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Voicing Shakespeare


A three year research project, 2013/2016, resulting in a designated website, articles and in house publications, with associated events scheduled during the research process.

RBC Project Directors: Professor Nesta Jones, Director of Research; Tess Dignan MA, Voice Co-ordinator; and Professor Emeritus Simon Trussler.

Other RBC Staff, Alumni, Fellows and Associate Researchers will be involved during the research period.

 Why and how should Shakespeare’s language be kept alive in the 21st Century?

The perspective will be culturally specific in relation to the playwright’s roots and development, with an examination of its routes into intercultural and multicultural manifestations. Thus consideration will be given to the ‘many voices’ that find value in speaking Shakespeare.

The research covers the period that celebrates the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and commemorates the 400th anniversary of his death, in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

The research will focus on three areas

Education: selected local and regional schools, and FE colleges;

Training: institutions and organisations involved in or supporting training;

Profession: voice coaches, actors, directors, designers, companies, and venues.

 The research is structured in three phases

 2013/14: mapping and creating the agenda internally and externally; defining and breaking ‘the rules’; building a bibliography of published material in a variety of forms; sourcing and applying for external funding; establishing a twenty-first century practice as research Shakespeare laboratory at RBC; and initial design of the Shake21 website.

2014/15: firming partnerships nationally and internationally; recording and transcribing interviews; establishing an online laboratory; holding research seminars and masterclasses; disseminating material at the RBC annual symposium; finalising Shake21 website design; and preparing publications, 2014/15.

2015/16: Shake21 website live; publications in progress; and dissemination at RBC’s annual symposium including an international conference, 2015/16.

Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance has a rich heritage in verse and poetry speaking through the legacy of Rose Bruford, who founded the College in 1950.

Personnel associated with the project include: Cicely Berry CBE, Royal Shakespeare Company Director of Voice and Text and Patron of the Rose Bruford Centre for Voice and Speech; Sally Grace, RBC Visiting Professor and former Head of Voice; Stephen Boxer, Ray Fearon, Greg Hicks, and Joseph Millson, all RSC Associate Artists, and RBC alumni and Fellows; Yvonne Brewster OBE founder and former artistic director of Talawa Theatre, and Ben Thomas actor with and former artistic director of Talawa Theatre, both RBC alumni and Fellows; David Tse Ka-Shing, founder of Yellow Earth Theatre and director of China Space, RBC alumnus and Fellow; Andrew Wade, former RSC Head of Voice and RBC alumnus and Fellow; Lyn Darnley, former RSC Head of Voice, Text and Artist Development, and former RBC Head of Voice and Honorary Fellow; Professor James Dodding, RBC alumnus and Fellow; Ron Cook, actor associated with the National Theatre, RSC and Michael Grandage Company, RBC alumnus and Fellow; Richard Mangan, actor and author and RBC alumnus; Simon Callow CBE, actor, director and author, and RBC Honorary Fellow; Catherine Weate, voice coach and author, and former RBC Head of Voice; Struan Leslie, former RSC Head of Movement; Michael Corbidge, RSC Chief Associate for Voice and Text and RBC Practitioner-in-Residence; and others to follow…

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