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The Hunter Gates Academy

The Hunter Gates Academy

of Physical Theatre


The full-time professional program at the Academy takes place over one year.  During that time,  students learn the art of mask performance, improvisation,  movement technique and analysis, characterization, melodrama, stage combat, the Commedia Dell'Arte, and clown. Throughout the process, these are supplemented by self-courses where the students' theatrical voice is developed.

The Academy allows for the discovery of the student's artistic journey reflecting knowledge by not of disseminating a method but of permanence creation.

tea for two

Workshops provide short & long-term training opportunities using a physical theatre approach to specific theatre styles over various time frames.  Throughout the year, there are opportunities to do different workshops with seasoned performers.

The knee

Students in the full-time program have opportunities to take part in local performances within Mask Mime & Mayhem Production's schedule.  It is recommended that they discuss with the Director any external postings that may be in conflict with their one year study intensive.

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Summer Mask Intensive for Educators


The Summer Mask Intensive for Theatre Educators is created specifically for teachers. This three-week program provides educators an opportunity to experience firsthand the transformative power of mask work while providing them with innovative exercises and new perspectives to enhance their curriculum.

The journey encompasses a fundamental approach to specific types of theatre masks, including:


Neutral Mask, 

Larval Mask

Character Mask

Commedia Dell'Arte Mask 

Red Nose Mask.

The Director

Dark Wood Panels

Hunter Gates


Originally from the Canadian Maritimes, the Academy's founder and director, Hunter Gates, is one of few accredited students in the world to have completed the pedagogical program as a teaching specialist in the Lecoqian program. 

She holds degrees in Broadcasting, Cultural Anthropology, Sociology, and a Ph.D. in Theatre Philosophy. She is also certified as a professional stuntperson and Lecoquian pedagog.

Early in her professional journey, she was in law enforcement. In the arts, she has held positions in the fields of acting, producing, directing, stage combat teaching, and writing - having worked in Canada US, England, South Africa, The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico, in addition to managing and founding international arts organizations with a focus on community engagement projects. In Canada, she founded RuminariLive Arts. 

Since moving to Alberta in 2001, Hunter has created a wide net of collaboration in teaching, performing, and directing, as well, partnering with many universities and various theater companies. In 1996, ready to start a new school, she founded The Hunter Gates Academy of Physical Theatre, an international training ground for artists and individuals who seek professional development in an intensive setting.  

In 2020, Hunter brings The Hunter Gates Academy to Beaumont, Alberta, a place she now calls home.

The coursework at The Academy is grounded in the European-based tradition of physical theatre, inspired by the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq, but many different experiences and approaches have brought The Academy to its current form.  It is a place for artistic and personal research aiming to develop the creative side of each individual participant, stimulating them to become independent performers able to forge and affirm their own unique artistic voice.  The aim to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need for their existing artistic landscape, no matter where that might be.

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We look forward to hearing from you

We are located in Beaumont, Alberta Canada