Mask, Gesture and Storytelling



Theoretical/practical workshop on the Sartori theatrical masks

8th / 9th / 10th December 2023 (RECOVERED)

Museo internazionale della Maschera Amleto e Donato Sartori, via Savioli 2 Abano Terme, Padova (Italy)

by Paola Piizzi, Sarah Sartori, Walter Valeri.

Participation conditions:
Participation fee € 20,00 (Including entrance to the Sartori Museum)
20 participants maximum



This wokshop organized by the Amleto and Donato Sartori International Mask Museum aims to tell the experience and the history of masks creation by the Sartori family, from 1928 till today, through a line of research starting from pedagogical masks to those specially designed for acting. They are extraordinary masks inspired by the Commedia dell’Arte, by the classical Greek-Latin theatre and by the 20th century, according to an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach.
The Sartoris, thanks to their methodology and technique, have created and continue to create original masks for well-known authors, characters, actors and theatre companies including: Ruzante, Carlo Goldoni, Luigi Pirandello, Bertolt Brecht, Jean Louis Barrault, Giorgio Strehler, Dario Fo, Eduardo De Filippo, Jacques Lecoq, Peter Oskarson, Gianfranco De Bosio, Eugenio Barba, Moni Ovadia, the Piccolo Teatro of Milan, the Teatro Stabile of Turin, the Teatro Stabile of Padua, the Teatro Stabile of Bolzano.




Every theatrical mask is alive and contains something unique (yet repeatable) that can stimulate, guide and motivate the actor who wears it during the performance. That same mask is the culmination of a long process of research, study, concentration and formal definition of the role of mask makers; of their artistic knowledge and evolution, their relationship with the outside world, including the basic principles of physiognomy, the geometry of moving surfaces exposed to light, the dramaturgy of space-time, the meaning of colours, myths and legends, cultural changes with respect to the past, and so on. It should also always be borne in mind that the face of an actor, when performing with the mask, is both a symptom and a sign of a particular expressive event that is only partly defined. Made up of a ‘before’ and an ‘after’, wavering between creation and reinvention, confirmation and improvisation of a ‘stage body’ contending with the magic of the play and the watchful eyes of the spectator. Creating a theatrical mask, following the Sartori method, essentially means concretely and critically devising something intimately connected to a pre-existing, certain, yet perpetually incomplete expressive practice. Even today, we still owe much to the words of Copeau who, quite convincingly, reminds us that “the theatrical art derives its necessity, its function and its cohesion, solely from dramatic invention. Each original creation demands an authentic, new expression.”This subject will be specifically addressed during their lecture by Paola Piizzi Sartori, director of the Amleto and Donato Sartori International Museum of the Mask and Sarah Sartori, current director of the Centro Maschere e Strutture Gestuali, and creator of brand new Sartori masks presented during the lecture.


Walter Valeri

Abano Terme, 27/07/2023


New Roles for the Mask in 20th Century Theatre – Donato Sartori



Friday, 6th October 3:00 – 6:00 pm
Guided tour of the Sartori Museum

Saturday, October 7th 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Theoretical introduction about the history and the various functions that ritual,
theatrical and social masks have covered in the world and in different cultures.
The work of the Sartori art family.

3:00 – 6:00 pm
Theoretical/practical laboratory – first part
How a mask is born: from the text to the draft with the various technical phases:
– graphic design (drafts, drawings, etc.)
– example of a participant face plaster cast (“formatura”)
– clay modeling demonstration (“modellato”)

Sunday, October 8th 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Theoretical/practical laboratory – second part
How to make a leather and papier-mâché mask (examples of use):
– wood (matrices)
– leather and paper mache
– theatrical exercises and mask on stage
– conclusions and debate


Sartori Masks Museum
via Savioli, 2 Abano Terme, Padova (Italy)
Phone 0039 (0)49 860 1642


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