Commedia Dell’Arte: Playing the Masks

2 Day Masterclass

Upcoming Class Schedule

18 May, 2019 — 19 May, 2019

Saturday, 10.00am — 6.00pm

Sunday, 10.00am — 6.00pm

Programme Details

What is this workshop about?
This workshop introduces actors to Commedia Dell’Arte, a form of mask theatre which originates from Italy.  Students will learn about the history or commedia and its characters.  They will learn about the different characters and explore the techniques for performing some of the characters, such as the Lovers, Servants and Masters.

Any Pre-requsites for admission?
Students should come dressed in plain coloured clothes suitable for movement.  This is a physically active workshop using masks and students should be willing to explore different  acting exercises and to work collaboratively with each other. Minimum age of admission is 17 and above.

Who is this workshop for?
This workshop is for those who would like to explore visual and mask performance from a major European tradition.  The workshops are practical and physically engaging way to explore character creation for the actor.  Commedia dell’Arte is a comic and collaborative experience and lots of fun.



  • Introduction to the history of commedia
  • Introduction to the different character types: Lovers, Servants, Masters
  • Learn the techniques for performing the following characters: Pantalone & Il Dottore (masters) the Lovers, Capitano (the Spanish captain) Arlecchino and Zanni (servants)
  • Improvise and explore short scenes bringing these characters into inter-relationship
  • Learn how to develop a commedia scenario

About the Instructor

Valerie Kaneko-Lucas

Dr. Valerie Kaneko-Lucas is a director, scenographer and theatre educator. She
trained at the Sherman Theatre Cardiff (Wales) and Theatre Die Raben (Germany),
and studied commedia, mask and physical theatre with Antonio Fava, Michael
Chase and Ronald Wilson. She is a qualified teacher of the Michael Chekhov Acting

As a director and scenographer, she has created productions in Britain, France,
Germany, and the United States. Her work has been seen at the National Theatre
London, Welsh National Opera, Hackney Empire, Theatre 503, Nantes Carrefour
d’Europe, Bonn Theatersession, Roy Bowen Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe. Her
production of Sylvia Plath: A Dramatic Portrait was selected as The Guardian’s ‘Pick
of the Edinburgh Fringe.’ She has a strong interest in development of new writing for
the stage: as producer for Arlecchino Torn in Three (a modern Commedia dell’Arte)
and designer for Sahar Speaks (Palindrome Productions), produced with the Sahar
Speaks Foundation, which trains women journalists in Afghanistan. She was Visiting
Artist in the Department of Theatre at the Ohio State University, developing outreach
and community arts projects.

With over 20 years’ teaching experience in university drama departments, Valerie
has taught courses in Shakespeare and classical text, scene study and dramaturgy,
Western mask, site-specific and immersive theatre, directing and devising. She was
a founder-member of the London School of Film, Media and Performance (Regent’s
University London), for which she created the BA Acting and World Theatre. Valerie
most recently was Programme Director for Theatre and Performance at Regent’s
University, where she developed the BA Acting for Stage and Screen.

Areas of Focus

  • Develop an understanding of Commedia dell'Arte as a theatrical form of mask performance
  • Hands-on exploration of the techniques for performing some of the Commedia characters

Learning Outcomes

  • To understand the origins of Commedia dell'Arte as a theatrical form
  • To understand the differences between the selected characters and their dramatic function
  • To explore a range of techniques for playing Commedia characters
  • To gain awareness of how to develop scene and story through collaborative improvisation

Sign up for:

Commedia Dell’Arte: Playing the Masks / 2 Day Masterclass

9 in stock

Registration closes:
16 May 2019