1995 Honorary Fellow
Universally acclaimed as the finest mime artist of our age, Marcel Marceau was born in Strasbourg. He began his career as an actor in Paris but soon decided to abandon conventional acting to study mime. He developed his own particular form of mimodrama and created his own stories and characters. Of these, Bip, a white-faced clown with striped shirt, has been extremely successful. Performing this role, Marcel Marceau has toured all over the world assisted by a small team of support players whom he himself has trained.
Mr Marceau has developed special types of short virtuoso pieces for mine, including his famous adaptation of Gogol’s short story The Overcoat, and his own symbolic dramas Death before Dawn, The Mask Maker, Pierrot of Montmarte, and many others. He has also appeared frequently in film and television, featuring his own mimodramas. In 1971, he made a twenty-six-minute film entitled First Class, in which he interpreted 26 characters.
In addition to his extremely busy performance schedule, Mr Marceau is also deeply devoted to education and training. In 1969 he started his School in Paris, relying entirely on private funds. It soon became the international Mecca for the study of mime and began to receive French Government subsidy in 1978. In 1991, during one of his return performance tours to Hong Kong, Mr Marceau visited this Academy and gave masterclasses to our Drama students.
Marcel Marceau has over the years received numerous awards and honours, including the Vermeille Medal of the City of Paris, the Prague Festival Gold Medal, the Gold Medal of Mexico City, twice the Gold Medal of the Theatres Festival in Spain and twice the Oscar of American television. He was elected a fellow of the Academy of Fine Arts of the French Institute, and of both the Berlin and Munich Academies of Arts and Letters. He has received several honorary doctorates and has been decorated many times. He was made a Commander of the Order of Merit by the French Ministry of Culture in 1991.
At present preforming in Spain, Mr Marceau regrets that he is unable to receive the Fellowshiip of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts personally. Mr Chung King-fai, Dean of Drama at the Academy, will accept it on his behalf.