The Winds began working with mime artist Mark Thompson in 1985; the 1984-85 season included his solo version of Mozart’s pantomime, Les Petits Riens. Soon thereafter Mr. Thompson started a company initially known as Pittsburgh Mime Theater, then Mark Thompson & Company in later years. The collaborative programs created over the years were very popular on RCW’s Pittsburgh series and generated a lot of interest from tour presenters throughout Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The final joint production in 2000 was a work based on the prehistoric megaliths of Normandy, “Stones: The Mistress and the Megalith.”
After a seventeen-year hiatus, the collaboration resumed in 2017-18. A revival of the Mozart pantomime was accompanied by two new works: a solo movement theater piece to music by Erik Satie, and a company piece to a new wind quintet by resident composer R. James Whipple. All three works were given two performances at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty in June 2018, supported by a grant from the Heinz Endowments’ Small Arts Initiative.