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Mechanization and Electricity for Props and Puppets

  • Children's Theatre Company 2400 3rd Avenue South Minneapolis, MN, 55404 United States (map)

This is a TWO DAY Workshop

Saturday August 25th 9am - 2pm; snacks provided
Sunday August 26th 9am - 2pm; snacks provided

Sue Brockman, Props Director at Children’s Theatre Company

Dave Horn, Master Electrician at Children’s Theatre Company


Need a cabinet to magically open and close? A mask to pop up and down? Flowers to dance?

Mechanization is the art and craft of making things move, so it is no surprise that it plays a big role in most solutions to these problems and is a major part of most modern scene and props shops.

Or maybe you need a costume to light up? A control switch for that magical cabinet? Those flowers need to glow as well?

Then you’ll need some solutions that probably involve low-voltage electricity.

Props Director Sue Brockman and Master Electrician Dave Horn, both of the nationally renowned Children’s Theater Company, join forces to teach this fantastic workshop on the core skills and ideas behind Mechanization and Electricity for Props.

In this practical class, you’ll learn the core skills and ideas behind the applications of mechanization and low voltage electricity for the stage. While building a fun project that you’ll get to take home, you’ll learn about some of the tools and resources available to solve many of the most common problems in the theatre such as light-up boxes, powered costumes, jack-in-the-box type effects and remote control. You’ll start to learn how to think about the ideas and concepts so that you will be able to get a head start on the inevitable troubleshooting that all craftspeople find themselves doing.

All this will be done by learning techniques actually used by the CTC and other seasoned veteran craftpeople in making things dance, spin, wilt, bounce and move!

In this highly practical workshop you will:

  • Learn how to think about mechanization, and utilize cams, fulcrums and levers to your advantage!

  • Build and modify a shadow puppet.

  • Learn to solder.

  • Work with limit switches, motors and LEDs.

  • Learn about wireless controlled dimmers and decoders/dimmer drivers for LEDs and motors.

  • Build a fun project that brings everything you’re learning about mechanization and electricity together - then bring it home.


You will not work with any power source over 12 Volts. Working with low-voltage is different from working with 110V or 220V power.

For those who have taken our Mechanization workshop in the past - please note that this is not the same workshop, though a good portion of the first day will cover similar material from the first day of that workshop.

Please dress safely and appropriately for this kind of work: wear closed-toed, comfortable shoes and avoid long, loose clothing that could get snagged or burnt while you work with hand tools. Please tie up long hair. Safety gear (safety glasses, hearing protection) will be provided, but if you have ANSI-rated equipment of your own that you prefer, feel free to bring it.



Children’s Theatre Company Props Shop
2400 3rd Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

This is a TWO DAY Workshop, 10 hours total:

Saturday August 25th 9am - 2pm; snacks provided
Sunday August 26th 9am - 2pm; snacks provided

Price: $125

This workshop is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, and from the generous support of the Children's Theater Company. With this support, we are able to offer this workshop for only $125 (normally $375), over a $200 reduction or 66% savings.

Scholarships exist! If you need a scholarship, please contact us at

In general, our scholarships offer 50% off in exchange for coming an hour early and staying an hour late to help set up and clean up.

That said, it is important to us that people are able to afford our workshops. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any concerns or questions.