Upcoming MACT Workshops

MACT masks logo with "Training & Workshops" below it

MACT is offering several workshops in June that offer information your theatre can use. They include different ways of making the arts more accessible to people with disabilities, advanced makeup skill, writing for theatre, post-college theatre and using plays in the public domain. These workshops are offered by the Minnesota Association of Community Theatres, with funding support from the Metro Regional Arts Council, they are open for registration now. Space is limited.


MACT is offering a series of Saturday workshops on various topics of interest to community theatres in June. Watch the MACT website (click here) for additional details.

Workshops June 15 at Wellstone Center in St Paul

Four theatre workshops will be offered on Saturday, June 15 at the Wellstone Center, 179 Robie St E in St Paul.

9:30: Check-in opens

10:00-noon: History, Theory & Practice of Improv

Improvisational theater is one of the world’s youngest art forms. It has come a long way in 70 years, and maybe it still has a long way to go. This workshop will look at improv’s origins, spell out  the principles underlying it, and demonstrate some simple exercises and games.

The instructor, Steve Schroer, has taught improv actors in Chicago and the Twin Cities.

10:00-noon: Season Planning with the Marketing Mix

The Marketing Mix, or the “Four P’s,” is a useful framework for examining your offerings and refining your season. Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion do not need to be thoughtlessly recycled year after year — conscious choices on how to position particular shows as part of a season can help you expand your audiences, control your costs, and/or impress your donors.

The instructor, Michael Speck, is Operations Director, Chatfield Center for the Arts; and Adjunct Instructor, Viterbo University.

12:00: Lunch (on your own)

1:30-3:30: Making the Most of a Bare Stage 

An elaborate set design isn’t the best choice for every show. Sometimes a stripped-down approach can be more effective, and it’s almost always cheaper. This workshop will consider a variety of topics, both artistic and technical, related to producing a show on a bare or nearly bare stage. 

The instructor, Steve Schroer, has written, directed, and produced dozens of plays, often with minimal or non-existent sets.

1:30-3:30: Working with a Fight Director

This is NOT a how-to in stage combat. Instead, we’ll look at how fight directors (prefer to) work; questions a fight director will have for directors/producers, AND questions they can answer for you; collaborative opportunities with other designers; and how to find a fight director to work with.

The instructor, Michael Speck, is a Certified Teacher for the Society of American Fight Directors; and also Operations Director, Chatfield Center for the Arts.

Check-in for the morning begins at 9:30 a.m. Lunch s available in the neighborhood, along with networking opportunities with other theatre people. Select one or more workshops. Cost is ONE WORKSHOP: $25 (MACT member $20); TWO WORKSHOPS: $40 (MACT member $30).

To register or to request accessibility accommodations, go to https://mn-act.net/index.php/about-us/training-workshops/ .

For more information, call Jon at 612-819-0949 or mactfactor@icloud.com.

Workshops June 22 at Phoenix Theatre in Minneapolis

Four theatre workshops will be offered on Saturday, June 22, at The Phoenix Theater, 2605 Hennepin Ave. S., in Minneapolis. Anyone from any level of theatre is invited to participate.

9:30: Check-in opens

10:00-noon: Devise Your Own Short Play

In this workshop, we’ll create a short show together and develop techniques you can use in your future artistic work.  Play production typically relies on a script, but we can also create a short play by tapping our imaginations with theatre games and exercises. The workshop will help you start with found sources — quotes, historical facts, visual images, etc. — and develop a performance using theatre games, automatic writing, improvisation, interacting with each performer’s personal space and evolving characters. 

The instructor, Dan Reiva, has taught high school theatre and community groups, created four Fringe shows, developed video   productions, and worked with many artists with disabilities.

10:00-noon: Using the Public Domain to Search for Future Shows 

Since the catalogs of Samuel French, Tams-Witmark, and Rodgers & Hammerstein Theatricals were purchased by Concord Theatricals, theatres are finding it harder to afford royalties for their shows. For instance, Classics Lost ’N’ Found Theater Company has been doing public domain scripts since 2017. Its recent production of Charley’s Aunt was written in 1893, but if it had paid Concord Theatricals for licensing and materials, it would have cost $130 per performance. Explore with Steven what is available and where to locate free or low-cost scripts for your theatre. Bring your ideas, too.

Instructor Steven LaVigne is a writer and director who has worked most recently with Classics Lost ’N’ Found Theater in South Minneapolis. For a sample of his articles, go to MACT’s website at https://mn-act.net/index.php/mact-mart/articles/.

12:00: Lunch (on your own)

1:30-3:30: Is There Life After College Theatre?

Not all theatre students go into a dramatic arts profession to make a living. Many use theatre as a way to continue enjoying performing and feeling part of making art come alive onstage. Voila! Community Theatre! Hear from a veteran college theatre professor and community theatre director share many ways you can pursue the aspects of theatre you love — acting, marketing, community outreach, tech, production. Learn how to remain connected to theatre while pursuing a career in another field that pays the bills. Breakouts will gauge how you see yourself in a post-college world, and how you would like to engage in the theatre community. Gain strategies for successfully navigating this venture, and options on how to amplify your strengths to make you more valuable to a theatre company.  

Instructor Mike Ricci will speak from personal experience in directing and teaching at Hibbing and North Hennepin community colleges, as well as building life-long relationships with many of the people he’s worked with — theatre people of all ages.

1:30-3:30: Storytelling and Community Theatre

This storytelling workshop is perfect for beginning story artists testing out the waters for the first time, or seasoned performers looking for a quick brush-up or kick in the pants to get started on a new project…. It’s also great for folks hoping to use storytelling techniques to deepen and elevate other skill sets like stage acting and improv. The class will use discussion, writing time and on-your-feet exercises to focus on the essential building blocks that make up a story: identifying conflict and a dramatic arc; bringing scenes to life with action, emotion and sensory detail; and using vocal variety and physicality to give your story resonance. While this workshop packs a lot into two hours, it also aims to be encouraging and non-intimidating! Bring a notebook or laptop, and a recording device if you have one. Taught by actor, writer and storyteller Amy Salloway.

Check-in for the morning begins at 9:30 a.m. Lunch s available in the neighborhood, along with networking opportunities with other theatre people. Select one or more workshops. Cost is ONE WORKSHOP: $25 (MACT member $20); TWO WORKSHOPS: $40 (MACT member $30).

To register or to request accessibility accommodations, go to https://mn-act.net/index.php/about-us/training-workshops/ .

For more information, call Jon at 612-819-0949 or mactfactor@icloud.com.

Workshop June 29 at Rondo Community Library in St Paul

Two theatre-related workshops will be offered on Saturday, June 29, at The Rondo Community Library, 461 N. Dale St., St. Paul. Anyone from any level of theatre or arts involvement is invited to participate.

10:00-noon: 20 Tips to Be More Accessibility-Friendly

Arts organizations can engage in many positive, proactive ways to be welcoming and accessible to all people — in particular to patrons with disabilities. This session will lay out a number of practices you can undertake to make your board, building, programs, website and communications as accessible as possible — and win you some new friends and supporters.

12:00 Lunch (on your own)

Instructor Jon Skaalen worked 20 years for VSA Minnesota, the state organization on disability, and continues on boards of the MN Access Alliance, MN Assn. of Community Theatres, ArtReach St. Croix and Ole Olson Onstage.

1:00-3:00: Intro to Techniques of FINE ART as relates to Theater Makeup

Learn how professionals “Do it!” Utilize techniques used by the Great Masters of art, like da Vinci, Rembrandt, etc. Learn the types of makeup and tools to be used, how and when to use them. Learn the order of application (handout supplied). Learn shading and shaping to bring life to the character. Learn the “Geometry” of the face.

Learn “WHAT NOT TO DO!” And much more.

Instructor Christopher Russo has worked a lifetime designing makeup for theatres from coast to coast — culminating at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony’s production of “Fidelio.” Teaching credits range from professional makeup schools to a faculty teaching position at UW Milwaukee. He continues to freelance as Makeup Studio FX.

The library opens at 10 a.m. and the workshops are in Room C. Lunch s available in the neighborhood, along with networking opportunities with other theatre people. Cost is ONE WORKSHOP: $25 (MACT member $20); TWO WORKSHOPS: $40 (MACT member $30).

To register, request accessibility accommodations, or for more information, go to https://mn-act.net/index.php/about-us/training-workshops/, or call Jon at 612-819-0949 or mactfactor@icloud.com.

Workshop August 3 at Brooklyn Park Library

What is the Penguin Project?

This workshop will be presented by staff and volunteers at Northern Starz Theatre at the Brooklyn Park Library, Shingle Creek Room, 8500 W Broadway Ave., Brooklyn Park, MN 55445.

2:00-4:00: What is the Penguin Project, and Could It Be Part of Your Season

Once a year, a magical and touching celebration of the human spirit unfolds at numerous theaters across the country. A group of children in a program called The Penguin Project take to the stage to perform a modified version of a musical, often a well-known Broadway show. These productions are unique, however, because all roles are filled by young artists with developmental disabilities including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, visual or hearing impairment, and other neurological disorders. They are joined on stage by a dedicated group of “peer mentors” – children the same age without disabilities who volunteer to work side-by-side with them through four months of rehearsals and the final performance.

Due to its background with this program and working hand-in-hand with the foundation, Northern Starz has the unique opportunity to bring The Penguin Project to other locations in Minnesota! ATTEND the presentation to learn more about this extraordinary journey, and, if you can make a day of it, talk further over dinner and then SEE a performance of “Guys and Dolls” by Northern Starz’ Penguin Project.

Presenters are Paula Anderson & Rachel Bohnsack of Northern Starz.

4:30-6:30: Informal dinner in the area (on your own – not part of workshop registration) Workshop attendees may gather at one or more local restaurants for an informal gathering and discussion.

7:00-8:30: Penguin Project performance of “Guys and Dolls” at North Hennepin Community College, Fine Arts Building, 7411 85th Ave N, Brooklyn Park. Workshop attendees can get $5 off their tickets to the performance. Purchase tickets on the Northern Starz Theatre website and use discount code MACTWORKSHOP.

Registration is $40 for both workshops ($35 MACT member) or $25 for one workshop ($20 MACT member).

More info about Northern Starz: https://northernstarz.org/.

More info about the Penguin Project: https://penguinproject.org/.

Past Workshops

Captioning Options for Theatres – Saturday, June 1

How is YOUR theatre serving members who can’t hear all the words? Captioning can be an option. Learn what local theatres and cultural groups are doing to provide Open (Scripted) Captioning to serve attendees who are Deaf or hard of hearing as well as the rest of us. Who’s doing it now, and what methods may work and be affordable for your organization?

Hear from:

  • Independent captioners who use free software to provide captioned performances at History Theatre, Park Square and Theater Latte Da.
  • A Remote captioner who uses an app on patrons’ smartphones to caption Sue Scott’s shows at Crooners Supper Club.
  • Mixed Blood Theatre, who projects scripted captioning at EVERY performance;
  • Full Circle Theatre, which developed its own captioning system.
  • And other presenters. We will mention, but won’t get into the more expensive captioning coordinated by c2 inc. at the Guthrie, Ordway and Hennepin Theatre Trust. Or the supertitles used by Minnesota Opera for English translations of its operas.

If you wish to offer captions at spontaneous events, conferences, Q&A discussions, etc., you’ll need to contact local CART Providers (i.e. court reporters) who use special software.

Panelists will talk about their Captioning efforts and options over the past few years, including:

  • what captioning software/hardware they use,
  • if they bought it, created it, got it free…,
  • the timeline for getting a script, putting it into the proper format, seeing the show to perfect timing and script changes, etc.,
  • what skills and equipment the captioner needs,
  • what support/assistance/pay is provided by the theatre or venue,
  • how many shows per production are typically captioned,
  • how venues/organizations market the availability of captioning,
  • how audiences have come to accept or expect it,
  • how community theatres and other organizations can introduce it to their audiences — both specifically for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing and those who just miss a few words now and then.

This session is Saturday, June 1, from 10:00 until between noon and 1:00 at Artistry (Bloomington Center for the Arts), 800 W Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington 55431. Check-in will start at 9:30. To register, use the registration link below.

In addition to the in-person option for this workshop we are also offering a virtual (Zoom) attendance option for this workshop.

Cost is $25 (MACT member $20)

Additional workshops may be offered. They will be announced on the MACT website. https://mn-act.net/ and in its Mini MACT*Facts newsletter. Questions, contact Jon at 612-819-0949 or mactfactor@icloud.com.