St Marie's Catholic Primary School

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Greek Theatre Masks


In ancient Greek drama, all of the actors were men. They wore masks to indicate the character that they were playing (woman, old man etc) or the emotion that they were showing (anger, sadness, joy). Actors in Greek plays often played several different parts and would put on a different mask for each part that they played. The masks were often brightly coloured with exaggerated features such as large eyes, large nose and mouth. This allowed the faces to be seen by all the people in the theatre, even those sitting in the back rows. Usually the masks were made of a lightweight material: e.g. linen, leather, cork or carved wood. Human or animal hair was used for the hair.


Your task is to look at the images of the different Greek masks below. Can you identify what emotion they portray? What type of play would they have been used in - comedy, satire or tragedy?