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The Magical World of Masks and Puppets comes to Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

An exhibition from a nationally-important collection of puppets and masks is opening at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery's special exhibitions gallery on Monday 26th October 2015. The Magical World of Masks and Puppets is a touring exhibition from the Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre, which will appeal to people of all ages.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is "Behind the Mask", which offers a sample of the range and breadth of a 'theatre of masks'. It takes a rapid journey from the great traditions of the Indonesian dancers and mask makers, Japanese Noh masks, Korean Tal'Chum masks, reconstructions of masks from Greek New Comedy, Italian commedia leather masks and masks for actor-training, all of which feed into the current lively UK mask theatre scene.

Most of the masks are mounted on coloured panels, while the rarer exhibits are behind glass together with tool rolls, templates and mask-making materials.

At the work tables visitors will be able to design, make and decorate their own mask and try it out in the mirror.

Video footage of mask use in theatre and in folk festivals accompanies the display and counterpoints the profusion of colour and changing faces.

Meanwhile, a puppet display will be situated around the walls of the Special Exhibitions Gallery and will include puppets from Turkey and Indonesia, Javanese Wayang Golek rod puppets, Rajasthani marionettes from India and, of course, Punch & Judy.

Tina Woodward, Shropshire Council's deputy Cabinet member responsible for museums, said:

"This exhibition taps into that magic and provides a rare opportunity to get up close to objects of wonder. So if you're a puppet and mask collector or enthusiast, or are looking for a visual arts exhibition that's a bit out of the ordinary with lots of educational spin-offs, don't pass up this rare opportunity to experience The Magical World of Masks and Puppets."

Dr Malcolm Knight, Curator, Scottish Mask & Puppet Centre, said:

"The Magical World of Masks & Puppets is a rich and varied exhibition which has something for everyone and will appeal to art lovers, enthusiasts and families alike.

"Puppetry is arguably the oldest form of theatre and this exhibition is a visual chronicle of some of the history and traditions involved. It is also a means of demonstrating that puppets and masks are very much living, breathing art forms."

The Magical World of Masks and Puppets opens on Monday 26th October 2015 and runs until 17th January 2016.

From 2nd November until Easter, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery will be open from 10am to 4.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday.

Scottish Mask & Puppet Centre is Scotland's primary venue and resource centre for the art forms of puppetry, mask and physical theatre.

For more information visit the Scottish Mask and Puppet website.

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