Open Forum

Clear Masks/Shields?

  • 1.  Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-01-2021 14:29
    I thought for sure there would be other posts about this - but, I can't seem to find them (if you do, and just want to point me in the right direction, that's great!) But... I was wondering if anyone had found any really great clear masks/face shields for theatre performances.  We are going to be trying to do an outdoor performance of "Urinetown" in May, and are looking for something our students can wear that will both allow us to see their faces, and hear them speak/sing.  I realize I'm looking for some sort of magical unicorn/magic bullet - but, I figured I'd poll the group to see if anyone has had any success with a particular mask/brand/method.  (Btw - all of our sports teams are practicing/playing outside without masks)

    Amy Rawlins
    Theatre Teacher
    Decatur High School
    Decatur, GA

  • 2.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-02-2021 08:21
    Good morning Amy!
    A colleague of mine used these masks for his recent production and he was pleased with how they worked.  I am going to use them myself.  I am directing a four character play called Too Heavy For Your Pocket by Jireh Breon Holder (a beautiful piece about the Freedom Riders). The show runs the last week in April.  We are permitted to start in-person rehearsals in our theatre after Spring Break (right now we are working online).  For rehearsals, we will use regular face masks.  Once we go into tech, we will introduce these clear masks and then use them for our performance.  At this time, our college does not permit the face shields.  The four actors will perform (masked) live while the production is streamed out to our audiences.  At the most, we will have 8 people in the theatre at a particular time (the booth counts as separate room).  I hope this helps.  I am disheartened by the double standards our arts departments continue to face.  I hope this helps.

    All my sincere best,

    Kevin Long
    Associate Professor of Theatre
    Hoffman Estates IL

  • 3.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-02-2021 09:07
      |   view attached
    We have used these for all of our productions this year.

    You also need to purchase a scuba spray to ensure they don't fog.

    A picture is attached.

    Christina Myatt
    Director of Theatre
    Pleasant Valley High School

  • 4.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-02-2021 09:30
    I think we're going to go with these for our production of Spelling Bee:

    The entire face is visible from the audience, and they seem to be secure enough to dance in. Also, it should be easy to mic, though I'll be trying that out this afternoon.

    Ken Buswell
    Drama Teacher
    Peachtree City, GA

    Theater kills ignorance

  • 5.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-02-2021 09:41
    Not quite an answer, but more of a comment regarding clear masks...

    Our group just did an outside performance. Initially, I thought clear masks would be preferable, but the cast all were pretty much unanimous in their dislike of how they looked when we rehearsed with them. It ended up being this odd in between look, not quite normal, not quite masked. In the end, we went with uniform black masks, (Black Stache being the exception with a mustache attached to a white mask) and the audiences did not complain. In fact most said they forgot about them very quickly.

    After almost a year of mask wearing, it does not seem as odd as it may have in the beginning.

    Ed Como
    Chaparral Theatre
    Scottsdale, AZ

  • 6.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-02-2021 10:08
    I like these,

    I haven't used them for outdoor performance, only filmed performance and outdoor rehearsal.

    Hillary Bogers, MEd
    Theatre Director
    Jack Britt High School

    In Cumberland County Schools we practice and require the three W's: 
    Wear a mask. Wait 6 feet from others. Wash your hands.

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  • 7.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-02-2021 10:20
    WE just use these in my play! We placed the mics underneath. They aren't perfect, but they sure do look better and the work!

    Suzanne "Mama" Craig
    MS/HS Theatre/Speech
    Lipscomb Academy
    Nashville, TN

  • 8.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-02-2021 10:44
    I purchased the Clear Mask brand (the one approved by CDC) to test, and I won't be using them for production. After just 20 minutes in rehearsal the actor had a pool of droplets at the area near the nose/mouth area. It didn't fog, but it was pretty gross to see the water on the mask, and uncomfortable for the actor. It also squished her nose and made her look a bit funny. I'm waiting for the Singer's Mask sample I ordered to come in. It's not clear, but is suppose to best for singing. We'll either go with that or some solid color costume coordinating masks. I think the clear mask concept just isn't possible to accomplish if you want it to actually provide protection. For those suggesting clear face shields they aren't ok to use alone. You must still have a mask that is secure to the face covering the nose and the mouth.

    Kristi Jacobs-Stanley
    Louisiana Co-Chapter Director

  • 9.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-02-2021 12:34
    It is important to keep in mind that most of the clear face mask options available will be significantly less effective than the normal multi-layered cloth masks.  The problem is that air cannot pass through the transparent material, but still has to go somewhere - usually in/out around the edges of the mask.  In that case, there is little to no filtration or capture of droplets.

      It is also important to remember that a face shield is not an alternative/replacement for a mask.

      The "Clear Mask" brand has what looks like foam on the top/bottom for the air to pass through. However, just from looking at the pictures, I would be very careful to make sure that air is not coming out the sides of the mask where there does not appear to be any foam.

      Cloth face masks with a transparent panel, like the ones here, would seem to retain the functionality of cloth filtration while allowing you to see the persons mouth/lips etc.  However, they are hardly the "magical unicorn/magic bullet" that most of us are searching for.  (You were spot-on with that figure of speech. :-)  The truth is that you have to be willing to sacrifice efficacy if you want to use a fully transparent mask.

      The CDC seems to recognize that this inherent trade-off may be necessary in certain situations.  They recommend clear masks for "people who interact with -People who are deaf or hard of hearing; -Young children or students learning to read; -Students learning a new language; -People with disabilities; -People who need to see the proper shape of the mouth for making appropriate vowel sounds (for example, when singing)."  Whether or not theatrical performances warrant that trade-off is a judgement call, and one that I would suggest involving your administration in making.

    Best of luck to all of my creative colleagues, going above and beyond to help our student continue to create art under such difficult circumstances.  You all inspire me to keep going. :)


    Guy Barbato
    Theatre Teacher/Director
    Leonardtown High School

  • 10.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-02-2021 21:54
    We have been working indoors and recording performances. We found skin tone masks on for relatively cheap.
    I watch an outdoor production of Chicago (HS version) that used skin tone masks. When performers were on stage alone or six feet from any other actors, they moved the masks down (or removed them) and sang. When the moment was over, they replaced them. It was only noticeable for a the first time or two and then the audience understood and forgave it. Worth it for the overall expression in my opinion. I will be using this format for our show this May.

    Not exactly what you asked for, but it's the best solution I've found. All clear masks we've tried have gotten foggy and been difficult to use and not given the desired effect because of that.

    Katelyn Lick
    Sandhills Theatre Arts Renaissance School

  • 11.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-03-2021 10:19
    Live performances of As It Is In Heaven were presented by Rollins College last month. I directed my play with actors masked, mic'd and socially distanced for blocking. The costume shop made masks with filter inserts that matched the actors' dresses, a good solution instead of searching for individual skin tone masks for our diverse cast. The masks were fine for the first dress rehearsal, but after laundering were flimsy and flat to the faces on an inhale. This was resolved by ironing the masks each night. A center seam helped hold the shape. It wasn't a perfect solution, but over-the-ear mics enabled the audience to hear in a 400+ seat house (at 22% well-spaced capacity).
    The biggest challenge was knowing who was speaking at any given moment, with a cast of twelve women -- nine onstage and three offstage voices. Blocking helped, of course, but most important was giving each actor their own physical vocabulary and reminding them to move when speaking and to stay still when silent. We added a lot of pointing to whom they were addressing for clarity. Dress colors reminded the audience who was who in the Shaker village, but it was hard with so many actors, all close to the same age, wearing masks and identical bonnets. But we managed and it was a great experience for all, with a nice review in the Orlando Sentinel.

    If anyone wants to see a free stream-on-demand of our production, playing this Friday, Saturday and Sunday March 5, 6, 7, email ASAP requesting a link for your chosen day, which will be good for the entire 24 hours.

    I'm happy to send a pdf manuscript to anyone who emails me at  As It Is In Heaven is published by Dramatists Play Service.

    Arlene Hutton, playwright
    Letters to Sala
    I Dream Before I Take the Stand
    Kissed the Girls & Made Them Cry
    As It Is In Heaven
    Susie Sits Shiva (EdTA commission)

    faculty, The Barrow Group, NYC

  • 12.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 08-31-2021 14:23
    Has anyone used the face shield that surrounds the entire face like this:

    Thank you for this thread. It is helpful since our fall production is only a few weeks away and we're still required to wear masks inside.

    Kristin Koski
    Theatre Director
    Moline High School
    She Her Hers

  • 13.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 09-10-2021 07:37
    Hello all! Here is the shield we used with great success. They make a junior size as well for smaller faces. They flip up from the bottom so no interference with mics. The sound quality was good. And... Made in the USA!

    William Eyerly, PhD, EdD
    Academic Dean
    Director Upper School Theatre
    The Village School of Naples

  • 14.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 03-16-2021 17:21
    I'm interested in the ClearMasks.  They look great, but how are they for sound?  Our spring musical opens in a month and I'm wondering if the plastic muffles the sound, especially for singers.

    Kathy d'Alelio
    Director of Theatre Arts
    Paul VI Catholic High School
    Fairfax, VA

  • 15.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 09-01-2021 06:44
    I've used them and they work extremely well. Almost impossible to detect them from the audience's view.

    Nancy Werner-Kaiser
    Camden Catholic High School

  • 16.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 09-01-2021 09:15
    How do they interface with personal microphones? Does anyone have experience with this? Exactly which masks have your used and how do they work for Musical Theatre vs. non-musical?

    Jill Campbell
    Gifted Support Teacher
    State College Area High School
    State College PA

  • 17.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 09-08-2021 15:14
    Can you post a link for the clear shields/masks please.


    Maria Stadtmueller
    St. Augustine School
    Kendall Park, NJ

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  • 18.  RE: Clear Masks/Shields?

    Posted 09-08-2021 15:42
    Yes, a link please and did you use personal microphones with the masks? How did that work for you?

    Jill Campbell
    ARTsmART Enrichment Arts/Gifted Support
    Director State High Thespian Troupe 5029
    PA Thespian Chapter Board
    814-231- 1011 ext. 4114