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Havant & South Downs College Students take part in mask workshop

A Level Drama and Theatre studies students learnt ‘how to bring a mask to life’ in a specialist mask workshop.

Europe’s leading mask practitioner, Toby Wilsher, came to the Havant Campus of Havant & South Downs College on 24 June to hold a workshop with the students, sharing techniques he has fine-tuned over the years.

Toby is a theatre director, playwright, author, musician, a director of BOP training consultancy and a senior consultant with Mission Performance.

Toby co-founded Trestle Theatre Company in 1981 and was the Artistic Director until 2004.  Since then he has worked as a freelance director and playwright.  

Speaking about the workshop, he said: “Today we are learning both techniques of improvisation and techniques of how to bring a mask alive. Masks are the oldest form of human expression, so we are also learning how to write a devise for the mask.

“I work a huge amount in business, so we are also looking at how people communicate with each other. Mask work is a really good way of looking at communication skills.”

Students attended the workshop from 10am-4pm where they were able to take part in a range of activities.

Toby added: “The students have got on really well today, they’re at a really high standard. I find this wherever I go – some will find it easier than others. Mask work is about being able to communicate a thought process through minimal movement, and they’re doing really well with that.

“I think it’s good the College gets specialists in to share their expertise in a particular subject, it’s good for students to learn from industry experts as well as their own lecturers.”

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