Mason was educated at Downside School and trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. He was appointed fellow in drama at the University of Manchester in 1974 and then lecturer in performance studies. He joined the Abbey Theatre in Dublin as a resident director in 1977 but later left to become a freelance theatre director. In 1992 he won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award as director of Dancing at Lughnasa on Broadway. He returned to the Abbey Theatre as artistic director from 1993–1999.
Mason has been in a relationship with his partner Sean McCarthy for over two decades.The couple met through the Abbey Theatre. 
- The Concise Oxford Companion to Irish Literature, edited by Robert Welch, Oxford University Press.
- Patrick Mason, Dublin Theatre Festival website. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- Patrick Mason, Abbey Theatre website. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
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