VASTA & Experiencing Accents

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks in Orlando and NYC for voice and speech-related events. The Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) held its annual conference in Orlando in early August, and I co-presented with KTS Teacher Jeremy Sortore a workshop on Knight-Thompson Speechwork’s approach of using oral or vocal tract posture in learning an accent. We found some arbitrary oral postures through gurning and then used some vowel sounds to find our way into the postures of accents that exist in the world. It was great fun, and I always enjoy teaching with Jeremy.

After the VASTA conference, I traveled to New York city to help facilitate the KTS workshop, Experiencing Accents, with KTS Co-Founder Phil Thompson. Experiencing Accents is a six-day workshop on the skills of accent acquisition (including oral posture!), and we had a wonderful group of participants who dove head-first into an empathetic way of listening to and analyzing different accents. Here is a photo of us gurning on the last day of the workshop:


King Charles III

The last mainstage show of the 2019 Colorado Shakespeare Festival season starts performances tomorrow.

KING CHARLES III, a “future history play” by Mike Bartlett and directed by Kevin Rich, imagines what might happen when Queen Elizabeth II passes away and Prince Charles finally inherits the throne of England. It’s a modern-day Shakespearean play, written in iambic pentameter and including allusions to several of Shakespeare’s own plays. And there are accents!

Performances run July 19th through August 11th at the University Theatre on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus. You can find more info and tickets here.


As You Like It

I’m spending much of the summer in Boulder, CO, as a Voice/Text/Dialect coach for the indoor shows at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. It’s been a delight to spend my time working on Shakespeare’s language with a lovely group of artists and also exploring the mountains around Boulder.

The first indoor show of the season, AS YOU LIKE IT directed and adapted by Carolyn Howarth, starts performances tonight. It’s a beautiful production with original songs by Sam Misner (of Misner and Smith) that will stay with you long after the show. Performances run through August 10th at the University Theatre (on the University of CO, Boulder, campus). Tickets and more information here.


Inside Edition and Elizabeth Holmes

I had the opportunity to be on the TV show Inside Edition this week. They did a segment on Elizabeth Holmes’ voice, and I talked a bit about why and how I thought she might have altered her voice. I also patterned her voice a bit and got to work with a friend of mine, White Horse Theater Company Managing Director Vanessa Bombardieri, on finding easier access to her lower pitch range. It was a great experience, and you can watch the segment here.


If We Were Birds

My latest project started performances last week at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre in Storrs, CT. IF WE WERE BIRDS by Erin Shields and directed by Helene Kvale is a re-telling of the story of Procne and Philomela, two sisters and princesses of Athens. After Procne is married to Tereus of Thrace, he captures and assaults Philomela. After taking revenge on Tereus, the sisters and he are transformed by the gods into birds. This telling of the story threads in tales of modern-day women who were assaulted in contemporary wars and genocides. It’s both beautiful and harrowing. Performances run through Sunday, April 7th. Tickets and more info can be found here.


Experiencing Accents #12

Knight-Thompson Speechwork Co-Founder Phil Thompson and I will be offering the KTS workshop, Experiencing Accents, in NYC August 8th-15th, and registration is open!

Experiencing Accents is a six-day workshop (August 10th & 11th will be days off) in the skills of accent acquisition, including vocal tract posture, prosody, and the use of narrow transcription to describe characteristic sounds. We will cover a couple of sample accents as a group, and each participant will prepare their own accent research to present to the group by the end of the workshop.

Join us! More information is available on my Workshops page and on the Knight-Thompson Speechwork website.


The Mystery of Edwin Drood

My latest project started performances on Thursday, February 28th, at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre in Storrs, CT. THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD by Rupert Holmes and directed by Paul Mullins runs through Sunday, March 10th. It’s a delightfully light-hearted whodunnit musical based on Charles Dickens’ last, unfinished novel. What was his intention for the character of Edwin Drood? Was he in fact murdered? And who did it? You, the audience, gets to decide based on clues dropped throughout the night. Tickets and more info available here.


Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood

My next project starts previews at the Cleveland Play House tonight. The play is Ken Ludwig’s Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood, and it’s directed by Adam Immerwahr. It’s a light-hearted, action-packed telling of the myth with loads of accents - including accents of Nottinghamshire. The cast is wonderful, and the design is lush. If you’re near Cleveland, don’t miss it! Performances run through February 24th. More info and tickets are available here.


Experiencing Speech

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of co-teaching Experiencing Speech, the introductory Knight-Thompson Speechwork workshop, in NYC with fellow Certified KTS Teacher Eliza Simpson. We had a wonderful group of actors, teachers, coaches, and otherwise interested folks in the 6-day workshop. In a manner that mirrors language acquisition in humans, we covered anatomy, the physical actions of speech, every speech sound observed in every human language, descriptive phonetics, and the skills of adjusting linguistic detail in speech - all the while being experiential, playful, and rigorous in our exploration.

Here is some of the group at the end of our last day:


And here we are gurning:


And here’s a photo of Eliza and me after we took a journey through the empty consonant chart:


A Civil War Christmas

My next project is A Civil War Christmas by Paula Vogel and directed by Elizabeth VanDyke at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre in Storrs, CT. The play takes place on Christmas Eve, 1864, and follows the lives of many historical figures - and some invented - over the course of that one day. There are many different characters, and, as such, many different voices in the play - from Abraham Lincoln to John Wilkes Booth to Elizabeth Keckley to James Wormley.

Performances run November 29th through December 9th. Tickets and more info here.



I coached two shows that opened last week.

The first is GOOD CHILDREN by Tracy Thorne and directed by Michael Bradford at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre. It’s a new play that takes place in a world where language is dangerous and secrets abound. People disappear, and no one can do anything about it. The production runs through November 4th, and more information is here.

The second is CHARLEY’S AUNT by Brandon Thomas and directed by Joseph Discher at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. It’s a beautiful production of this rarely produced British farce - and the upper-crust RP accents contribute greatly to the hilarity! It runs through November 18th, and more information is here.


On October 22nd at 4pm EDT, I’m co-facilitating a free Knight-Thompson Speechwork webinar with Andrea Caban. It’s a webinar for female-identifying members of the voice, speech, and accent world - a webinar to give us space to talk about our collective experiences operating in a male-dominated profession.

You can find more information under the Workshops tab on this website and on the Knight-Thompson Speechwork website.

Join us!


Free Introduction to Knight-Thompson Speechwork

On August 28th at 3pm, I am hosting a free Introduction to Knight-Thompson Speechwork as part of KTS's monthly webinar series.

If you’re curious about KTS, have had a taste of the work and want more, or want to refresh your relationship to it, please join us. I will outline some fundamental principles (perhaps) of this approach to speech and accent training and will lead participants through some introductory exploration of the physical actions of speech sounds. There will be time for questions and answers.

You can register for FREE here.


Long Lost John: A Lennon Family Story

Long Lost John: A Lennon Family Story written and directed by Ed Zareh opened last night as part of the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival. The play tells a story of John Lennon's early life, exploring his relationship with his mother, Julia, and follows him through his first encounters with Paul McCartney. I coached the Liverpool accents and had a great time! There are two more performances: August 6th at 8:30pm and August 11th at 1:30pm. All performances are at the Theater at the 14th Street YMCA in NYC.



The Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford & the O'Neill

I'm spending a few days a week in CT this summer to teach voice at both the Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford and at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. It's my first year teaching at SA@S, where an ensemble of actors rehearse two Shakespeare plays simultaneously while receiving masterclasses from visiting artists. This year, the ensemble will perform PERICLES and ROMEO AND JULIET in rep on the grounds of the historic American Shakespeare Festival Theater.

It's my fifth summer teaching in the Theatermakers program at the O'Neill. Summers at the O'Neill are always transformative for me and for the student artists there. Every Monday night, the Theatermakers perform for the local community. I'm excited to be in residence for their next performance of original radio plays.

Summer is good in CT!



Yesterday, I taught in Catherine Fitzmaurice's 6-day workshop in NYC. Each day of this workshop focuses on a different aspect of Fitzmaurice Voicework: destructuring, restructuring, movement, speech, text, and singing. Yesterday was Speech Day. We did some quintessential Knight-Thompson Speechwork play, moving from a physical exploration of the vocal tract to articular isolations to gurning to Omnish. It was a great group!


The Wolves

Tomorrow The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe opens at the Penn State Downtown Theatre. I directed this production and had the honor of working with several student and faculty designers on the creative team. The cast of student actors is doing detailed and precise work. I'm really proud of the production (and delighted to have unearthed my high school soccer skills in the process). Performances are March 27th and 29th at 7:30pm and March 31st at 2pm. More info and tickets here.