Training & Workshops

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Audio Describer Training Captioning Options Workshops

These training sessions and workshops are being coordinated by Jon Skaalen, a long time access advocate, MACT member and officer who was formerly with VSA Minnesota. For more information on any of the items below, contact Jon at 612-819-0949 or

This is a rare opportunity for an affordable two-day training to learn how to make shows more enjoyable and accessible for people with vision loss!

Audio description is a service that describes the visual aspects of events for people who are blind or of low vision. It’s a skill you can learn to serve your theatre — or use to earn money describing plays, films, parades, art and museum exhibits, parades, even eclipses. Learn the basics and get a chance to try describing scenes yourself. The main focus is on live performance, but all kinds of audio description will be included. Current audio description standards are included, along with resources to audio description networking around the country, possible continuing mentoring, and future opportunity for certification.

Skills needed: a good voice, quick mind to access apt adjectives and verbs, conciseness, ability to prioritize what’s important to say in a few words, time to preview a play, review a script and make notes, desire to share your love of theatre and the arts with people who can’t see.

Choose either set of dates:

Presenter: Celia Hughes, director of Art Spark Texas, has described hundreds of shows and trained dozens of new describers in Texas, at national Kennedy Center conferences, and previously in Minnesota. She is also on a committee developing audio description certification.

Cost: $80 (MACT members $70)

#1: Thursday/Friday, May 16-17,

9:00-5:00 both days in Minneapolis at Theatre in the Round Players, 245 Cedar Ave.

#2: Saturday/Sunday, May 18-19

9:00-5:00 both days in Minneapolis at the Minnesota Fringe office, 79 13th Ave. NE

Captioning Options

Captioning Options for Theaters Workshop

This is an opportunity to learn what various local theatres and cultural groups are doing to provide Open Captioning to serve attendees who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Who’s doing it now, and what methods may work and be affordable for your organization? For instance:

  • Guthrie, Ordway and Hennepin Theatre Trust use c2 inc. and LED display monitors for captioning scripts.
  • Minnesota Opera uses subtitles for English translations of its operas.
  • Mixed Blood Theatre’s version of scripted captioning can make EVERY performance accessible through cueing the actors’ lines.
  • Stages Theatre, Full Circle and others have similar captioning efforts.
  • Independent captioners use a free software to provide captioned performances at History Theatre, Park Square and Theater Latte Da.
  • Remote captioning used at Crooners connects via app to patrons’ smartphones.
  • CART Providers (i.e. court reporters) use special software to provide captions for any live event, conference, Q&A discussion.

How is YOUR theatre serving members who can’t hear all the words? Captioning can be an option. Come and see how.

Saturday, June 1,

10:00-2:00 at Artistry, Bloomington Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre, 1800 W Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington

Presenters: Six providers of captioning in the Twin Cities

Cost: $25 (MACT members $20)


MACT is planning 3 days of workshops on 3 Saturdays in May and June

  • The format for each workshop day will be similar, but with different combinations of workshops available on each day.
    • There will be one or two workshop options in the morning,
    • a lunch break and
    • one or two workshop options in the afternoon.

Cost to attend:

  • $40 for both workshops on the same day ($35 for MACT members)
  • $25 for a single workshop ($20 for MACT members)

Session #1: May 18 at Northern Starz Center for the Performing Arts in Ramsey POSTPONED

  • 10:00 – 12:00 Including People With Disabilities in Your Shows.
  • 12:00 – 1:30 Lunch Break
  • 1:30 – 3:30 What is the Penguin Project, and Could it be Part of Your Season?

Session #2: June 8 at TBA

  • Times and workshop topics TBA

Click here to register (registrations not open yet)

Session #3: June 15 or 22 at TBA

  • Times and workshop topics TBA

Click here to register (registrations not open yet)

Workshop Descriptions:

Including People with Disabilities in Your Shows

  • Presented by: Northern Starz Theatre
  • Hear how one community theatre has been successful at including seniors and people with disabilities in its shows and programs; and bring your ideas and questions of how to reach this typically-undeserved part of your potential participants

What is the Penguin Project, and Could It Be Part of Your Season?

  • Presented by: Northern Starz Theatre
  • This nationally recognized program casts young people with disabilities and peer mentor performers without disabilities in musicals. See how Northern Starz has done it and how it could work for your community.

More workshop descriptions to come.