Our Process

Our way of working is all about learning rules and then breaking them. We take inspiration from Commedia dell’Arte, a masked style of Italian street theatre from around the 16th century. Masked physical performance depends on a precise form, with rules and techniques that dictate how it is performed. This allows us to be clear, make strong statements and a lot of hilarious mistakes.

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We don’t work from a script.

We have a general outline of what's supposed to happen, and the characters play their way from point A to point B. We use masks and archetypes to help us develop characters, and then spend a lot of time tossing them together and improvising scenes. We say yes to everything. We play hard. By the time we get on stage, we have fully formed, strong characters that are ready to interact with each other and their audience.

Our Workshops

Though the theatre we create can seem like pandemonium, the form we employ actually requires a great deal of precision, so training is essential. Over the years, we have developed a series of exercises that now allow us to share our love of masked physical performance with students of all ages and levels:

  • We do a quick mask introduction and exploration that can fit into a high school or university class.

  • We do multi-day physical theatre intensives culminating in group projects and performances.

  • We do in-depth lectures and demonstrations around the history and traditional masks and archetypes of Commedia dell'Arte.

  • We can tailor our materials and exercises to the needs of any group, regardless of experience level, age, and group size.

  • We also have performances that can pair with any workshop to provide context. Learn more about our menu of shows here!


Interested in workshops?

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“The performance and the actors themselves inspired me to participate in more performances around my school. I really hope to meet them again one day!”

— Ramzee Williams, student at Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School


"The workshop was a huge help to me. I now have a huge list of different warm-up activities to do before any performance I’m in."

- Blaze Zink, 10th Grade

The Tut’Zanni Company brought the historical form of Commedia Dell’Arte alive for my students. The theatricality of their performance exemplified the art of making the most of any performance environment, and their interactive workshop exposed students to new physical theatre methods and exercises. Tut’Zanni makes the old new again!
— Spencer Sutterfield, M.F.A., Theatre Teacher at Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School