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November 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to the autumn newsletter this year. As we celebrate the centenary since the Great War ended it raises the issue of memory and remembrance. ‘Lest we forget’ is the phrase we hear spoken to commemorate the soldiers and as a warning for us to never allow the atrocities of war to happen again. However how is our memory? Do we take the time to stop and ‘remember’ in our busy lives? Not only the horrors of the past but memories in our lives that have shaped us to who we are today. I feel there’s a tremendous short-sightedness among us humans as we so often focus on the immediate things and forget to learn and take stock of experiences to prevent future issues; being reactionary instead of planning and preparing. Some may be feeling despair at the perceived chaos that could ensue with the political agenda as it stands however it’s probably better to stay positive. I find it is in these times that I have to put things into perspective and look gratefully at the things that matter to me. Being grateful is something that I’ve learnt reaps more rewards.

As a voice practitioner I express the need for words to enhance communication regularly. Patsy Rodenburg has a book named accordingly; ‘The Need for Words’.

It’s her sequel to The Right to Speak. Here she says:

“We are all eloquent, or dream of being eloquent. We all need words and on those occasions when we need them most we best express our meaning. Language fully expressed makes us feel joyous, liberated and strong”.

Speaking is the best way to fully articulate your thoughts and feelings to the recipient; our internal world meeting the external world through the channel of the voice. We use language to create that message; the more colourful, the more vivid the experience can be. We must keep talking to make sense of things. Especially as we approach Christmas where loneliness and human contact is so important and scarily lacking in many people’s lives we must keep those channels of discourse open! Speaking and keeping connected is our human need. Without human interaction we deteriorate. The children’s story The Velveteen Rabbit expresses beautifully what it means to be human, true to yourself or ‘real’ as the story goes in this extract:

The Velveteen Rabbit by By Margery Williams

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

What news!

  • Facebook Page – Please remember to keep connected with this page.

  • The winter promotion will start in December, dates to be announced. A great opportunity to get 5 hourly 121 lessons for £260 or 10 for £500.

  • I’m back at the RSC working with the cast of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the Royal in Stratford upon Avon.

  • At half term I was asked to lead a Voice and Text workshop on Romeo & Juliet and Troilus and Cressida for the Royal Shakespeare Company Education department.

  • Stagebox Management booms. I now coach a big group of child stars who perform regularly in West End musicals and in films.

  • It’s been another busy year this year with my freelance business becoming close to full up. Don’t worry I will always make time for you.

  • In the summer on a baking hot day I played Miss Appleyard in Miss Appleyard’s Awakening for the International Women’s Festival in conjunction with Prospect Players.

Tip of the month…

Read out loud! It may sound remarkably simple but reading aloud puts your voice in action. It’s good practice to release a word into space to see how it travels. Some texts are written to be delivered orally. It’s only then that you can appreciate and perhaps discover the rhythm, flow, melody and subtleties of the phrasing. When we speak a text we are exercising our voice. If you are brave enough to record yourself and play back then you may be able to hear how rich your voice could be. What we really want is to focus on the content that is being delivered, not the distractions of a hindered voice. Do you need to learn to love the sound of your voice? Release your voice, let the words reach us!

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