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Honour for mime artiste

PUBLISHED: 15:24 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:27 01 July 2010

A MIME artist who has been performing for over 30 years has been awarded an MBE, writes Marina Soteriou. Nola Rae, 58, from Shortlands was handed the honour for services to drama and mime, in the New Year s Honours List. Finding out in November, Ms Ra

A MIME artist who has been performing for over 30 years has been awarded an MBE, writes Marina Soteriou.

Nola Rae, 58, from Shortlands was handed the honour for services to drama and mime, in the New Year's Honours List.

Finding out in November, Ms Rae had to keep the news quiet before it was officially announced last month.

She said: "I was actually in France when I heard about the honour and I felt a bit numb - I couldn't quite believe it. I still am a bit numb. I wanted to wait until it was in black and white before I told anyone. I told my mum though! She had a very hard time not telling people."

Ms Rae is expected to be called to Buckingham Palace to receive her honour from the Queen within the next five months.

But it will not be the first time she has met royalty.

She said: "I met Prince Charles years ago. He came to see my show. I was dressed as a penguin, with flippers on and a padded stomach. I met him in the interval. He took a step back when he saw me!

"I took my false nose off and put it back on again, like it was a hat. He asked me 'Do you always go to dinner dressed like that?'"

She joked: "I am wondering, if Prince Charles is there, whether I should go as a penguin. He might recognise me!"

Amid the celebrations, there is still a mystery as to who nominated her for the prestigious award. Ms Rae said: "The people who nominated me have kept it a secret. I have been working for 40 years. I have been around a long time and it is unusual to receive an honour in this category.

"I am pleased for the art form. Mime is often disregarded. Mime used to be scoffed at. I'm happy to be recognised."

"My partner Matthew Ridout was over the moon. He is still grinning like a Cheshire cat. The award is his too as without him I wouldn't be able to do the amount of work I do."

The couple have travelled to a total of 67 countries together, putting on performances.

Nola's next performance, Mozart Proposteroso!, is at The Purcell Room in the South bank Centre on January 21.

Call the box office on 0871 663 2500.

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