Human beings communicate through language. As actors, we must be able to express ourselves clearly and audibly, while meeting the demands of different characters, texts, and spaces. This requires conscious and dedicated cultivation of skills that are not required in everyday life. This is true of work on stage and in front of a camera. The voice and the breath are directly connected to the actor’s emotional and imaginative life. When an actor’s breath or voice is constrained or compromised, her acting will be, too. By working to free the voice, we also free the emotional life and the imagination.
Human beings are designed to use their voices in a perfectly synchronized, easeful way. This sort of use is quite natural to babies and very young children, who never strain their voices, and have no trouble producing very large sounds. Fitzmaurice work, essentially, allows us to recover the natural use of the voice that we have forgotten or relinquished.
We all have habitual patterns of holding in the body. Fitzmaurice work makes use of poses and exercises drawn from yoga, Shiatsu, and other modalities in order to release these tensions and find greater movement and flow in the body and breath, integrating voice work with the whole of the actor’s instrument.
From this place of freedom and flow, the work teaches a rigorous and specific physical understanding of proper support, combined with a particular set of insights into how we use our voices to affect others.
I am a certified teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. It is by no means the only approach I use in my teaching -- I also make liberal use of the techniques, philosophy & exercises of Cicely Berry and Patsy Rodenburg -- but it is the most rapid, effective, and holistic approach I know of for effecting fundamental change in an actor’s use of his or her instrument.
why is voice work essential for the actor?
Anyone who uses their voice professionally--broadcasters, teachers, lawyers, business executives, politicians and others--often need to call on their voices to be especially strong, expressive, tireless or deeply connected. There is no great mystery about how the voice works, but bad habits often get in the way of its optimal functioning, and over the years a lot of these habits become deeply ingrained. With some work, however, it is remarkable how rapidly one can make progress in freeing up and strengthening his or her voice. With a little understanding, some skillful guidance, and a bit of consistent effort, radical transformation is not only likely, it is unavoidable!
Who else can benefit from voice work?
A bit about Fitzmaurice Voicework®