Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Successful completion of Part 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 1-12
Practical 10 x 3 hour Workshops


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Group Performance and oral examination  50%
Semester Assessment Group Oral Research Presentation/Documentation  50%
Supplementary Assessment Individual Performance and oral examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment Individual Oral Research Presentation/Documentation  50%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of how the voice is produced and how it may be used safely in performance
2. Describe, evaluate and compare a range of techniques which may improve the range, power, and expression of the voice in performance.
3. Demonstrate the ability to apply and synthesise these techniques through performance which is expressive, audible and under control.
4. Demonstrate a range of creative voice skills through practical exercises and performances.
5. Describe and discuss the voice in performance within a cultural, historical and gender context and demonstrate a knowledge of current voice practice and practitioners.


Recent changes in the TFTS curriculum have resulted in a wider range of physically focused practice modules being offered but it has been recognised that the curriculum currently should offer the equivalent opportunity for students to develop very important voice skills which many areas of performance require. In an increasingly competitive field, these communication skills are vital and, for those who expect to work within the industry, an understanding of this area of practice and the ability to use the voice imaginatively and safely is vital. In addition, such skills greatly enhance general employability for graduates wishing to transfer skills acquired in their degree to fields outside of theatre and performance.

The voice within performance is a developing area of research and one in which there are new opportunities for interdisciplinary approaches: for example in the fields of archaelogy, neuroscience, visual arts or ethnomusicology. Students who hope to enter the professional theatre as directors or actors, those who aspire to creating their own performance company, as well as those who hope to study practice at post graduate level, need to have a basic understanding of a range of vocal techniques and to have practised and mastered at least some of those.

A significant number of students from TFTS apply for MA or MFA courses in theatre and performance practice (at institutions elsewhere) following their undergraduate studies here. Such places are limited and it is a very competitive field. Many of these courses can only be accessed via audition and the vocal skills this module aims to develop is absolutely essential if our students are to increase their chances of being offered places on such postgraduate courses.


The lectures and seminars will introduce students to a brief history of voice in performance as well as to the key influences in current voice practice. The voice in performance will be considered within the context of history, culture and gender. The content will be as follows:

1. How the voice is produced; preserving the voice from damage; postural awareness and adjustment; creating a neutral (un-habitual), safe basis for voice work; the influence of F.M Alexander.

2. Developing breathing techniques appropriate for performance work including the connection of breath with emotion and expression through awareness of the psycho-physical basis of performance and particularly the influence of the psyche on voice production; the work of Alfred Wolfsohn, Roy Hart.

3. Resonance and projection; the importance of physical preparation in the work of Zygmunt Molik with Jerzy Grotowski; the concept and practice of vocal 'Life'.

4. The co-ordination of movement, breath and sound in speaking and singing; rhythm; work-songs; performance using the full vocal range. Key practitioners might include: the choreographic vocal work of Meredith Monk; Gardzienice Theatre Association; Theatre Zar; Chorea.

5. Shaping sound: adjusting the muscles of the mouth, throat, lips; the role of vowels and consonants; somatic and experiential understanding and performance of text: Kristin Linklater's methodology.

6. Working on text: imagination and vocal expression; connecting to language; exploring pitch, volume, intonation, inflection, emphasis: examples from Barbara Houseman.

7. The voice and rhythmic structure: working with the demands of verse and the architecture of complex poetic language structures; Cicely Berry and the RSC; David Carey; Patsy Rodenburg; Kristin Linklater.

8. Finding the character's voice; considerations of dialect, accent, age and gender; creating character from voice work. Examples might include performances of Anna Deveare-Smith.

9. Creating performance work focused on the voice; voice in site specific work; landscape and voice; traditional voice techniques in a geographical context e.g. harmonics and overtone singing from Tuva and Mongolia; Georgian table song.

10. Vocal performance work: working with found text; vocal concepts; past and future vocal experiments: examples might include Jean Tardieu, Artaud, Enrique Pardo; Yvon Bonenfant.

Brief description

This level two module will introduce students to current voice practice within the field of theatre and performance and will offer an understanding of: how the vocal mechanism works; how to develop vocal range and flexibility safely; a range of different approaches to voice development as manifest in the work of key practitioners and from a range of cultures from around the world; current trends and areas of research.

Each session will begin with lecture/seminar which will develop an understanding of how the vocal mechanism works as well as introducing and analyzing a range of voice techniques from the work of key practitioners. The lectures/seminars together with reading and research tasks will encourage the students to explore the performer's voice within an historical, cultural and gender context. This will be followed by a two hour class which will introduce practical voice exercises and encourage the evaluation of these techniques when applied to a range of performance material including found texts, play texts, improvised works and songs.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Neither developed nor assessed
Communication The development of communication skills is intrinsic to this module including clear vocal expression and presentation; listening skills; vocal response. The oral presentation requires the student to articulate clearly her/his creative process and vocal ability.
Improving own Learning and Performance Formative feedback from both the tutor and other students will be an essential part of the methodology. Each student will be expected to monitor their own progress and that of their group members.
Information Technology Students are encouraged to use IT where appropriate for example: Use a range of commonly used software packages Prepare and input data Manage storage systems Present information and data Use email/internet appropriately and effectively
Personal Development and Career planning These are not formally taught or assessed within the module but an awareness of the module's learning outcomes and transferable skills to future personal development and career opportunities are referenced and encouraged.
Problem solving When working on the course work tasks and examination projects the students will be expected to negotiate and pursue their goals with others and solve problems as they arise. Students will learn to: Identify problems Identify factors which might influence potential solutions Develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving Evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions Construct a rational proposal in response to a problem
Research skills A range of research skills are necessary to complete the assessment tasks and fulfill the learning outcomes of this module. Students will read in different contexts and for different purposes, and will practice exercises and note their effect. They will communicate the results of their researches.
Subject Specific Skills On successful completion of this module students will develop a range of practical specific voice and communication skills, as well as expressive, imaginative and creative performance skills; their capacity to develop vocal range and power, as well as to understand and communicate how this can be developed in others, will be greatly improved via the learning outcomes. The additional potential to lead basic workshops and have an awareness of safety issues within this field are a further benefit of the outcomes.
Team work The acquisition and development of Team/Group skills are fundamental to the student experience of this module and to the successful presentation of a group examination performance. The students will learn to accept responsibility for determining personal and/or group outcomes.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Armstrong, Frankie and Pearson, Jenny (Edited) (2000) Well Tuned Women London: The Women's Press Primo search Berry, Cecily (1987) The Actor and the Text London: Harrap Primo search Carey, David and Clark Carey, Rebecca (2008) Vocal Arts Workbook and DVD London: Methuen Primo search D'angelo, James (2005) The Healing Power of the Human voice Healing Arts Press Primo search Damasio, A. (1999) The Feeling of What Happens London: William Heinemann Primo search Houseman, Barbara (2002) Finding Your Voice Nick Hern Books Primo search Levitin, Daniel (2008) This is Your Brain on Music Atlantic Books Primo search Liknklater, Kristin (2008) Freeing Shakespeare's Voice Nick Hern Books Primo search Linklater, Kristin (2006) Freeing the Natural Voice Nick Hern Books Primo search Martin, S. and Darnley, L. (1992) The Voice Source Book Bicester, Oxon: Winslow Press Primo search Mills, Joan (2002) 99 Georgian Songs CPR, Black Mountain Press Primo search Pearce, Stewart (2005) The alchemy of Voice Hodder & Stoughton Primo search Rodenburg, Patsy (1993) The Need for Words Methuen Drama Primo search Shewell, Christina (2009) Voice Work: Art and Science in Changing Voices Wiley Blackwell Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5