"The Pedagogy of The Mask"

June 22nd-July 13th, 2019

This program takes a dialogic and experiential approach giving the educators an opportunity to experience firsthand the transformative power of mask work. The training is suitable for educators already working with masks as well as those who have no previous experience but are interested in adding mask to their curriculum. 

The journey encompasses a fundamental approach to specific types of theatre masks, including the study of Neutral Mask, Larval Mask, Primary Mask, the Half Masks of Human Comedy & Commedia Dell'Arte and the red nose. Participants will have the opportunity to explore each mask experientially, as students, and also to devise pedagogic proposals in which they will lead other participants. 

The intention is to provide educators with innovative exercises and new perspectives as well as giving them the tools to enhance their curriculum and/or to guide their own students through the process of creating devised work.

This training, taught in a master-class format, is led by Paola Coletto and Amy Russell, two master teachers of the Lecoq pedagogy. Paola and Amy have the distinction of being two of only 40 students in the world to have been certified as pedagogical specialists under the direction of Jacques Lecoq. (see École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq).

Registration Deadline is Friday May 10th - 2019


Summer Intensive for Theatre Educators Coursework encompasses fundamental approaches to theatre mask:

  • Neutral Mask

  • Larval Mask

  • Primary Mask

  • Human Comedy/ Commedia Dell'Arte

  • Red Nose Mask


Summer Intensive for Theatre Educators Curriculum
Participants will be immersed in a curriculum that focus on key aspects of mask work including:

  • Daily T’ai Chi warm-up

  • Movement analysis and physical preparation for mask work

  • The body of the mask

  • The Voice of the Mask

  • Themes for Improvisation

  • Autonomous Ensemble Work: Devising, Writing, Directing

  • Provocations for classroom and studio work

  • Discussion sessions on pedagogic history and theory

  • Additionally, the group will make an excursion to the famous workshop and museum of Amletto and Donato Sartori

Dates & Deadline

MAY  10TH FRIDAY: Application deadline

JUNE 22ND SATURDAY: Arrival/Settling in

 JUNE 23TH SUNDAY: Meet the group @ 5.00pm

JULY 12TH FRIDAY: "The Last Supper" @ 8:30pm

JULY 13TH SATURDAY: Departure day

Classes are held Monday through Friday: 
9.30am—1.00pm & 2.30pm—6.00pm


Paola Coletto (IT/USA)
Originally from Padua, Paola has the distinction of being one of 40 students in the 50-year history of the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq to have been certified as a pedagogical specialist under the direction of Lecoq himself. She also studied mask creation with Donato Sartori in Italy.

In her theatre career, she has worked as an artistic director, producer, actress, and teacher in England, Scotland, Spain, France, Israel, the United States, and Italy. She has more than 20 years experience leading international theatre companies in the areas of producing, directing, acting and teaching a movement-based, physical approach to theater creation. 

Paola is a certified personal trainer and the founder of the gym Linea e Sport, where she trained athletes for competition. In Italy, she also founded the cultural arts organization Fantàsia, where she hosted workshops and seminars dedicated to the research of art, theatre and self-development. This organization developed into the international theatre company and the school Kìklos Teatro, which she co-founded with Giovanni Fusetti. The school was awarded the Gemini d’Oroaward for Best Show at the ROMA TEATRO Festival’ for Italian Theatre Schools.

She is founder and artistic director of Holon Productions s.a.s, an Italian-based organization that develops creative multi-media entertainment. 

Paola also holds a degree in Classical Studies from Liceo Tito Livio, a master's in architecture, design & textile work from Istituto Statale d’Arte Pietro Selvatico, and a certification as a personal trainer from the A.C.L.I. Unione Sportiva in Venice. She has studied the holistic practice of art therapy in theater, painting, and sculpture at the Centro Studi di Filosofia Acquariana in Milan and was certified as a bodywork professional in massage and nutrition balance under the direction of Baba Bedi. Paola has also collaborated with Studio Centro Consulting as a former business coach for Italian executives.

Upon relocating to Chicago in 2004, she established the American theater affiliate Holon Productions LLC. Since then, Paola has created a wide net of collaboration in teaching and directing, as well, partnering with universities such as DePaul University, Northwestern University, Columbia College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and theater companies such as Redmoon, Palasticine, and 500 Clown.

In 2012 she founded The School for Theatre Creators, where she leads a team of teachers with a wide diversity of experience in acting, directing and writing. 


Amy Russell (USA/GBR)
Amy studied at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq from 1990 to 1992, and completed her pedagogical training with M. Lecoq in 1997-1998 making her one of forty students in the world to have completed the pedagogical program as a teaching specialist.

Also at the school in Paris, she completed the course in scenography (Laboratoire d'Etude de Mouvement), she holds an MFA from the University of Tennessee, a certificate from the London Academy of Music and the Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and ultimately she studied mask creation with Donato Sartori in Italy, and I Made Muji in Bali. 

After her training in Paris, Amy created a complete training based on Lecoq’s pedagogy under the auspices of Naropa University: The Naropa MFA in Actor Created Physical Theatre. She is Co-Founder of the London International School for Performing Arts (LISPA) where she taught for the past thirteen years. She has taught workshops and trainings all over the world, independently and for theatre schools and universities. Amy is also a Gestalt based psychotherapist.

Currently she is pursuing doctoral studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, on an interdisciplinary topic relating psychology, spatial practices, and devising pedagogy: The Geodramatic Territories: Practicing Lecoq’s Psychic Space/Time as Critical Spatial Practice. Her supervisor is Dr. Cass Fleming. 


M. Bao Lan (VN/IT) Descending from the family of the last Vietnamese emperor Bao Dai, Master Bao Lan was born in Vietnam, at Quang Tri, on March 5, 1954. As a young man, he practiced martial arts in various disciplines, including Judo and Tae Kwon Do.
After several years of practice he found his true passion in the study of Viet Vo Dao and Vo Co Truyen, achieving the degree of Instructor.
In 1972, when he came to Italy to attend the university at the Padua Engineering Faculty, he began teaching and spreading the Viet Vo Dao, discipline almost unknown in the country.
Since then, thanks to its constant and hard work, for the last thirty years, Viet Vo Dao has spread widely throughout Italy together with the birth of gyms founded by qualified instructors to whom Master Bao Lan has always tried to convey not only the true tradition of Martial Arts, but also the philosophy and culture of the Vietnamese people.
Faithful to his "Vo Danh" (art name), which is Kim Long (Golden Dragon), a synonym for nobility, strength and elevation, Master Bao Lan returns home every year to continue the study of Traditional Martial Arts , combat and traditional medicine.
Friend of all practitioners of Martial Arts, often holds seminars and open stage at all styles. His traditional approach is linked to a modern mentality that allows him to combine the Oriental spirit with scientific methods of working: this has allowed him to bring his students to high levels of preparation.
He currently operates his own gym in  Padua, Palestra Bao Lan, and he is also the 7th Dang International Expert; Member of the International Federation and Council of Masters of Viet Vo Dao; Technical Director of the Veneto and Lombardy regions; President of the Viet-Boxing Federation of Italy; President and Technical Director of the Federation Viet Tai Chi Italy.

Barabao Teatro (IT) The members of this very successful theatre Company based in Padua, will alternate their presence in the room to give the most energetic and inspiring movement classes. (http://www.barabaoteatro.it)
Barabao Teatro’s members are all trained ta LISPA London International School of Performing Arts.
Cristina Ranzato
Ivan Di Noia
Mirco Trevisan
Romina Ranzato

Program Cost

2,200 Euros
(airfare, accommodation and other personal expenses are not included in this fare)
30% of the amount is due at registration as non-refundable deposit
the remaining amount is due by May 31st 2019.
Payment must be made in EUROS

Cancellation Policy:

The deposit is non refundable

All cancellations must be received by The School for Theatre Creators in writing.
For all cancellations (for any reason) we will retain the deposit, then the date of receipt will determine the entire penalty:

— Cancellation between 60-31 days of beginning of the program will result in forfeiture of 35% of the entire cost of the program

— Cancellation between 30-16 days of beginning of the program will result in forfeiture of 50% of the entire cost of the program

— Cancellation within 15 days of beginning of the program or “no show” will result in forfeiture of the entire cost of the program


a place to research & discover


Classes will be held at a studio located in the historic center of Padua (Italian: Padova)

Classes take place Monday through Friday 
9.30am—1.00pm & 2.30pm—6.00pm .


Weekends are free to explore Padua and take nearby train trips:

  • Venice (30 min)

  • Verona (45 min)

  • Bologna (1h 10 min)

  • Florence (1hr 50 min)

  • Rome (3 h 15 min)




The school is located behind the Piazza Duomo and a few blocks away from the University of Padua (founded 1222), where Galileo taught for 18 years. Padua has harbored free-thinkers such as Copernicus and others who dared to challenge the dictates of the church by analyzing the world and applying scientific reasoning.  At the university, you will find an illicit Anatomy Theatre dating back to 1594, where professors would secretly dissect human cadavers to packed audiences of students. 


The city of Padua and the history of theatre are deeply enmeshed. In the heart of the city’s center lie the remnants of the ancient Roman Arena theatre. The city is also the birthplace of the famed playwright Ruzante (Angelo Beolco), who was the central influence on the birth of Commedia dell’ Arte and the invention of stock characters. The style of Commedia was born in this city with the first professional company of players legally incorporated here, of which historical documentation is preserved.

For centuries, the prestigious University of Padua has been a place of research and discovery. During the period after the Second World War, theatre research at the University generated great interest in Italian and European movement-based theatre. In 1948, Jacques Lecoq, the French athlete and physiotherapist turned actor, director, and pedagogue, was invited by the University Theatre to teach movement and improvisation to the performers of the program.


Padua became an extraordinary laboratory of theatre research. The eventual collaboration between Lecoq and the Paduan sculptor Amleto Sartori, urged the latter to take on the creation and construction of leather theatre masks. As a result, an ancient manufacturing technique was reinvented and Commedia dell’Arte would soon experience a revival. Today, in Padua, the son of Amleto Sartori, Donato, is continuing his father’s tradition.


The work of Lecoq and Sartori delighted the famed Italian director Giorgio Strehler and as a result the three began a long term collaboration, spawning a series of internationally renowned productions. Nobel Prize winning artist, Dario Fo, a frequent performer in these productions, recognized Lecoq as his master teacher in the art of mime and performance.


In 1956, Jacques Lecoq returned to France where he founded his own international theatre school in Paris. His extraordinary experience in Italy with Commedia dell’Arte, improvisation, and focus on physical expressivity became the foundation for a new renaissance in physical theatre basically re-defined it for the next generation of artists to come.