The experience of Italy
The essence of mask

January 7th - June 22nd, 2020


The School for Theatre Creators is a privately-run, independent school that accepts 20 students per year. Graduates of the training program are awarded an associate certificate.

The School’s director Paola Coletto crafted this unique mask program to offer a select group of artists the opportunity to acquire new skills and tools to advance their craft, as well as to develop the mindset necessary for the rigors and demands of a creative life. The work is grounded in the European-based tradition of “physical theatre” inspired by and firmly grounded in the teachings of Jacques Lecoq but expanded by the influences of more contemporary approaches to make it relevant to the ever-changing nature of the artist craft. Body, gesture, and play are placed at the centre of this creative process.

This training is primarily geared toward artists in the discipline of performance, but it equally benefits directors, playwrights, designers, teachers, circus artists, dancers, choreographers, singers and musicians. 

To sign up for The Professional Training Program, submit your online application now.

Unmask what moves you.

The city of Padua and its mask tradition is the backdrop for this six-month program
that offers an intense actor’s training through the study of specific mask styles.

The history of masks and their use in ritual and performance is almost as old as humanity itself, and today they remain a powerful tool in the training of actors and performers. When the facial expressions of the performer are hidden, the focus is brought back to the body as an expressive and poetic tool. Mask work cultivates a strong emotional awareness along with a powerful physical alertness that creates a complete training for all theatre artists, laying the foundation for work on characters for all performance genres. When the mask is later removed, participants are left with an enhanced physical awareness and an array of performance tools necessary to navigate the world of theatre-play and dramatic transposition. This journey is more than just an actor’s training program: it offers a transformative education where, through mask work, the creative side of each participant is carefully encouraged to emerge.

This program encompasses the study of specific types of theatre masks including: Neutral Masks, Larval Masks, Primary Mask, the modern day masks of Human Comedy, half masks of Commedia dell’Arte and the smallest mask in the world, the Red Nose Mask. During this journey through the world of masks, participants will be immersed in a diverse curriculum of theatre disciplines taught by working professionals and master teaching artists.

Felicia Bertch

Felicia Bertch

Who knew that the mask was such a powerful training tool! I watched myself and the other students completely transform from our everyday demeanor and tell amazing stories without the use of our faces. Paola is an incredibly gifted teacher with the ability to guide her students to a powerful foundational presence from which they can then create any character they choose.
— Felicia Bertch - Actress, Model, Theatre Artist

A Holistic Training Program

Element of Acrobatics
The 20 movements of Jacques Lecoq
Spatial Awareness
Play & Levels Of Play
Vocal Preparation

Writing for the Stage
Character Work
Approach to Text

Levels Of Energy
Rhythm Work
Relationship with the audience
Devised Class
Creative Ensemble

Biweekly individual meetings with Paola Coletto.

Resident faculty and visiting instructors teach a wide range of coursework, providing a uniquely comprehensive training experience. Because of the intimate class size, intensive training, and rigorous daily schedule, students form a close-knit community.

The School proposes an unorthodox training that takes participants on a fundamental journey of constant change and evolution. Classes follow a precise progression, but every day is a different day, and every group is a different group. The School is a place of research and discovery, where every day is new and every gesture a reinvention of the world.

we do not give solutions.

The School provides a solid artistic platform for experimentation and learning though practice, discipline and commitment. We don’t give solutions, we create the space for them to be discovered.

we do not profess a method or system. 

The aim of The School is to provoke students to become independent artists who invent and affirm their own unique artistic journeys and processes.

we help students teach themselves. 

This develops a growth mindset where no situation results in failure but only in opportunities for learning, advancing, and reinventing.


This is a transformative course, designed for actors and artists who want to explore, experiment, take risks and dedicate themselves to making great work. The School encourages artists to embrace personal agency and independently support their personal artistic journeys, whatever path they choose to take. 

Former students work in a variety of arenas including commercial acting work, comedy and improv, original stage pieces, text-based, narrative-driven theatre and writing for TV & film. This training is primarily geared toward artists in the discipline of performance but it equally benefits directors, playwrights, athletes, designers, teachers, circus artists, lawyers, dancers, choreographers, singers and musicians.

It is a life-changing decision. Because of the rigorous schedule and unique curriculum, The School is similar to a bootcamp or retreat for your creative career. This journey requires full commitment and disciplined focus.

If you feel you are ready to apply or are considering whether the program is right for you, feel free to contact us to answer any questions you may have or to set up a time to talk.

Program’s Faculty

*Not completed yet

Paola Coletto (IT/USA) is the Founder and Director of The School. She is one of forty students in the world who have completed the pedagogical program as a teaching specialist under the French teacher Jacques Lecoq in Paris. At The School she creates and supervise the whole program but  also teaches improvisation, movement and coach students one-on-one.

Ned Brauer (USA) teaches  Movement Analysis and Technique, Ensemble/Devised work and Play . Ned graduated from the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in France and did his pedagogical training at The School for Theatre Creators.

Master Bao Lan (IT/VT) teaches physical preparation through Viet Tai Chi. He descends from the family of the last Vietnamese emperor Bao Dai.

Monica Burnelli (IT) shares the physical preparation classes with Maestro Bao Lan. She is certified instructor 3° Dang and certified trainer of Viet Tai Chi.

Barabao Teatro’s ensemble (IT) will teach very energetic and inspiring movement classes. Barabao Teatro’s members are all trained at LISPA - International School of Performing Arts in London.
Romina Ranzato teaches Movement and Play
Ivan di Noia teaches Ensemble Work and Movement 
Mirco Trevisan Movement and Improvisation
Cristina Ranzato teaches Voice and Movement and the relationship between the two.

Juzo Yoshida

Juzo Yoshida

I took Paola’s full-time program and my career blossomed before my eyes. I booked more acting jobs and found the truth in my performance.
— Juzo Yoshida - Actor and Improviser, JETZO

Important Dates

Monday January 7th, 2020: first day of school
Saturday March 23rd – Sunday March 31st, 2020: mid-term break
Saturday June 22nd, 2020: last day of school

Daily Schedule

  • Classes take place Monday through Friday from 8.30am to 3.30pm with 45 min. lunch break, for for an average of 25 hours of teaching each week, plus 10 hours of Devised Class.

  • In addition students will have an evening class 6pm to 8.30pm dedicated to mask-making. This class will run for a short period of time until the completion of all masks.

  • At the beginning of each week, the students receive a theme on which they work in an autonomous class (Devised Class). This course culminates, at the end of each week, into a presentation of their resulting research to the pedagogical staff.

  • At the end of the semester students will be selecting the best work produced and present it to the public to share the experience of their semester of study.


Program Cost

Tuition fee for the Professional Training Program 2020 will be €6800. A down-payment of €2500 will be requested to secure your place on the course after a successful application.

If requesting a scholarship, we ask you an additional essay, up to a page in length, detailing reasons for requesting the scholarship.

Please note that not only we try to be as flexible as possible with tuition payments, but we also take into consideration the economic climate of our students’ home country and any other financial factors that may impact a decision to enroll in The School.

Please contact for any financial question you may have

Mask work was a huge challenge but teachers told us every day that the more we accepted these challenges the more we would grow. I loved the sense of play in the work, and the idea that “being serious” was only going to hold us back. The serious part was the skills we were learning, which have given me such confidence in all other realms of my career.
— Simone Olsen-Varela