Your Connection with Language and Your Audience
Anyone who has to get up in front of a group of people and speak a prepared text -- whether it is a wedding speech, a business presentation, a formal talk, or a theatrical performance -- wants the same thing: to be heard and understood clearly, but also to be interesting, effective and engaging. However, these more advanced language skills often need to be learned and practiced, as they do not necessarily come naturally to most people.
Language skills in general are housed in, and an operative function of, the left hemisphere of the brain -- the hemisphere which tends to favour the more analytical and logic-based thinking and processing activities for which the brain is responsible. When a person goes from reading a text from the page directly to speaking that text aloud, this activity tends to be more or less confined to that left hemisphere, which can result in clearly articulated, logically-formed speech that lacks colour, emotion, and energy.
However, the more prosodic, interpretive and expressive aspects of spoken language tend to be governed by the right hemisphere, where the more creative and visual/imaginative functions of the brain are located. It is therefore very useful, when working on a text, to employ exercises that actively channel the language through those imaginative, creative, expressive parts of the brain before they emerge as spoken language. Doing so is more likely to result in much clearer storytelling, more lively speeches and more engaging presentations.
Happily, it is also likely to result in a more embodied expression of thought, image or information. As soon as the imagination is involved, the body wants to join in, and this embodiment -- this connection with the body -- is the key to authentic, connected, energised communication that moves audiences.
Helping people access these language skills and discover the power of effective communication is one of my great passions. Depending on your needs or the professional environment you inhabit, I can help you with:
Voice Coaching for Theatrical Productions
Providing the “ears” for the production to ensure that the story is clearly communicated (including listening for appropriate vocal energy ("volume") and clarity of speech, in addition to overall text work and storytelling)
Working with actors during the rehearsal process and also during the run to ensure vocal health and effectiveness
Text Work for Actors
Shakespeare & Classical text
Working with poetry
Rhetoric & Oratory: the art of persuasion and speech-making
Presentation Skills and Public Speaking Techniques
Body Skills (grounding, centring, alignment, breath, gesture, body language)
Vocal Dynamics (pace, pitch range, volume, energy)
Engaging your audience & creating a sense of intimacy – even in large spaces with large groups
Individualised text work and performance coaching for specific speeches and presentations
Script work (editing, adaptation, working with actors/directors in workshop)
Research for production team and acting company: contextualising a text/script; contextualising language usage (particularly in Classical texts, but also between cultures)
Assisting with other text-related work, both during pre-production and during rehearsal
Assisting with copy-writing for marketing material
Writing copy/providing research for programme notes
I specialise in clean, unfussy, ‘modern’ productions of Shakespeare’s plays and plays by his contemporaries, as well as works from all subsequent periods, where the focus is on good storytelling and character development.