1st March 2017 – Voice Lesson

Voice lesson

In today’s lesson we recapped lots of the work we have previously done in regards to using voice for performance and the elements that contribute to this. Not only is it important that an actor’s voice is clear and projected enough for the audience members to understand, but also is crucial to creating characters as no two peoples voices will be the same, and the type of voice can indicate a lot about a person. Lynn reminded us of an analogy that she often uses in regards to actors and their voices; she compares they way actors must adapt their everyday voice when performing to the same way that a dancer changes their everyday walk into dance movement. It is the same idea as both performers have to take control of what their specific body parts are doing to achieve what they want.

Recapping of voice work and Linking to FMP

We went on to recap the specific speech qualities one can change and control to produce different sounds and voice types (pitch, dynamic, speed, clarity/diction, timbre) – which can be added together in various combinations to produce differing qualities of sound and show emphasis in speech.

So in better detail:

Volume or dynamics are an important factor as it is essential for the audience members of any performance to be able to hear the dialogue being spoken. While in television this isn’t as much of a problem, due to apologised microphones and confined proximities, in theatre it is essential that ones voice is projected enough for every single member of the audience to be able to hear what is being said and therefore we must learn to project our voices to the back of an auditorium. Projection is crucial even if the character is meant to be whispering in a scene and therefore we, as actors, must learn to use our diaphragms to push the sound out with force and use a ‘stage whisper’ which essentially uses the breathy quality of voice while still keeping a high volume. Timbre is the tone or sound quality of someone’s voice, which naturally will differ from person to person and thus the type of sound created should be altered depending on the character but also on the emotions they are feeling and situation. For example, if someone was playing a snooty character they might use a nasal speech quality where most of the resonance is in their nose and face rather than throat. Another area is articulation which is basically how well one pronounces words and uses diction, while primarily it is important that an actors articulation is perfect and well clipped, so the audience can understand their every word, it may be that it is a character choice to deliberately poor diction and slurred words to portray drunkness, or another character trait? Pace is another’s important area which we recapped, as the speed at which an actor delivers their lines can not only tell a lot about a character but is crucial to get a balance so that the audience can still understand what is being said. Pace can also be affected by the amount of pauses left between words in the sentence as well as the actual elongation of words. All of these speech qualities can be played around with and used in different combinations to create different voice types and can actual be used to help support each other, for example if as an actor you had to use a quieter volume, you would also have to increase the level of articulation and clarity so that the sound will carray and still can heard by the audience.

  • Accents, Dialect – influences the writing
  • Lou’s idea on talking to a terrorist “One mans Terrorist is another mans freedom fighter”
  • Unison speech – Midsummers
  • Presenters linking the acts in the play – would have to have good clarity and varied tune to voice
  • Disney example of different princesses changing and using the voice and showing their characters – old fashioned princess Disney character had high pitched voices, and now the modern


  • Different scenes
  • Big play – problems around fairness and distribution of parts
  • Talked about last years show – character research wasn’t strong enough, Elliott was an actor and didn’t get to showcase his skills, conflict between company
  • Related to the industry and how this is the reality of acting and taking the work you get given

Stereotypical character voice game

We had to pick a stereotype out of the hat and then enter the circle as this character as if we were entering the wrong room by accident, whilst particularly focusing on the voices used. The other members of the class then had to guess what the character stereotype we were playing was, and how we managed to portray this using our voices.

Round 1

Hannah – gangster 1930s

Hannah used a low pitch, with slightly muffled articulation and an American accent. It was clear from the type of language she used that she was playing a gangster.

Josh – middle aged posh lady with handbag

Lou – airhead – reworked

Daytona – outragesly camp

Leah – fortune teller

Jack – archeology professor

Beth – emo – no tune, monotone, gaps and pauses, slow pace

James – sailor – language choice of words, gravelly accent, loud dynamic

Harry – Robin Hood – language choice – confident voice, storybook like with varied tube, softer when addressing female

Round 2

Daytona – moody teenager, low pitch, elongated vowels

Hannah – American accent? I would have been picked a northern English accent. Reworked it using a jolly voice, varied tune, upbeat

Jack – ‘I’m not 10 anymore’ – giggly, singsong, looked around apologetically

Emma – 6 year old ballet – esstry accent? Didn’t work? Should have used higher airy voice

James – young and in love – “I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it’

Lou – old nanny – language used, crackly, high, nasal,

Leah – old rock star – raspy, referencing to drugs,

Harry – 6th form boffin, stuttering, awkward, stops and starts

Josh – trendy art critic – low, clipped, volume was quiet and

Beth – super organised PA – speedy pace, no time to breath, higher voice, articulate


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