was born in Sydney and immigrated to London with her
family in 1963.
trained at the Royal Ballet School
in London and then danced professionally at Malmö Stadsteater and Tivoli Pantomime Theatre in Copenhagen, before turning to mime and studying with Marcel Marceau in Paris.
She was a founder member of the French based International Research Troupe Kiss, co-founded Friends Roadshow with Jango Edwards, and was a member of the Bristol Old Vic Company.
In 1974 she
founded the London Mime Theatre
with Matthew Ridout, with whom she
has worked ever since.
first solo show at Le Festival du Monde in Nancy in 1975.
Since then she
has created 15 full length shows and toured the world.
unique combination of mime, clowning, puppetry, dance and foolery has been seen in 69 countries to date..
A great lover of the works of William Shakespeare, she
created the extraordinary Shakespeare the Works with John Mowat, where four of the Bard’s tragedies were turned into comedies, and included a unique version of Hamlet for two hands.
later tackled A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where the fairies were represented by puppet salad vegetables.
In 1990 Nola
style radically and began to present full length comic dramas where one wordless character is developed over an evening.
is also in demand as a director, her
speciality being subverting tragedies, by turning them into clown plays.
Most recently Nola has been working with the Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón as movement consultant on his revolutionary versions of Massenet's Werther at Lyon Opera and Donizetti's Elisir d'Amore at the Festspielhaus in Baden Baden.
Circus Girl with photographs by the Indian photographer Sailbal Das and text by Nola
published in 2010 by The University of Chicago Press
, is her
first foray into serious writing.
also gives highly acclaimed workshops, seminars and lecture demonstrations, The Clown Speaks Without Words and Broaden YourMime.
Over the years Nola
has made numerous television appearances.
They include a BBC Playhouse Special After You Hugo, where she
played a French dancer who impersonates the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova in variety theatre.
has been the subject of two documentaries : BBC Arena and Meridian Television’s The Pier.
has received a Total Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award, The Charlie Rivel Award for Clowning from the Festival of Amandola and has been inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame
in the United States.
Elizabeth’s Last Stand was awarded best solo show of 2000 by Venue Magazine
and Joseph Seelig, were the original instigators of the London International Mime Festival, which has now been running for over 30 years and is the world's longest running festival of its type.
In 2008 Nola
was awarded an M.B.E. by the Queen in her
New Year's Honours List
for services to Drama and to Mime