Joburg’s first ‘Mask and Movement’ School


The Johannesburg School of Mask and Movement Theatre (JMAM) is proud to announce their upcoming 2022 Workshop Series.

JMAM is the new theatre-training kid on the block for performers and creatives wishing to deepen their practice into this innovative field. The school was founded by Roberto Pombo in 2020, alongside established theatre practitioners and educators Kyla Davis, Daniel Buckland and Mlindeli Zondi. Pombo, who also serves as the Director of the school, says of the training: ‘JMAM offers a movement-based and practical approach to theatre training. At the core of JMAM’s philosophy is the performer as creator, learning how to create one’s own work through provocations. The school provides its students with a variety of physical theatre tools, that develop and hone their unique poetic voice.’ JMAM’s curriculum is based on the pedagogy of movement theatre developed by Jaques Lecoq. Through rigorous practice and serious play, the school’s vision is to create a generation of insightful practitioners who create thought provoking, quality theatre.

Following the success of JMAM’s inaugural workshops last year ‘Making Movement Theatre’ and ‘Preposterous Play’, the school is excited to announce their 2022 course offerings. Most notable of these is the JMAM Summer School: a three-week intensive programme designed to offer participants a carefully crafted journey towards a foundation in mask theatre and theatrical play. ‘Eventually, JMAM will be offering year-long professional programmes specialising in Mask and Movement and Devised theatre. We are building up to that!’ says Pombo.

Until then, South African creatives can look forward to the following series of workshops, all of which will be held in central Johannesburg:

First up is ‘The JMAM Mask Studio’, a part-time course running every Tuesday evening in August. Participants can expect to get messy with clay and create their own expressive masks over the month. They will also learn about how movement and spatial dynamics inform the creation and play of a theatrical mask.

‘The Masked Player’, a weekend course on the 6th and 7th August, introduces artists to the territory of mask play. Participants will learn the basic skills of mask technique, analysis of mask forms, and embodying/playing the mask. The weekend will be a playful exploration of larval masks, expressive/full masks and half masks. No previous mask experience is required, just a willingness to learn new techniques.

Another weekend workshop ‘Finding The Funny’, led by well-known clown Daniel Buckland, will take place on 10 and 11 of September. In this workshop, performers are invited to ‘flex their funny’ as Daniel takes us on a chaotic ride into the world of physical comedy. Participants can expect to encounter their funny bone while stretching those comedic muscles, with physical characterisations, slapstick, and comedic timing.

The jewel in the crown of the workshop series is JMAM’s very first Summer School happening from 10 till 29 October. A three-week intensive journey invites artists to move, play and explore some of Jacques Lecoq’s essential theatrical territories. Week one investigates the concept of neutrality and the silent body as well as the world of mimo-dynamics, exploring the movement of the natural world as the impetus for theatrical play. Week two dives into the world of theatrical masks, where participants will explore a variety of masks and get their hands dirty creating their own expressive masks. (If you participated in the Mask Studio in August, you will get the opportunity to play your mask as well as create a new one.) The mask journey continues in week three, but this time with the red-nose, exploring the fundamentals of clown play. Players will work on developing their own clown personas, exaggerating our idiosyncrasies and foibles to reveal what makes us individually funny.

If this all looks very exciting however you are unable to join in for the full three weeks, don’t worry, each week is planned to be able to experience them separately or as part of the full course. You can choose which week modules you would like to attend. Classes will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays of each week.

With so much on offer from the JMAM crew, it may be difficult to decide what to choose first! Kyla Davis, JMAM co-director says ‘We are inviting all aspiring theatre-makers, performers, theatre practitioners, tertiary students and, in fact, any artists working in any medium who wish to expand their creative and poetic limits to apply. The best way to choose is to listen to your gut – what pulls you in? That’s the workshop for you.That’s how I got into this work many decades ago and I am still here. We are looking forward to meeting you on the floor!’

For more information, course prices and to apply, interested players are encouraged to visit or to e-mail JMAM Producer Noxi Mabuza at with any burning questions.

On the fence? Find JMAM on the socials @jhbmaskandmovement. There will be an IG live interview series beginning with Pombo on 19 July in which you can find out more about the workshops, straight from the horse’s mouth.

Roberto Pombo
076 439 3483

Joburg's first ‘Mask and Movement’ School - JMAM
Joburg’s first ‘Mask and Movement’ School – JMAM