FEBRUARY 2015 NEWS:

The Aeneid for Naxos
The Aeneid for Naxos AudioBooks.

Produced by Alec Reid, recorded at Phase Shift in Bristol by Ken Barton.
Read by me.

About my teaching and coaching

 

  • BBC Carleton Hobbs Award
  • Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • MA English and Classics, University of Cambridge
  • Diploma, Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama

Yes, the qualifications matter, but what really matters is what you do with them.

I don't just teach technique in a general sense. That's pointless - in fact it's destructive. It merely replaces real voices with so-called 'correct' sound.

I teach people how to find and use their full, true voices.

Vocal technique is a creative set of tools, not an end in itself. Each voice is different and anyone who wants to make the best of their voice needs to know how those tools work for them.


My own training and education, plus over forty years experience as actor, singer and teacher, have taught me how to pass these skills on in a way that works for you, as an individual.

Besides coaching actors, I teach other teachers, lecturers, preachers, lawyers, civil servants, shopkeepers, policemen... People who need their voices in all kinds of situations come to me either singly or in groups.

As a teacher of acting, I give audition coaching. If you've applied for and got auditions at nationally established drama schools (RADA, Guildhall, Central, Bristol Old Vic School, etc.) and know the pieces you want to do, I can teach you how to make the very best of your talent.

When someone comes to me for voice coaching, first (and always) I listen to them. Many people rush what they have to say because deep down they don't believe anyone really wants to hear; they tend either to mumble, or shout. But as soon as you know I'm genuinely interested you relax and express yourself much better, more easily. More of who you really are comes out in your voice.

The change usually happens almost at once, and is very exciting. Then I introduce basic exercises for relaxation, power and range. You begin to feel how the breathing, resonance, and articulation techniques give you enhanced confidence, colour and range.

The bottom line is that I give you new belief in yourself and a user-friendly skill-set which, with steady practice, can make the very best of your potential.

If you have a need for expert and sympathetic voice training, either personal coaching or a course, please get in touch.


My teaching background

I worked from 1975 to 1985 at the The Guildhall School of Music and Drama (of which I am a Fellow), and then at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, and later at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. I was variously: theatre director, radio technique teacher, and verse speaking and voice coach.

I also devised and led a long series of voice courses for civilian trainers in Defense Business Learning between 1994 and 2005, and since 1993 I've been voice consultant and course leader for voice training in the Diocese of Bath & Wells (Church of England).

I've coached and taught at:

  • Esso,
  • Bristol University Drama Department,
  • HM Prison Service,
  • The University of the West of England,
  • Strode Theatre,
  • The Drama Studio, London,
  • Avon Association of Drama,
  • NODA summer schools,
  • Circomedia,
  • Bath Theatre Royal,
  • Dance Voice Bristol,

and I've developed my own special courses 'Voiceworks' and 'Shakespeare's Jazz'.

I had a life-changing experience in the early 1990's when I worked with people with learning difficulties. Having been previously focussed on the articulate spoken word through classic drama and verse, I was faced fully, for the first time, with the deep and vivid power of the sounds behind language, and even at times the breathtaking force of vocal expression without recognisable words at all.

Only then did I begin to understand the infinite riches of what we inadequately call 'tone of voice' - from its gentlest to its most explosive, through every colour and nuance in between. Only people who are often bereft of words, and who, for that very reason, need to express themselves even more urgently, can teach you that. It was a profound experience which made me reach well beyond the sophisticated limits of arts education. It taught me that there is so much more to hear and express than even the best chosen words can manage.


Directing

A significant part of my teaching has involved directing plays.

At the Guildhall School (1975 to 1985) I directed:

  • Henry IV part 1  William Shakespeare
  • As You Like It  William Shakespeare (also toured to Berlin)
  • Restoration (play with music)  Edward Bond
  • Privates On Parade (with music)  Peter Nichols
  • White Liars  Peter Schaffer
  • The Balcony (scenes)  Jean Genet
  • The Ascent of F6 (with music)  Auden, Isherwood & Benjamin Britten
    (toured to Aldeburgh Festival)
  • Johnson Over Jordan (scenes with music)  J.B.Priestley & Benjamin Britten

Other teaching/directing:

  • The Harrowing of Hell (Mystery Play)  ADC Theatre Cambridge
  • Point Of Departure  Kitty Black  Fletcher Players Cambridge
  • The Old Tune  Samuel Beckett  Arts Theatre Ipswich
  • You're Human Like The Rest of Them  B.S.Johnson  Arts Theatre Ipswich
  • The Stronger  August Strindberg  Grand Theatre Wolverhampton
  • Walking Through Seaweed  Ian Hamilton Findlay  Grand Theatre Wolverhampton
  • See How They Run  (Whitehall Farce)  Crewe Theatre