The role of maskmakers and mask performance research have been part of Dell’Arte’s pedagogical approach as well as its formal theatrical explorations. Copeau and Lecoq’s mask studies, as well as research into the mask traditions of Bali and other traditional cultures have influenced the work of the Company and School. The Dell’Arte pedagogy approaches mask as a embracing metaphor for the work of the actor, not just as the object worn on the face.
Some maskmakers have come to study the performing arts at the School in order to expand their own relationship to the art, and a number of artists who began as students of acting-- or as faculty in the School-- found their true passion in the work of crafting masks and are now part of the number of professional maskmakers who are part of the Dell’Arte legacy.
Dell’Arte alumni working as professional maskmakers:
Torbjorn Alstrom www.artmask.com
Suzanne Bakker www.clownnosefactory.com
Kate Braidwood Phoenix www.wonderheadsmasks.com
Tara Cariaso www.waxingmoonmasks.com/
Xistine Cook animatedobjects.ca/
Aaron Cromie www.aaroncromie.com
Joe & Minna Dieffenbacher www.nakupelle.com
Wendy Gough www.arlymasks.com
Alyssa Ravenwood www.ravenwoodmasks.com
Stefan Vernier www.thalia1.dk
Deven Sisler www.devensisler.com
Nick Trotter www.nicktrotter.com
Bruce Marrs www.marzillamask.com
Some of the maskmaking instructors at the School in the early years were: Jon’Paul Cook, Alain Schons, Tony Pellegrino, Robert Ernsthal.
Mask performance has been taught by by a number of instructors over the years; primary mask performance instructors have been Mazzone-Clementi, Joan Schirle, Jon’Paul Cook, Bruce Marrs, Joe Dieffenbacher, Stephen Buescher, Alicia Martinez-Alvarez, and Ronlin Foreman, with shorter workshops from Leonard Pitt, Arne Zaslove, Ole Brekke, Michael Fields, Julie Goell, Kaf Warman, Torbjorn Alstrom.
In addition, many students have developed their own interest in the work of the maskmaker, making masks for their own projects or others’ projects, without creating fulltime professional careers for themselves.