Her role of Christine Daae in the World Tour of The Phantom of the Opera has continued to run in Seoul, South Korea amid the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to Korean Government’s quick response, tracing and tracking methods and the commonplace practice that is mask wearing in both theatres and in everyday life.
After making mask-wearing part of her everyday routine, Claire found herself wanting to find a product that is still safe to wear, but more eco and face-friendly! “I found wearing one-time-use surgical masks a little depressing and so many I had tried were either too uncomfortable, too suffocating, not eco-friendly or just plain boring,” said Claire.
I thought to myself, “How can I make this more fun and less scary, while also protecting people and in turn, helping get our economy and the Performing Arts Industry back up on its feet? I was the lucky one who still had a job. I had to do something to help,” she said.
With some guidance from family and friends, The Masque Co. was in full swing, manufacturing, en masse, just outside of Seoul, while still performing in the evening!
“It was like the idea was in my face the whole time! Our audience members were all in masks, even the Phantom was in a mask!” said Claire. “When I saw the coronavirus numbers still surging, especially in my hometown of Melbourne, I had to get cracking! The fact that mask wearing became mandatory a week ago was a complete coincidence.”
Claire’s masks, aptly named The Masque Co. are designed in Melbourne and made with precision and care in Seoul. The masks are made from the highest quality 4 way stretch fabric, have an antibacterial activity of 99.9% and a particle penetration efficiency around 20% higher than many cotton masks on the market.
They are non toxic are, PH balanced and have all been tried and tested by the ‘Korean Apparel Testing & Research Institute’ – who have some of the strictest guidelines in the world. “I didn’t want my masks to be just a gimmick, but actually something that could help protect you and your loved ones, with the scientific reports behind them,” claire added.
Claire & The Masque Co. have also teamed up with the Arts Wellbeing Collective – an Arts Centre Melbourne initiative -with $1.00 per mask going towards offering workers of all kinds in the Performing Arts Industry with mental health support – a much needed cause, particularly during this time.
Melbourne-raised Claire Lyon commenced her professional career with Opera Australia performing such roles as Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro and Ida in Die Fledermaus. She also toured nationally with their production of My Fair Lady.
Other leading roles include Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes (Gordon Frost Organisation) – Helpmann nomination, Josephine in HMS Pinafore (Melbourne Opera Company) and, for The Production Company, Claire in Jerry’s Girls, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance – Green Room Award nomination and, most recently, Miss Dorothy in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Twice Claire has performed alongside Josh Groban as guest artist on the Australian legs of his world tours and she is one of few actresses in the world to have performed in both The Phantom of the Opera and its sequel, Love Never Dies, in which she understudied and performed the same role of Christine in the Australian national tour.
Claire hopes that her masks will brighten people’s days a little, while helping society, and the performing arts industry to function once again. The Masque Co. ships globally. For more information, visit: www.themasqueco.co for details. To follow The Masque Co. head to Instagram or Facebook.
Image: Claire Lyon – courtesy of The Masque Co.