Actor Liz Carr was born without arms and uses her feet to get around. Actor Liz Carr Calls for Mask-Only Theatre Performances

Liz Carr

Masks can be used to hide an actor’s identity, and are often used to facilitate a change in character. But Liz Carr calls for theatre performers to use masks as part of their everyday performance practice. She believes that doing so will expand their creative scope. Her own experience with mask work has allowed her to take on roles she may not have previously considered. Actor Liz Carr Calls for Mask-Only Theatre Performances

What is ‘mask only’?

It’s a style of theatre in which performers wear masks. Liz Carr, who has performed in several mask-only shows, thinks it can help actors confront their own fears by making them less self-conscious about how they look when onstage. The technique is fairly new and has been used most notably in Sweden, Finland and Germany. It’s intended to allow an actor to focus more on movement and storytelling.

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Why have ‘mask only’ performances?

An extract from an interview with actor and disability campaigner Liz Carr. ‘I really strongly believe in mask only because I think it goes back to theatrical traditions – and also that being able to see your face is deeply linked with empathy,’ she says. ‘I don’t know why we have been taught to have an idea of what a person’s face should look like. When you take away someone’s face, all you are left with is their voice and their essence.’

How to make it work?

Masks have a long tradition in theatre, from ancient Greek performances to Punch and Judy. But what’s been missing from modern-day productions are masks themselves – those usually beloved disguises used by actors to create characters. In 2013 actor and disability rights campaigner Liz Carr called for a theatrical revolution; in her words, for ‘mask only’ theatre performances.

Actor Liz Carr Calls for Mask-Only Theatre Performances
Actor Liz Carr Calls for Mask-Only Theatre Performances

What disability does the actress in silent witness have?

Cerebral palsy is a broad term that describes brain injury, typically caused before or during birth, which affects muscle control and body movement. The disorder can affect as many as 2 million Americans to varying degrees. To date, there is no cure; most treatment focuses on rehabilitation and physical therapy.

What disease does Liz Carr?

Did you know that people with learning disabilities, autism and other developmental disorders have a heightened sense of smell? This means that a scent which might be undetectable to you could be intolerable to them. That’s why it’s vital that those with these conditions are catered for when it comes to enjoying theatre and other performance arts. The biggest problem, however, is how best to do so in practice.

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Why did Clarissa leave silent?

Actress Clarissa Mullery said that removing her mask and revealing her face while performing The Seagull was liberating. The Guardian talks to a variety of artists about why they chose to remove their masks when acting on stage. One actor even discussed his recent non-speaking role as a mannequin.

Who is Liz Carrs partner?

She has a partner and two stepchildren, and we both have two children from previous relationships, he says. We met at primary school in London and were in each other’s lives for years before we got together. Now we are great friends as well as being partners. I just hope that never changes. Their four children range in age from 22 to 29. All of them also perform, with four actors and one standup comedian on stage at their house most weekends. It’s madness, he says happily.

Who is the lady in the wheelchair in Silent Witness?

Silent Witness is one of my favorite shows. Tonight I watched it in a new way, by identifying each of its actors using facial recognition software. The show’s lead actor Tom Ward, who plays Dr Mark Kellam and often wears disguises in his onscreen roles, would certainly have problems getting through airport security given how easy it was to identify him from images taken from tonight’s episode alone. At least one starlet was identified as well: witness Liz Carr.

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 liz carr height

Actor and disability campaigner, Liz Carr, is calling for all actors to use masks on stage in order to combat prejudice. She said, Let’s face it: many of us have our prejudices when we look at someone and make snap judgements based on how they look. I would like to see mask theatre used across all performing arts because you can’t hide who you are behind a mask.

 is liz carr still alive

Actor Liz Carr is no longer alive. In 2004, she stopped using her body and started using her face when performing live theatre. She found wearing a mask, which did not require lines to be memorized or words to be spoken, allowed her a new freedom of expression. A career change became necessary when doctors diagnosed brain tumors in both hemispheres of her head. Surgery followed but failed to remove all of them completely; fortunately, some portions remained dormant during treatment and emerged healthy again later on.

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Actor Liz Carr has called for mask-only theatre performances, saying it would be a bold statement of equality and accessibility. The transgender performer says her proposal is aimed at reducing prejudice and encouraging more people to see live theatre. What do you think? Send us your views

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