How to Acquire an Accent

Accents – believe it or not – are not easy.  Let’s face it, if you’ve spent 20, 30, 40 years using your head and facial muscles and your tongue to speak words in a particular way, and tuning your voice to go up and down in pitch the way your friends and family do, it is going to take some degree of effort to retrain your ears and those muscles to do it differently on demand. Dudley Knight and Phil Thompson have been working for many years to study the challenges of “Speaking With Skill” (Dudley’s book is a Goldmine). They devised a training methodology that integrates beautifully and effortlessly with any voice training system you care to name. Last year I attended the KTS …

Travel Plans 2014

I am so excited I am almost beside myself.  If there were two of me, we would be jumping up and down and hugging each other. But since it’s just me, myself and I, we will all three of us settle down and share the news. The actual travel dates are not yet finalised, but this is roughly my itinerary: Brisbane to Seattle – mid-June Seattle to New York – late-June-July New York to Liverpool, UK – mid-August Liverpool to Au Brana, France – mid-September then back to Brisbane. In New York, I’ll be undertaking the Knight-Thompson Teacher Certification course.  In Au Brana I’ll be training with John Britton (Duende-Ensemble) on creating solo performance. I am also planning to get …

Knight-Thompson Speechworks Rocks My World

Two weeks training in Knight-Thompson Speech and Accents was intense, challenging and unbelievably satisfying. I feel like a newly repotted plant, a bit wobbly above ground, checking out how much room my roots now have to spread out into, and seeing the world from a whole new perspective – albeit one with a familiar quality and a recognisable contour. The training is deeply practical and intellectually demanding, and I love that combination.  It’s all about awareness, in that you must give your full attention to what is actually happening inside your body, how it moves and is moved by your breath, your thoughts, your needs or desires. That, as such, is what I’ve been working on for many years. The …

Accent on Voice

Accents are often the first thing on the minds of young actors, and there’s no doubt being able to speak with different accents is a useful skill.  This article  came to me from my dear friend and colleague, Amy Stoller, one of New York’s top accent coaches. The author shares his experience of discovering that his Pakistani accent had modified itself quite unbeknownst to him, as he lived for years in the States, and how he realises now how much cultural, social and even political baggage  – if not downright prejudice – is attached to the way people pronounce their words. My own experience confirms this, albeit in a pretty mild way, compared to the challenges faced by people from different …