Behind the Scenes: Musical Theatre Training (Day One)

20 Jun 2015, by Auslan Stage Left in Articles

This weekend Auslan Stage Left took over the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne for their Musical Theatre Training. This was an intensive two day course for those who have already completed our Foundations of Theatre Interpreting course. The focus of this Musical Theatre Training was, as the name implies, to look more closely at the skills required for interpreting musicals, with a focus on interpreting songs.

Have a look at the pictures below for a behind the scenes glimpse at day one of our workshop!


The day began with 19 interpreters gathering in The Tower at the Malthouse Theatre to begin their training with Della Goswell and Alex Jones.





The interpreters covered topics including how interpreted theatre arrived in Australia, when musical theatre interpreting began developing in Australia, and had the opportunity to watch amazing archival footage from many different interpreters, deaf performers, and interpreted productions.


Following that, we gathered a group of experienced musical theatre interpreters to form a panel to answer any questions that the interpreters may have about the challenges of musical theatre interpreting.


Interpreter panel (L – R): Della Goswell, Susan Emerson, Karen Clare, Alex Jones, Danny McDougall (Michelle Ashley and Julie Judd interpreting for Danny McDougall)




We were privileged to include on our panel American interpreter Danny McDougall from TerpTheatre.  Danny is currently visiting Australia as part of his PhD research.


In the afternoon we had a special guest come and teach a session about movement: Todd McKenney, renowned musical theatre performer and Auslan Stage Left patron. Both the interpreters and deaf consultants gathered to watch Todd talk about his experience both as a performer and as part of the deaf community.






He was joined by Auslan Stage Left volunteer Elle Evangelista, who is a professional dancer and took the interpreters through some movement exercises to become more comfortable with engaging their bodies. Both Todd and Elle gave the interpreters valuable insight on the more physical element of musical theatre interpreting.





Next up, we will have the interpreters and deaf consultants working together on snippets from different musicals, culminating in a performance here at the Malthouse Theatre.


Keep an eye out for more behind the scenes from Day Two of our workshop, as well as our upcoming interview with Todd McKenney about his personal perspective on the importance of access in the theatre.


Don’t forget, we are constantly posting sneak peeks and behind the scenes on our Facebook page and Instagram, so make sure you ‘Like’ and follow us to stay up to date with all the exciting news from Auslan Stage Left!

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  • Benjamin Souter Reply

    Fantastic weekend workshop. I’m so thrilled that Auslan Stage Left are here to offer such opportunities to SLIs in Australia – an unique and truly rewarding experience. And what a boon to learn that Australia leads the world in having Deaf consultants as an integral part of the theatre/musical interpreting process.

    • Auslan Stage Left
      Auslan Stage Left Reply

      So glad that you enjoyed the experience Ben, we really appreciate your feedback!

  • […] interpreting songs.  To see what we got up to on day one of our Musical Theatre Training workshop, click here to read our Day One […]

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