Dr Dominique Sweeney

Charles Sturt University,

School of Communication and Creative Industries

Dominique works at CSU as co-head of acting. He worked at Sydney Theatre School and as an Environmental Education Ranger in Centennial Park, Sydney. In 2012 Dominique devised and applied a drama program for autistic and multiple disability students at Wairoa school in Bondi. Dominique trained and works as a performer. His education included two years in Paris at L’ècole de Theatre, Jacques Lecoq, while his work has seen him on stages, screen and other locations throughout Australia. Dominique is a core member of Theatre Kantanka, a company that specialize in site specific performance (www.kantanka.com.au) and Fine Line, a Lecoq based ensemble. He has a B.Ed in drama/dance/philosophy from Deakin University (Rusden) and in 2001 received 1st class honours for his thesis entitled “’Beyond the confines of the body…’ Are Waranggi masks or are masks part of what Waranggi are?” Working with masks, (directing, devising and performing) led to his Ph.D. thesis “Masked Corroborees of the Northwest – ‘stand up in my head'”. In northwest Australia a range of corroborees incorporate the use of masks. These and other performance objects connect bodies to country, cultural knowledge and ancestors. They also reaffirm the political status of people in their country.


This presentation will introduce an overview of mask work through examples from the northwest of Australia, Hobart, Venice, Reggio Emilia, Paris, St Petersburg, Adelaide and Sydney. There will be an example of responses to questions on Commedia dell’Arte in Australia posed to Florentine mask maker Paolo Consiglio in the late 1980s. The session will end with two questions intended to provoke discussion.