Art of Mask: A Master Class with the Sartori Family, hosted by Bad New Days

When and Where

Sunday, February 17, 2019 9:00 am to Sunday, February 24, 2019 5:00 pm
Leonard Common Room (LCR)
Morrison Hall, basement
75 St. George Street, Totonto, ON M5S 2E5


On February 17-24, 2019, Bad New Days, a Toronto-based theatre company led by Artistic Director Adam Paolozza, is hosting a master class with world renowned mask experts Paola Piizi and Sara Sartori, from the International Museum of Mask in Padova, Italy.

Paola & Sara will lead an eight-day master class on the theory, history and fabrication of theatrical masks. This will result in the students creating their own masks.

This is a rare opportunity and the first time the Sartori have taught in Canada.

Mask is possibly the oldest form of artistic expression in the world. It traverses most known cultures and lies at the intersection of ritual and art. Working with the mask is not only invaluable for the performer’s artistic training, but to the general public as well: it teaches us about who we are and where we’ve come from.

The Sartoris have amassed an incredible historical, practical and theoretical knowledge of mask from over forty years of research, taking them all over the world. Some of the masks they will be be bringing to Toronto for the lecture and workshop have never been seen before in Canada.

This is an incredibly unique opportunity for the Toronto community to learn from world class teachers of a cultural patrimony that belongs not only to Italy but to the world.

This workshop is part of the new CDTPS Performance Master Class Series. 

Applications now open

There are only four seats available for CDTPS students. Please email Adam Paolozza with a letter of interest by Friday December 21, 2018.

  • The letter of interest should be one paragraph, no more than 300 words, describing why you are interested in the class and if you have any experiencing making masks. Students that have experience will be given preference.
  • Please identify yourself as a student. 
  • Please attach your letter of interest as a PDF to the email or send it in the body of the email. No Google docs or Word docs please.
  • Please specify in your letter if you are able to attend all eight days (February 17-24, 9am-5pm every day). Students who can attend the whole class will also be given preference.
  • There is no cost for enrolment but there may be a small cost for the materials (i.e. clay, paper, glue), between $50-$100. 

The Sartori Family

Paola Piizi and Sara Sartori are widow and daughter to Donato Sartori, son of the famous sculptor and mask maker Amleto Sartori. In the the wake of the second world war there was a renewed interest in Italy in the traditional commedia dell’arte. Giorgio Strehler, famous director and leader of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, brought together many artists with the aim of re-discovering the commedia. He asked Amleto Sartori to make masks for his productions of Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters starring Marcello Moretti as Arlecchino.

This started a lifelong love of mask for Sartori. His research produced the first modern technique of making half masks out of leather, as they would have been made during the renaissance. This was an incredible re-discovery (or re-invention depending on how you look at it) of a piece of Italian cultural patrimony.

Dying young from cancer Sartori’s son, Donato continued the research, production and fabrication of the masks along with the aid of his wife and daughter.

Sadly Donato, after a long battle with cancer, passed in summer 2016 and left the legacy to his wife Paola and daughter Sara.

In addition to running a unique museum of Sartori’s masks in Abano Termo, Paola and Sara continue to run the yearly month long mask making workshop at the Sartori atelier and Paola lectures and teaches the theory and practice of mask, with a very interesting perspective on the role of women in the history of mask.

Bad New Days

Begun by Adam Paolozza in 2008, Bad New Days is a contemporary, poetic theatre of gesture.

Our name comes from Brecht via Walter Benjamin: “Let's not talk about the good old days, but the bad new ones.”

We are committed to a theatre that challenges the predominant myths and narratives that drive our existence and are causing so many of the contemporary problems facing humanity. To approach the Future we begin with the Present, the Bad New Days. Our work starts with a deep, critical looking at life, history and civilisation. It is concerned with the language of theatre and the nature of representation.

For more information visit the Bad New Days website.

Contact Information


75 St. George Street, Totonto, ON M5S 2E5