Voice has always fascinated me,our voices and how we use them in our performances and in our everyday lives. How we relate and communicate our ideas to one another, how we express our innermost thoughts and opinions of the world. How our voice is a real reflection of who we are.
One of my early tutors in youth theatre Max Hafler, an incredible teacher and director, first drew my attention to voice and how we use it in performance. A few years later I would continue my journey when I studied acting in Trinity with the wonderful voice tutors Andrea Ainsworth and Kevin Crawford. It was a feeling of momentous discovery when I connected with my voice and heard and felt who I was and why I spoke the way I did, becoming aware of how my physical being affected my vocal expression. In speeches and line delivery I sometimes pushed forward from my chin and forced my voice. I realised being the youngest child with somewhat strong opinions, I was perhaps always pushing to be heard, for my words to be accepted. I never really had thought that much about it before. I was a performer and felt I had a powerful resonant voice but there was much more to be explored. Three years of drama school allows you plenty of time to explore, to unravel, to de-construct and reshape yourself so I feel very fortunate to have had this time. I heard my peers connect with their voices and in exercises describe their voices so accurately that it was like their voice was a mirror into their souls. It was fascinating to witness. Drama is a wonderful tool which allows us to feel free, feel connected, be ourselves for those moments, though fleeting moments they may be. We experience the presence and it feels so beautiful, so real and so easy.
Exploring voice further has always been on my list of things to do. When living in London some years back I was looking to broaden my skills so I auditioned for an MA in Voice in Guildhall and would have been accepted I feel, except the remarkable Patsy Rodenburg thought I just might not be finished with being an actor and at the time I suppose she was right. I will never be finished with being an actor and perhaps I couldn’t have dedicated myself fully to becoming a voice tutor. I agreed to disagree with her on that one, in my head anyway. I thought I could add it to my little bucket of skills but it was not meant to be.
And I still long for more intensive study of voice and the Roy Hart Centre in France tucked away in the hills somewhere is my place of choice. I had worked with Kevin Crawford and visiting voice coach Ivan Middlemich and both left a lasting impression on me. I am hoping to attend one of their voice workshops this year. I am actively seeking ways to connect with voice workshops again and soak it all up so that I can share with those I connect with through teaching and workshops. I will be attending the Fitzmaurice Voice Workshops in Dublin in March and I feel there is so much benefit to be gained from understanding our voices, connecting with them and really opening up to the wonderful people we are inside. And so onwards I go, filling my little bucket.