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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Masks in Pedagogical Practice


In Drama Education mask work is undertaken and presented as both a methodology and knowledge base. There are numerous workshops and journal articles available for teachers that offer knowledge or implementation of mask work. However, empirical examination of the context or potential implementation of masks as a pedagogical tool remains undeveloped.



On a theoretical level, throughout both ancient and modern drama education and performance, masks have been seen as synonymous to the field of drama. The mask is an iconic theatrical symbol from the times of Socrates to Modern western theatres. Simply put, masks symbolise the adoption of the role and hold a central place in drama across time and culture.  Within Drama (as a field in itself), the use of mask have been used by influential drama theorists explicitly in specialist drama training. In schools, however, whilst referenced in official curricula internationally, there is no formal development of pedagogies for mask use in Drama, and little to no research in its potential impact upon the enacted curriculum.


This paper presents some methodologies of ‘how’ to apply masks offered through presenting theoretical, historical knowledge contexts. Two teacher workshops in mask application and pedagogical potentials is also further discussed.

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