Audio describer training

by Jessica Stolen
photograph of someone listening to headphones

Audio Describer Trainings in Minneapolis

Are you looking to learn a new way to (A) use your visual description skills, (B) enable people who are blind to enjoy public events more fully, and (C) earn money?

Investigate the world of Audio Description — at a training offered in mid-May as part of a series of workshops aiming to make arts and culture more accessible to people with disabilities. The workshops are offered by the Minnesota Association of Community Theatres with funding from the Metro Regional Arts Council.

Audio Description is creating vivid descriptions of key visual elements for people who are blind or have low vision, as well as for others who may benefit from description. Many films and TV shows have audio description tracks, and theatres around the world have increasingly offered audio description to serve patrons who can finally see — through the describer’s words — sets, costumes, gestures, facial expressions, etc. The Twin Cities have offered more audio described shows than any other city, but new describers are needed due to retirements, new opportunities, and a nearly total absence of audio description in Greater Minnesota. (Shows with audio description and other access accommodations are listed on the Minnesota Access Alliance website: https://calendar.mnaccess.org/.)

Choose a two-day training that fits your schedule:

Thursday/Friday, May 16-17, at Theatre in the Round, 245 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis,

OR

Saturday/Sunday, May 18-19, at Minnesota Fringe office, 79 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

The trainings, in person from 9:00 to 5:00, will primarily look at audio describing live events like plays, but the techniques also apply to description at art galleries, museums, historical sites, film/video, parades, etc. It will cover the basic guidelines and methods of description using equipment like portable microphones, transmitters and receivers available locally. 

The cost is only $80, thanks to grant funding.

Trainer Celia Hughes is director of Art Spark Texas (formerly VSA Texas), which has been providing Audio Description services in Texas and across the country for over 20 years. She has presented and trained at the Kennedy Center’s annual LEAD (Leadership Exchange in Arts & Disability) conferences, serves on a national committee looking at audio description standards and certification, and recently audio described the eclipse by virtual broadcast from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Celia provided four describer trainings around Minnesota for VSA Minnesota more than 10 years ago.

To register, go to https://mn-act.net/index.php/about-us/training-workshops/#AD. For more information, call Jon at 612-819-0949 or mactfactor@icloud.com. Enrollment is limited.

Other workshops in this MACT series include:

Captioning Workshop: — Learn Captioning options available to serve audience members with hearing loss.

Saturday, June 1, 10:00-2:00, at Artistry, Bloomington

Saturday, May 18 at Northern Starz Theatre, Ramsey:

10:00-12:00 — Including People with Disabilities in Your Shows

12:00 Networking Lunch 

1:30-3:30 — What is the Penguin Project, and Could It Be Part of Your Season — musicals that include youth with and without disabilities.

Additional workshops will be held on Saturdays in June. 

Details, registration and modest fees at https://mn-act.net/.

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