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Online Resources List and Training Links During the COVID-19 Shutdown UPDATED April 8, 2020

Stage Directions • Industry NewsTheatre Buzz • April 8, 2020

Here are a number of training resources that manufacturers, dealers, theaters, and associations are making available to people to train, learn, and improve their skills while the industry is shut down due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We’ve also included aid and support for those who work in theater and who’ve been adversely affected by this global shutdown of theaters going dark. We’ve also included some links to fun and related items like streaming productions and operas, or links to ways to relax when you take breaks, or to give back to your community. We will post new links or updates at the top of this post:

UPDATED: April 8, 2020

Aid and Support for our Industry

NEA Announces CARES Act Funding to Support Arts Jobs and Help Sustain Arts Organizations:
The National Endowment for the Arts announced its guidelines to swiftly distribute funding to nonprofit arts organizations from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to preserve jobs and help support organizations forced to close operations due to the spread of COVID-19. With the $75 million appropriated to the National Endowment for the Arts through the CARES Act, the Arts Endowment will award 40 percent of the funds directly to state and regional arts agencies by April 30th to distribute through their funding programs. Sixty percent of the funds are designated for direct grants to nonprofit arts organizations all across the United States and will be announced by June 30th.

American Theatre Wing Launches Relief Fund for Theater Artists Across the Country:
The American Theatre Wing has outlined the first phase of its National COVID-19 Response Effort, which includes brand new, rapid funding mechanisms to help support and sustain the theater community at both the local and national level, as well as a series of new, online educational offerings to continue its mission of enriching and empowering students and emerging leaders. 

The CARES Act:
Navigating CARES Act Unemployment Assistance
The entertainment industry is experiencing an unprecedented increase in unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the CARES Act passed by congress last week will provide $260 billion in enhanced and expanded unemployment insurance (UI) to thousands of entertainment workers throughout the country who are being furloughed, laid off, or finding themselves without work through no fault of their own.

There are a number of resources – that are listed in this article – that can help you navigate UI or the benefits provided by the CARES Act, but the first and foremost should be your state’s unemployment office website, as most of the COVID-19 economic relief funding will be distributed through state UI programs.

The CARES Act – More Information on the Unemployment Insurance:
Unemployment Insurance Provisions for Creative Professionals in the CARES Act
The CARES Act creates three new UI programs: Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. All three programs are fully federally funded. This fact sheet will discuss all three, as well as “short-time compensation,” laying out what benefits are available to workers who find themselves without any or enough employment or work in these difficult times.

Go here for the rest of the post on the UI programs in the CARES Act.
Further information from the National Employment Law Project (NELP)

Industry Online Training Opportunities

Shure, Inc:
Join Shure’s Next Webinar: How to Improve Your Webinar Audio
Shure is holding its next webinar: How to Improve Your Webinar Audio that will be held on Wednesday, April 15th at 11:ooam (CDT). With the sudden shift to online learning, the demand for webinars and e-learning content has risen dramatically. In order for participants to get the most benefit out of these learning opportunities, clear, intelligible sound is critical. And what better way to learn how to improve your webinar audio than by joining a webinar hosted by a leader in professional audio!

DPA Microphones:
DPA Microphones Offers Online Training
DPA Microphones is providing a variety of creative online resources and virtual entertainment in the wake of the current COVID-19 situation. As part of its efforts, DPA is hosting a variety of digital content including online training webinars focused on products, segments, techniques and more; as well as interviews with industry professionals.

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre:
Backstage@Home: LED Tape with Chicago Shakespeare’s Electrics Dept.
In the Backstage@Home series from the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, members of the Chicago Shakespeare Production department demonstrate the tools of the trade. In this episode, Lighting Supervisor Mac Vaughey breaks down the many potential applications of LED tape for theater and at home, and shares an illuminating tutorial.

USITT Webinars: New@Noon New Products Showcase
USITT has created two new webinar series. The first is New@Noon as a way to provide those in the technical theatre and live entertainment industries with online education. This is designed to be similar the the New Products Showcase that normally would happen at the annual Conference and Stage Expo. These webinars are FREE of charge for anyone who may be interested, not just USITT members. New@Noon will take place from Monday through Thursday at noon EDT, via the popular online conference application, Zoom.

USITT Webinars: Forum@Four Series of Curated Sessions
The second new webinar series from USITT is Forum@Four, these webinars are FREE of charge for anyone who may be interested, not just USITT members. Forum@Four will take place from Monday through Thursday at 4pm EDT, via the popular online conference application, Zoom. The Forum@Four series is essentially taking a selection of curated sessions and translating them to a virtual environment. These webinars are brought to you by the various USITT commissions and other industry experts, and presenters will be available during the sessions to answer questions that participants may have. Similar to the New@Noon series, the Forum@Four will be available on Zoom, however they will NOT be streamed simultaneously on Facebook Live.

ChamSys Training Academy Expands Online Learning Opportunities
Learning and career development continue to move forward at the ChamSys Training Academy. The lighting console maker has been actively expanding its online education resources with new courses, tutorials, and appointment opportunities being added on a continuous basis. In addition to providing programmers with the chance to sharpen their skills (and develop new ones), the academy is serving as a platform for them to remain connected to the industry in the wake of the closings and cancellations that have taken place.

Electronic Theatre Controls / High End Systems (UPDATED):
“We at ETC & High End Systems know times are tough out there for a lot of our valued users and friends in the industry. This won’t last forever, but for as long it does, we’re here for you. We are working on curating and creating new content for you during this uncertain time. For the time being, stay safe and stay connected.”

Further information on ETC and High End Systems’ Study Hall
To participate in ETC’s training programs, please visit

Click here for High End Systems’ Study Hall access.
You do need to be signed into your MyETC account to participate in ETC and High End System’s Study Hall.

MAGNUM is a full-service entertainment technology company based in Atlanta, GA. They have created a very exhaustive, and frequently updated list of training opportunities. We suggest you explore their list – Every Free Event Technology Training Class, Tutorial, and Workshop Being Offered During COVID-19 (Updating)

Upholstery How-To:
Here’s a how-to video created by the Alliance Theatre’s Properties Department. In this first installment, Episode One, Properties Manager/Master, Suzanne Cooper Morris takes you through how to reupholster an ottoman. It’s a great video to use with your classes as we all have to teach online during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Capture Visualisation:
Update to Licensing Policies Due to COVID-19
Capture Visualisation AB, the Swedish company that created Capture Visualisation software for lighting design, visualisation, and documentation, has updated its educational licensing policies. Valid until the end of August 2020, educational Capture key files can now be unlocked on computers owned by students at home.

Columbus McKinnon (UPDATED Times & Dates):
CM is offering free online training with the early-release of its Frequent & Periodic Inspection of CM-ET Lodestar & Prostar Electric Chain Hoists. This 4-part series is completely new to the CMCO curriculum including one 45-minute training per week.

Classes will live stream each Thursday and Friday, starting on April 2 and 3, and following over the next three weeks. There will be additional support via CM’s Facebook page. Attendees will be offered an online test to receive a Certification of Completion at the conclusion of the course and receive two ETCP Credits.

Sign up today at no cost to reserve your seat and share with your fellow colleagues. You only need to sign up once for all four sessions.

Stage Research:
Stage Research, Inc, creators of SFX™ sound playback software has announced free software in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown.

“During this time of idle theaters and postponed projects, Stage Research is offering any of our software programs for free,” says Stage Research Founder, Carlton Guc. “Use it for what you want—learn something new, coordinate frequencies, create that highly complex sound design, upgrade your personal equipment to the latest version of our software or upgrade your professional equipment at the shop, in school, or your theater. For free. It’s on us. Hoping to ease the challenges we are all dealing with at this time. There is no deadline other than sometime after theater resumes. Order from our store the normal way and use this code: SUPPORTARTS to get your 100% discount.”
Further information from Stage Research, Inc.:

disguise is giving everyone 6 months FREE access to its Designer software until the end of September, as well as discounted dongles.

Step 1: Get your USB dongle
If you don’t already have one, follow the steps below to get one.

In the webstore, click the relevant link for you and the promo code will auto-apply to your cart. You can also copy / paste the relevant code at the checkout page.

Get 50% off:
Until the end of April, we are also offering all USB dongles at 50% off. Get yours now!

Have a Notch dongle? As Notch and disguise use the same ‘codemeter’ dongles, we have partnered with them on a dongle sharing scheme. If you have a Notch dongle, we can add a disguise license to it, and vice versa.
Visit the Notch webstore

Claude Heintz Designs:
Due to the Covid19 emergency, Claude Heintz Design is making a temporary LXSeries Pro license available for free to anyone. The license can be installed in LXBeams or LXFree for Java (v2.3.5) and provides access to the full functions of LXSeries Pro during the current emergency. Click to Download
The temporary license requires an Internet connection for authorization when the application starts. The emergency license will remain enabled through at least May of 2020.

(UPDATED) Learn How to Access Shure Online Training
On Wednesday, March 25th, Cheryl Jennison DaProza, Chris Lyons, Sam Gibbs, and Dave Klein led a webinar discussion on how to find and access Shure training, including recorded webinars and online training. Here’s a video recording of the webinar.

Stage Managers’ Association:
The Stage Managers’ Association (SMA) announces that it’s FREE Public Access Resource page is now live. Non-members can listen to featured interviews and watch selected webinars. Each Friday, the SMA will roll out new content (interviews and webinars) that non-members can access for 1 week.

Click here to listen to featured interviews and watch selected webinars. Content changes over each Friday.

ChamSys is holding an online programmers’ competition where you can enter for a chance to win a NEW ChamSys MagicQ MQ70 console in this online programmers’ competition! Contestants will have the chance to program a massive, 200-fixture CHAUVET Professional rig that was set to premiere at the Prolight + Sound 2020 tradeshow. Download the show file for the 200-fixture rig. Submit your entry by April 10, 2020. Please read the full competition rules before entering.

The first 25 entries will receive a MagicDMX Test Kit. The top 3 runner-ups will receive a premium swag bag.

See the full ChamSys contest rules here:

Josh Epstein, designer and developer of Cuelist, a digital collaboration tool for live events, would like to help people communicate during the COVID-19 shutdown. Cuelist is offering the following changes to get through the tough months ahead:

  • For all Educational and Institutional subscriptions – unlimited collaborators through the month of June. You need only subscribe to the base plan and then let them know how many active users you need. (At the end of June, active users will automatically return to normal plan settings.) If you are already subscribed and need more active users, just contact Cuelist.
  • Individual subscriptions will now have the FREE TRIAL period extended to last either 30 days or until June 15, whichever comes later.
  • Individual subscriptions also now have a new student-pricing option. Students need only subscribe using a “.edu” email address and put the coupon code STUDENTRATE in for our discount pricing. The reduced price is $49/annually or a monthly fee of $4.95. This rate will be good for four years starting from whenever you activate your account — regardless of future student status.

Further information from Cuelist and to sign up:

Obsidian Control Systems:
Offering free weekly training sessions covering the ONYX control platform and new NETRON data distribution range. These classes will be hosted online and are available globally for anyone interested in learning more about Obsidian’s advanced yet intuitive lighting control products. For more details and registration, please visit the Obsidian Control training webpage.

Avolites is offering a range of free online learning sessions as a part of Avolites Academy for users to learn more about their products during the COVID-19 shutdown. Here’s more information from Avolites on these learning opportunities that you can take advantage.

Over the coming days and weeks, the full schedule and resources can be found on this dedicated page where we will be giving you the opportunity to improve or update your skills via online webchat, training, or tutorials from our Facebook community forums for both Titan and Ai platforms.

Avolites has partnered with Notch to provide related training:
Notch – Access Notch Builder Learner
Avolites has teamed up with Notch to bring you easy access to their powerful Notch Builder Learner software so you can practice and improve on your generative content building skills!

If you are an Ai user who already owns a Notch Codemeter key, you can access the Notch Builder Learner software for free. Simply click this link and download your free Notch Builder Licence.

If you do not own a Codemeter Key, the full package is available here.
Get Notch Builder Learner for Free

USITT Free Teaching Archives:
The USITT Teaching Archive is a FREE online resource for teachers in areas of technical theatre and live entertainment that was assembled by the various USITT Commissions. This site is organized into disciplines related to each USITT commission. It features lesson plans for full class period exercises, week- and month-long projects, and even full semesters.

As more USITT members in the education field are finding themselves working, and teaching from home, they encourage you to take full advantage of this resource during this time and beyond.

Further information from the USITT Teaching Archives

SETC COVID-19 Theatre Resources List
The Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) has put together a list of suggestions and resources to help people dealing with the shutdown of just about everything due to COVID-19. They welcome everyone to share your ideas.

Further information from SETC:

Barbizon Lighting:
Barbizon Lighting’s extremely popular, and impossible-to-keep-in-stock-to-meet-demand, Electrician’s Handbook has been updated and is now available electronically as an updated FREE app in Apple’s App Store and on Google Play for Android users!

You can download the new versions here:
iOS –
Android –

Imagineering in a Box is a free online program that brings together the diverse talents of Disney Imagineers around the world for a one-of-a-kind learning experience. The series offers 32 videos in which Imagineers share how they use a wide range of skills – from story development and conceptual design, to math, physics and engineering – to create immersive experiences. The online curriculum aims to ignite curiosity, inspire creativity, and encourage innovation in the minds of students and teachers alike, while creating fun and engaging opportunities to explore new concepts.

Further information from Imagineering in a Box

Many colleges and universities who use Lightwright are now conducting classes remotely, which means their students do not have access to the school’s computer lab and Lightwright licenses. A special emergency Lightwright license is now available for anyone who needs to use Lightwright under these circumstances between now and June 1, 2020.

Go to for details.

Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC):
“We know times are tough out there for a lot of our valued users and friends in the industry. This won’t last forever, but for as long as it does, ETC is here for you. From now until May 15, ETC is offering all our LearningStage classes FREE. We will continue to offer resources over the next few weeks to help keep you learning, and adjust this timing for as long as we need. Until then, stay safe and stay connected.”

ETC’s Lowell Olcott will be doing a live webinar, next week, talking about ways educators can use some of the new features in Eos 3.0 and Augment3d to help with virtual lighting classes! “I would love to end the class by offering some example showfiles. So I’m looking for some help. If you have a 3D model of your space and a light plot that you would be willing to share please let me know! I will of course fully credit you and your work. More details about the class soon!”

Vectorworks is offering free Spotlight Essentials Seminars. Use the code TRAINMENOW for a 100% discount.

There is also Vectorworks Training available from UK Lighting Designer, Mark Doubleday. Here’s information on his offer:
“In this uncertain time for Entertainment professionals like myself, I would like to put aside a couple of hours every other day to offer FREE Vectorworks training to any Entertainment Professional who is looking to establish new skills or refresh knowledge with Vectorworks Spotlight.”

“I am a Stage Lighting Designer based in the UK with fifteen years of experience with Vectorworks. As part of my practice I have helped train many students and professionals to use the software. Now that all my Lighting Design work has been cancelled until August, I would like to offer some assistance to my friends and colleagues who, like me have a little more time on their hands right now.”

“All sessions are one-to-one. They will be conducted using v.2020 of the software and are aimed at Spotlight users. If you have an earlier version, or are using Fundamentals, that is fine. These sessions are not aimed at any other software package and that includes the Braceworks plugin and Vectorworks Vision.” Sign-up for a free half-hour session

Strand Lighting:
Strand will be teaching the basics of lighting systems design online as well as end-users can learn more about its consoles, dimming and distribution, and networking products. Go to Strand’s Online Training page.

ACT Lighting:
From their Facebook Page: “The Show must go on” is a phrase that has inspired our industry for more than a century. In this difficult moment for our entertainment family, these words inspire us to prepare to move forward; to be better and stronger when the lights do come back on. In that spirit, all ACT Academy online courses are available for FREE from now until June 1st. Use the Promo Code: act4me

Figure 53:
Giving educational users free use of QLab 4 Pro bundle until June 1, to support teachers and students “during social distancing.” Anyone with a .edu email address can have a free temporary QLab 4 Pro Bundle. Create your account at and email

Allen & Heath:
Learn about the new Allen & Heath Avantis digital console during this webinar conducted by TC Furlong. The webinar will be hosted on YouTube from 4-6pm on Thursday, March 19th. There will be two live sessions: one starting at 4pm, and one starting at 5pm. Everyone registered on Eventbrite will receive a link to the stream via email on Thursday. Register Now for this Allen & Heath webinar.
The third mixer based on the Allen & Heath 96kHz XCVI FPGA engine, Avantis puts all the next-generation technology in a 64 channel / 42 configurable bus console, with dual Full HD touchscreens, a super-flexible workflow with Continuity UI, extensive I/O options, add-on processing from the flagship dLive mixing system, and a rugged full metal chassis.

USITT Lighting Commission:
Has created a Google doc with a long list of useful links.

Behind the Scenes:
Behind the Scenes in conjunction with other concerned organizations and individuals have come together to create the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative. A series of tools and resources has been developed to not only help you but also assist you in helping your colleagues. Find links to resources, the online self-assessment tool, and information about the initiative and programs at

AVIXA is opening its full online training catalog to all AV professionals, regardless of membership level. Effective immediately, they are waiving online access fees and Elite seat limitations through June 12. That means you and your entire team can now access ALL of AVIXA’s online training. They hope this will give you and your team the opportunity to learn new topics, work toward CTS certification, or earn CTS-RUs if already CTS certified, even if you are home. ACCESS ONLINE TRAINING Note: If you are not an AVIXA member, you will be prompted to sign up as a free Basic member.

John Huntington, professor of Entertainment Technology, sound engineer, and author of the book Show Networks and Control Systems:
Free video lectures on his Control Geek website based on the chapters of his book.

The Virtual Theatre:
A 3D set design tool for the Theatre Arts Classroom, The Virtual Theatre, will be offering the program for free for the next three months.  Log on and select the ‘FREE ONLINE’ product and purchase. There is also the choice of an optional donation, if you’d like to help with development.


COVID-19 Guidelines:

CDC Guidelines on Coronavirus (COVID-19):
Here’s a link the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and it’s wealth of resources on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Relaxation and Fun Links:

National Theatre:
The National Theatre in the UK has launched its National Theatre at Home, which will feature free streams of some of its productions. The NT has a long history of capturing their productions for broadcast to movie theaters. Now, they will be available on YouTube. The first production will be One Man, Two Guvnors, which launches on April 2 at 7:30pm GMT and be available for seven days. Upcoming productions include:  Jane Eyre, Treasure Island, and Twelfth Night. Upcoming productions will be announced at a later date.

Opera America’s #meetopera List of Opera Companies with Online Content (Updated April 6):
In the face of venue closures, opera companies across the North America have started offering content online, allowing audiences to #meetopera digitally. Go to this link for the Current List of Opera Companies participating.

Opera Wire:
Here is a comprehensive list of all opera companies offering free streaming services right now


We will be updating this list as other resources and online training opportunities are announced.


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