A masque is a specific theatrical genre. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the name was originally a different spelling of “mask” and meant “to conceal from view”. In 1514 it was being used for entertainment in dumb shows of music and dancing in which the participants were disguised. By 1562 songs and dialogue had been added, and by 1605 it also stood for the dramatic text of the masque. In England, the presentation of a masque was usually for a royal occasion, although sometimes put on by a member of the nobility, for celebration of a wedding or something similar, when there was often a royal guest to be entertained. These entertainments were performed by amateurs, the patron paid for the costumes and staging a…
Lewcock, Dawn. "Masque [Mask, Maske]". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 March 2007; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=699, accessed 19 April 2015.]