Today, we’re getting to know Alethea (Alee) Dreyer, owner of IntotheMask Theatre and local mum of three. We talk about connection, community and supporting others in having courage and expressing their creativity.

Hi, Alee. Please tell us a bit about yourself

I have always lived ‘south of the river’, mainly in the Fremantle area. But, I always knew that I wanted to live in Palmyra. A close friend of mine grew up in Pally and, a spooky coincidence, my hubby and I bought the house next door to her parents! 

There is certainly something about the surrounding community that I absolutely love, and I guess you can say that I spent my youth connecting with people all the time. My parents owned a shop and I have been in the service industry since I was 14, so I have always had a passion for communicating and connecting with people.

Before I started my business 7 years ago, I completed a BA in Performing Arts and a Diploma of Education, spending most of my time teaching Drama in high schools. I have had a passion for theatre and performing since I was 4 (and if you want to know how I remember this, I can tell you the exact moment over a coffee 😛 )

What inspired you to start IntotheMask?

It wasn’t until I had the itch for travel that I delved into my craft further in my early twenties. My passion for theatre and connecting with my heritage took me to Italy to attend a 4 week course that would see me specialise in the “commedia dell’arte”. These new skills that I had learnt there enabled me to return to Perth to provide other teachers and the students with workshops, helping them master this very specific 16th Century Italian style of theatre. The commedia is renowned for characters wearing masks, hence, ‘IntotheMask’ was born.

Once I established myself as a business, and working part time in a high school teaching Drama, I connected with a community group in Hamilton Hill. From there, I volunteered my time to help out with supporting them with drawing audiences into their shows. I considered using my skillset and, if children were drawn to the theatre, so were their parents and grandparents. Holding a free event at the theatre drew in hundreds of children, and thus began my journey with The Drama Club. 

What do you love most about what you do? 

The thing I love most about what I do is that it is super rewarding. Over the 7 years, I have seen so many children benefit greatly by having the chance to express themselves creatively, show courage and most of all connect with the fundamental human communication skills.

In the past 4 years, I have seen a huge shift in the mental health of children when we saw a huge rise in social and digital media influence. It was overwhelming to read notes from parents who had children with anxiety, and a disconnection to others. I see my job is my duty of care to these children to support them and provide an opportunity to connect deeply with play,  to human emotion, to speaking and socialising face to face, and for a short while forget that TV and phones exist. There is such a power here in our classes that utilises all the skills of observing, listening, speaking, communicating through body language, learning to empathise and share ideas in a safe space, all which help reach their true potential.  

Has the COVID-19 situation affected business, and have you had to do things differently over the past few months?

When Covid hit, I was so worried about our kids in our Drama Club. For some of them, the weekly classes are the only thing they look forward to, and the friendships and connections were incredibly important in their routine. Instead of cancelling altogether, my team of teachers and I worked around the clock to make sure that we developed online classes. It was hugely different and more planning involved – not to mention massive internet malfunctions – but if it meant that the kids saw one another, it was going to be ok.

We had 88 kids sign up over Covid, better than we expected and was truly received so openly by parents too. Since then, we have gone from strength to strength, working tirelessly to provide the best experience for these families during this tough time. I feel very grateful that, being in Perth, we are able to connect in a physical space again. It means the world to us to feel the energy in a room, and the kids beaming with joy and imagination. 

What’s next for IntotheMask?

The next step for us is to continue to use drama processes and play as a way to help schools, teachers and students find their voice, spark imaginations and find the confidence to include play in their daily and weekly programs. We are on the journey now to improve literacy, personal and interpersonal skills in all children across WA.

The power of play through daily imaginative practices and processes will indeed bring about a much needed balance in children’s lives as they learn to navigate this ever changing world. Learning and development through meaningful play is our agenda, and if it starts with supporting our teachers, then that’s where you’ll find us next!

What are some of your favourite places or things to do in the local area?

The City of Melville has so much to offer. Kadidjiny Park is one of my favourites, as well as the beautiful river and playground down at Zephyr’s cafe. You’ll see my three kids and I venturing down there when the weather is warm. The BBQ area and playground at the very top of Point Walter is also a fun time, as well as taking our dog and scooters down to Burke Drive Oval. 

Do you have any advice for mums looking to start their own business? 

I would say go for it! Reflect on your values and beliefs and find out what legacy you want to leave behind for your children. It’s great that my children know that working is part of our culture and having a good work ethic is important to me as well as doing something that mummy absolutely makes her heart sing. I have recently started classes for my 4 year old so he can express creatively with other kids his age too. He loves it when mummy is the teacher – involving him makes his eyes light up. It’s an inspiring thing for me too! Be passionate and show courage! 

If you would like to discuss how classes could benefit your child and any specific needs, we absolutely would love to help, so please give me a call and let’s talk about how we can support you and your family! Call me, Alee on 0416166013 or contact us for more information by email to

If you loved this post, check out our Getting to Know… blog series, which features local mums and business owners.

Melville Mums
Author: Melville Mums