When Thoughts Collide

Since sending out the flyers, newsletters and emails promoting the new workshop, “Shakespeare’s Archetypes”, I been thinking. This is too important, and too much fun to limit to a two day workshop.  So I have devised a new and cunning plan (to quote Baldrick).

My plan is to call for Expressions of Interest.  Anyone who is interested in doing this workshop is invited to send me their cv and availability.  As soon as there are 6 people ready and willing at the same time, we’ll do it. But be warned, this is not for the faint-hearted. The only way to create theatre that is exciting and dangerous is to take risks. In order to do that, we need a structure we can trust, and that is what this workshop is for.


Archetypes are ways of being human. These exercises allow us to explore the many sides of our own, individual humanity, and how this is expressed physically, vocally by our bodies. Working with cue scripts (individual part scripts with three word cues) is almost on a par with bungee-jumping for sheer terror, but it is also enormously rewarding when you get the hang (oops, no pun intended) of it.

If you can’t wait, though, and you’d like to learn more about these techniques, either to enhance your own performance practice, or to explore new ways to introduce students to Shakespeare, let me know anyway. We’ll work it out.


The images on this page are from the Archetypes Workshop I conducted at Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona April 2011.  Participants are Graduate Students (Master of Fine Arts). Notice how their physical presence, the way they use, and exist in their bodies, shifts from image to image.

!Extreme Shakespeare!

I had an idea for a workshop, then I had another idea and the collision – or was it collusion? – resulted in “Shakespeare’s Archetypes”, a two day fully immersive program that involves playing with a number of different Archetypes, while experimenting with some of the Original Shakespeare Co’s “rules of the game”.

That seemed like a pretty good plan, but this morning two more thoughts crashed into each other inside my brain (or maybe my heart) and the result is “Extreme Shakespeare”. Thought No 1 was a reaction to Casus‘s beautiful show, Knee Deep, at the Judy last week.  The four performers are technically superb, and because of the way they work together, subtly caring and daring at the same time, they are able to execute some of the most exciting, dangerous moves I’ve seen on stage.

Thought No 2 was a reaction to the National Theatre (of Great Britain)’s production of “Frankenstein“, which I saw at the Dendy Portside yesterday afternoon.  Benedick Cumberbatch played the Monster, with Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein.  It is totally inspiring, not just because of Danny Boyle’s wonderfully imaginative staging or Nick Dear’s fine script, but because the actors are central, the acting is central, and they inject the script with so much passion and power that it totally ceases to BE a script, and emerges – as it should – as the very life and soul of the people who speak it.

I Want That!

So, be warned. This workshop will be challenging and demanding.  Not for wimps. It will start at 9.30 am in the morning, and keep going (with coffee/tea and meal breaks) till 9.30 pm at night. For two whole days.  That is 23 hours of intense training-cum-acting, more than some people spend rehearsing a full production.  Maybe at the end we will have a full production.  I doubt it, because I want More Than That!  I want great theatre, with great performers working together to create it. No stars. No celebrities. Just fantastic actors.

If you want that too, and you live anywhere within Southern Queensland, let me know.  The dates are negotiable. If I can find a venue with living accommodation, we can sleep over as well. So no travelling home late at night, and back first thing Sunday morning.  Perfect.



Thinking Cooling Thoughts

Winter is definitely here, even though anyone from northern Europe might be forgiven for thinking it’s just a mild summer. But it’s cold enough to warrant a hot water bottle for my feet at night, and to get me treading the treadmill to warm them up during the day.

Now that the Voice Class (Term 2) has finished, and my thesis handed down, my thoughts are turning to all the possible projects I can dream up, and there are many of them.  It is vital, therefore, that I keep a cool head!

I’m planning a rather exciting workshop for next month, details will follow soon.  Registered Being in Voice members receive their promised advance notification today, and the page will go live on this site in a day or two.  If you really cannot wait, shoot me an email to express your interest.

There are also plans afoot for the next episode in the trials and tribulations of Dame June Bloom, Fringe Festival projects, and quite a few ideas for writing projects blowing in the wind.

I’d better get on with them!


Private Coaching – the Inside Gen

So, what actually happens when you undertake private voice coaching with Being in Voice?  Well, first of all, you get my undivided attention, addressed to helping you to achieve your goals.  I provide you with a personalised program of exercises, beginning at the foundational, basic level, ensuring that you understand – first and foremost – what your voice ACTUALLY is, and how it works, so that you may undertake the exercises with full awareness of what you are doing, and how it relates to your achieving your goals.

As you become comfortable with the exercises, we extend them into more and more challenging areas, so you know that you are progressing, that your voice is becoming more powerful, more open and more available for the creative expression you are looking for.

Once we’ve got you established with a healthy, sustainable program for your voice, we begin to integrate the specific skills training you are looking for, whether it is for performance in theatre, film, tv, radio, or radio broadcasting, public speaking, voice overs, seminar presentation, or just to be more comfortable as a human being capable of communicating and expressing your thoughts to others.

You learn each new set of exercises on the floor, doing them with me, experiencing the physical reality of what your whole body is doing, and how your voice is sounding in those circumstances.  After your class, I write up my notes on what we did in the class, and email them to you, along with handouts setting out the exercises.  I also place these in your very own Dropbox folder, along with some mp3 files in which I talk you through some of the exercises.  These are available to you for 6 months after the class.  (At some stage in the next few months, these will also be available as an iPhone app).

Any questions?  Feel free to add your comments below.

New Tricks for Extending Vocal Life

Recently, I was invited to run some workshops for 4RPH, Radio for the Print Impaired, to give their volunteer announcers some advice on how to avoid vocal strain, improve their clarity and generally help them to get the most out of their voices.

We were absolutely delighted with the large number of people who committed three hours of their time – as well as all the hours they devote to the actual broadcasting – to learn some new tricks.

Of course, there are no tricks involved. And a little knowledge is no dangerous thing. On the contrary, helping these wonderful people to understand exactly how their voices function is the first step to helping them realise more of their vocal potential.  They are mostly my age, and older, with a few young sparks in the mix.  Some have been broadcasting for over 20 years, others quite new to the profession.

I was able to demonstrate to them how they can regain some of the tone they may have lost over the years, ensuring that their voices are healthily maintained for many years to come, and also help them to access more range and colour in their voices with some very simple posture work, and vocal exercises.

Here are some comments from participants:

I enjoyed it very much and have a much better understanding of how my voice box is made up and how vulnerable it can be when used incorrectly.

Pleasant, engaging leadership. Participant involvement.Well worth while : excellent PR for the station : makes volunteers feel valued.

Your demonstrations of voice properties explained the theory clearly. The distribution of the concise fact sheet after the workshop reinforces the tuition process well.