Programs » J-Term


Each January Accademia dell'Arte sponsors workshops for participants to explore various elements of mask making, Commedia dell'Arte, and the physical actor under the guidance of masters in their field. This program is offered in partnership with Elon University.


J-Term 2017


Application Deadline: November 1

PLEASE NOTE: The dates above include arrival and departure. Do not plan to arrive before or stay after these dates.

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Please visit the Tuition & Fees page for complete details on all program costs*.

*Please note: This program is offered in partnership with Elon University. Elon students should go directly to their department chair for more information. Non-Elon Students who wish to receive transfer credit for their university will incur an extra fee. Deposits and fees may apply.

Each January the Accademia offers a 2-week intensive in mask making and performance with a focus on the traditoinal Commedia dell'Arte form.

Participants work with master mask makers to conceive, sculpt and create their own Commedia inspired leather mask. Concurrently students participate in acting classes in which they are exploring the stock characters of Commedia and the performance techniques required to bring these masked characters to life in a contemporary setting. The term ends with a final performance in which students use the masks they've created, giving them the unique opportunity to understand the construction and performance techniques to make the mask come alive on stage.

University faculty members are encouraged to bring groups of students to participate in the program from their home university. While in Italy faculty members are welcome to join in as observers and/or participants in the course work during the J-term session, giving them the opportunity to exchange ideas and exercises with European peers in their field.

For more information on bringing a group of students to attend the program please be in touch with us at


Commedia dell'Arte and the Masked Actor (Leather Mask Making and Acting Workshop)
TART I15: Commedia dell'Arte I
Credits: 3

Discover the art of one of the great traditions of the professional actor in both Western and Eastern worlds--the masked actor, with an emphasis on Commedia dell'arte.

Leather Mask Making: 
Students will learn how to make leather masks under the tutorage of famed mask maker Torbjörn Alström. They will be able to use the masks they created in the acting workshop with Fabio Mangolini. This gives students the unique opportunity to create a character from initial idea or design to performative being.


In the acting portion, students begin with the exploration of rhythms, energy levels and vectors of a physical performer, workshop participants will then engage in a study of the body with a mask and the intricate relationship between the mask and the audience.

An exploration of social groups through the masks of the Commedia dell'arte, as well as character types, will guide improvisation exercises and lead to uncovering the structure of Commedia.

Through the application of improvisational techniques and rhythm, both with and without masks, including contrast and intensity between characters, participants will understand the construction of classical Commedia dell'Arte scenes and create a Commedia canovaccio (script).

Instructors:  Andrea Cavarra, Italy
                    Fabio Mangolini, Italy

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