Masks Overview

I’m planning a minimalist stylised version i.e. actors all in black, taking different roles that are “suggested” by the mask and bib they are wearing rather than looking like “real” animals .

So I’m looking for help designing and producing a prototype of the masks for the various animals

  • Large old pig, cat, old horse, motherly mare, white goat, old donkey, pretty mare, pigs, raven, cow, large dog, small dog.
    (There are other minor crowd animals but not sure whether I’ll use actors or puppets for these at the moment.)

The mask need to:

  1. Be simple, fairly plain. My preference is for white/pale so that they stand out against the black of the rest of the costume and focus audience’s attention on actors faces
  2. Be non-realistic but giving a strong hint as to which animal they are.
  3. Leave the actor’s eyes and mouth uncovered e.g. for a pig something across the nose to ears only with bent over ears and a simple snout.
  4. Be easily made. We will need to make 3 masks/role – 1 for rehearsing, 1 production and 1 spare.
  5. Reflect the character of the role (aggressive / kind/ silly / good/ bad)
  6. Last for 9 performances at least
  7. Withstand actors – they sweat, mess about etc.

The masks aren’t the only indicator of the particular animal. They will also be wearing a “bib” relating to the role i.e. sheep would have a padded sheepskin one, a pig a large padded ‘belly” one. Our wardrobe person would make these, though any suggestions from the mask designer would be welcome too.

Cost isn’t a main consideration, though gold plating is out! We are an amateur group (albeit performing to a high standard) but we do have some flexibility in the props budget for the masks.

You can see us on Facebook at

I hope to have the designs and many of the prototypes completed by 20 May if possible.

It’s possible that when we get to use the masks in earnest in July that we find they need some tweaking. It would be helpful if we could call on the designer to advise at that stage if necessary,

Am happy to discuss etc. call me on 021-685-976 or email me on

Barry Mawer

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