ANNEMETTE VERSPEAK over the last twenty years has worked extensively in British Theatre and television, including productions at the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House. Influenced by the work of Cicely Berry and Patsy Rodenburg, Annemette holds a BA in Linguistics from Copenhagen, an MA in Voice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and an ILM Cert 7 in Leadership and Life Coaching. Now she has chosen to bring her years of knowledge and wisdom to the rest of the world.
Professional work includes: Godspell (Questor's theatre), Zam Zam Room (BAC 2002, Ronnie Scotts 2003), Vote Dizzy (Soho Theatre, 2004), The Soldier's Tale (Royal Opera House 2004 and 2005), Animating the Animators (Puppet Centre Trust in London, Manchester and Birmingham), By the Bog of Cats (Wyndham Theatre, 2005), Daisy Miller (Richmond Theatre, work with Scarlet Johnson), 5/11 (Danish dialect, Chichester Festival Theatre,2006), The History Boys (National Theatre, 2005, 2006 and Wyndham Theatre, 2007), The Coram Boy (National Theatre, 2005 and 2006), Pinocchio (The Royal Opera House, 2005 and 2007), Orestes (Shared Experience, 2006), Caroline, or Change (National Theatre, 2006), Ramayana (Lyric Hammersmith, 2007), Time Code (Royal Opera House, 2007), Emmanuel Jal (Sudanese political rapper, 2007), Louis Franck of Aesthetic Education (Russian rock band, 2007-12), Give us a Hand (Little Angel Theatre, 2007), Fairy Tales; Billy Goats Gruff (singing coach, Hattrick Production for BBC1, 2007), Tony Fabian (director, Elysian Films, 2007), The Vegemite Tales (The Venue Theatre, 2007), Our House (Birmingham Rep Theatre, 2008), Romeo and Juliet (dir. Kate Saxon, 2009), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Shared Experience, 2009), Bronte (Shared Experience, 2010), Work with Nick Provost for his role in My Fair Lady (2010), The Miser (The Watermill, 2013), Voice Director for Google's Voice Search/Home (SIDE.COM, 2013-ongoing), The Roaring Girl (Royal Shakespeare Company, 2014), Arden of Faversham (Royal Shakespeare Company, 2014), History Boys National Tour (2015), Eastenders (BBC, young cast), Poetry and the Feminine Heart (Finland), Star Wars: Rogue One, Jekyll and Hyde, National tour (dir. Kate Saxon), Much Ado about Nothing (Watford Palace, 2018).
In September 2007 she undertook a one month long project with women in Kabul, Afghanistan, called Finding Your Voice. This project was later translated into a piece of theatre directed by Dinah Stabb for Reel Afghanistan, an Afghan festival in Edinburgh early 2008.
British theatre training has always been held in high regard and has produced some of the most in-demand and popular actors of our times. Demand for graduates of British acting programs continues to grow and for good reason. The training these actors receive is based on fundamental craft work and a thorough approach to understanding, interpreting, and expressing a text. These techniques, while based on centuries of tradition, give modern actors the ability to engage with any type of text in any type of media, be it live or recorded.
As the Head of Voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Annemette Verspeak is well-positioned to deliver this training.
Over the last twenty years, Annemette has worked extensively in British Theatre and television, including productions at the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House. Influenced by the work of Cicely Berry and Patsy Rodenburg, Annemette holds a BA in Linguistics from Copenhagen, an MA in Voice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and an ILM Cert 7 in Leadership and Life Coaching. Now she has chosen to bring her years of knowledge and wisdom to the rest of the world.
The work of an actor is as physically rigorous as that of an athlete. It is also as sensitive and precise as that of a surgeon. Therefore, the natural state of the actor is one of intense muscular readiness to use his or her instrument and an acute mental and imaginative focus. Both these qualities are essential to serve the story that is being told through language, body and voice.
On this programme we will break down the elements that constitute that state and how to approach a text in order to honour the writer's vision. We will do this through developing our understanding and abilities in three key areas: Release, Focus, and Text.
When we look at Release, we will examine the patterns of tension in our bodies which limit free expression. Tension around the spine, for example, obstructs the free flow of breath. This in turn impacts the voice’s ability to be free and expressive. There are many other habitual tensions such as this affecting actors today. All though, ultimately come from a lack of trust or confidence in oneself. Together we will learn to identify and then Release them, leaving us free to truly engage with the task at hand.
We will also examine our Focus: how to become agile in the muscularity of your instrument. For the voice to release the language of a text, the breath must be expansive and able to match the thought. We will learn how to enable the body and mind to join each other in a complete state of readiness.
The third stage in our journey together will be to investigate the Text. Whether a play or a poem, each text possesses its own rhythm, its own specific use of language in terms of length of thought, imagery, musicality. The actor must not only be acquainted with these in order to fulfill the intention of the writer; the actor must embody these discoveries to give the audience an experience that is both specific, human and inspirational.
Across the week we will make a journey that will teach the rigour needed in voice work. The presence required in body and mind. The connection, to one’s self and to the other actors in an ensemble. The specificity of language, and how to ignite the imagination of the audience.
Through a mix of group work and individual coaching, you will learn how to warm up your body and your voice, which areas are important for you specifically to work on, and which parts of your body prevent you from being fully present and creative. You will leave the course with many exercises to do on your own as you continue to develop your own potential.
We will work on the vital connection between your own inspiration, the text, and your fellow actors. This work is not, as is often believed, based on psychology or emotions, although those might come to play their own parts in it. Rather it is a series of practical actions and awareness of a state of being that all of us possess deep down in our humanity.
Our work will also investigate various types of text; from Shakespearean scene to modern works. These will be given in advance for the participants to prepare but poems or any text you the actor particularly want to work on can also be discussed in advance or brought in. Together we will explore the different approaches to interpretation and performance and from this work you will take away tools that you can then apply to other texts in your own work.
We go to the theatre, to the cinema, even to our own television screens because we want to be moved in some way. To be amused. To be inspired. For our emotions to be invoked. For an actor to do this, he or she must work from the highest place of diligence and emotional understanding. This is a mindful and muscular journey which when done successfully offers the actor immense satisfaction. This course will give you the insight and experience of voice and text work that will take you there.