can be exposed to, and that can be worth it,” Emma Copp, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’17 and “Bonnie and Clyde” participant, said.

Kyle McKee, FCLC ’17, was one of the FLC students who participated in “Rent” with Mimes and Mummers. McKee was quick to point out that the commute to Rose Hill should not discourage anyone’s participation: “that part was not difficult because they gave us free ram van passes. The hardest part was the time commitment to the show itself. Besides classes, my semester was pretty free. It would be impossible to do one of these shows if you were involved in something outside of school.”

The Mimes and Mummers have also begun plans to expand the club on campus in order to make it more available to those who are not able to commit to such a rigorous time commitment. “We are starting a workshop series this year! The workshops will be shorter and once every other week. You don’t need to come to all of them—you can come to what you want to come to,” Dolan reported.

Sarah Hill, FCRH ’17 and president of the club, stressed the value of participating in any capacity with Mimes and Mummers. According to Hill, “It feels like a professional environment on a college campus and we offer that to people who otherwise might not get that opportunity.” Her biggest piece of advice for potential members? Don’t dwell on discouragements. “If you’re not cast initially, it’s because we get a lot of interest and sometimes it’s easy to think that [acting is] the only way to get involved with us. Our club has a huge network who gets involved through costume design and set design because we do all of that ourselves. Don’t assume that acting is the only way to get involved. It’s part of what makes us really special.”

Dolan agreed with Hill, saying, “The Mimes and Mummers are a really special group in that we do our best to make this a very all-encompassing and really unique teaching experience. Our mission is to provide students with an opportunity to learn as much as they can in as many different areas of theater as is humanly possible.”

Copp joined Mimes to have more of a chance to get involved in theater on campus. “I’m involved in Splinter Group here, but up until this year, we had only been able to do one full scale show per semester. I thought, if I have the opportunity to do two full scale musicals in a year, why not seize that,” Copp explained.

McKee echoed the sentiment. “I would say give it a try. You’re only here for four years, you’ll be able to make great friendships, I’ve met so many people over there who I’m still in contact with. You can get in touch with an artistic side of you that you didn’t really know you had.”

“Once you are part of the show, you are part of the family,” Dolan said. The Mimes and Mummers’ first show of the 2016–17 school year will be a musical production of Gypsy. Their full season line up and audition information for upcoming shows can be found on their website,, or their Facebook page.