Voice I

The details
East 15 Acting School
East15 (Loughton) Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
31 March 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA W411 Acting,
BA W83A Acting (International),
BA W441 Acting and Contemporary Theatre

Module description

Voices and Choices
Students will begin to understand the separation of the 'developed' or 'habitual' voice from the 'potential' voice. This leads into work on articulation and an examination of the vocal equipment. Phonetics as well as the International Phonetic Alphabet will be used as a marker to compare the students' home accents to clear performance speech. A Standard English accent (sometimes referred to as neutral (or New) Standard English Accent: NSEA) will be used as a teaching frame work and learning tool for developing greater skill and understanding of speech sound formation and the International Phonetic Alphabet both 'neutral' and character-based accent and as the beginnings of dialect exploration. You will develop articulation alongside phonetics and extend the building blocks of NSEA , using set phrases and sentences as both mnemonics and assessment tools. This work is not in any way intended as a replacement for students' indigenous accents – unless required for the performance of a character or text. You will speak text in both, your home accents and in NSEA. We will work on finding a good balance between your own accents and NSEA so that you can view your accent as a spectrum according to socio-cultural context.

Body & Breath
You will begin by exploring the relationship between posture, breath and voice with a practical focus on understanding and releasing the accumulation of habitual tensions in the body, moving into developing spine and rib flexibility and discovery of the centred impulse for breath and sound support. In the second term you will work on developing greater rib flexibility, abdominal and pelvic release and will learn to identify the use of a free throat. Exercises will be used to connect breath to voice while developing abdominal support and increase of energy without increasing tension/aggression. By the end of the module you will have developed a cohesive working attitude to warming up and stretching the voice.

Exploratory Voice
Students will explore issues of resonance and resonant placement through a variety of approaches. You will begin to apply exercises to voice work to stretch the voice beyond confines of the habitual, and to explore and develop the musicality of expressive language through pitch range, resonant balance, pace, volume, rhythm and cadence. In Term Three you will add range to their understanding of resonance and emotional pitch through the application of more complex theories and techniques to voice work.

Text Work
Beginning with an 'I' text/poem spoken in your home accent and moving into the use of rhythmic text, you will be introduced to textual issues such as phrase, sentence structure, use of words and imagery. As the course progresses, you will study sonnets with the aim of bringing practical work to rich texts, exploring the expression of passion through the use of released and energised body, voice, language and articulation. You will consider the connections between breath and thought, rhythm and emotion, word energy and articulation. In the second term of the course you will connect text work with technical and practical work through the choice and performance of Political Speeches, demonstrating flexibility and manipulation of the voice for deliberate emotional effect. You will use your home accent as part of the passionate identity and authenticity and creative inner voice to pursuade your audience. Here you will explore what is needed to make your home accent clear and intelligible by using elements of NSEA, e.g. word endings, clusters of consonants etc. In articulation the focus will be on Narrative texts. In the third term you will do scene work on Shakespearean and Jacobean texts to prepare you for the demands of the second year and to include working with vocal response to your scene partner. It also challenges your stamina to maintain good vocal skills yet creative spontaneity through the length of a scene.

Module aims

Module Aims:

1. To develop students experience of their own voice beyond the imposed limits of linguistic expression
2. To connect imagination, emotion, sound and breath
3. To explore the inter-relationships of sound and feeling
4. To explore the actor’s connection to the audience through voice and language
5. To develop NSEA as a basis for further accent work and for clear performance speech
6. To find a good balance between the students’ home accents and NSEA
7. To enable the student to view their own accent as a spectrum according to their socio-cultural background
8. To celebrate authenticity on the one hand and to enable transformation on the other
9. To connect text work with practical voice in order to develop flexibility and manipulation of voice for deliberate emotional effect.

Module learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the module you will be able to demonstrate consistent use of:
1. Physical awareness and breath
2. Breathing and voice
3. Resonance and range
4. Technical application
5. Warming up
6. Articulation
7. NSEA versus home accents
8. To explore what clear performance speech is
9. Openness to process
10. Emotional connection.
11. Connection to text and its structure and rhetorical devices and form

Module information

Module Content:

Term One:

1. The anatomy of voice and speech in relation to individual's own bodies
2. Use of physical release, flexibility and good alignment
3. Centred impulse and abdominal support for breath and sound
4. Constricted and free throat
5. Muscularity and resonance in articulated sound
6. The habitual voice and the potential voice
7. Maintaining technical focus during performance
8. Connecting breath to thought and thought to language
9. Exercises for vocal development
10. Exploring the voice freely
11. Connecting to an audience through voice and language
12. Recognising and writing NSEA and IPA
13. Anatomy of articulation & placement of consonants within the mouth.
14. Study of Sonnets

Term Two:

1. Further resonant possibilities in the voice
2. Development of full pitch and resonant range
3. Specific vocal choices
4. NSEA as a workable accent and a basis for clear performance speech in comparison to your home accent
5. Stretching the voice beyond the limits of habit voice
6. Application of physical release and good alignment
7. Specific areas for developing personal vocal production
8. Identification of centred impulse and abdominal support for breath and sound
9. Identifying a free and a constricted throat
10. Development of muscularity and resonance.
11. Maintenance of technical focus during performance
12. Connecting breath to thought and thought to language
13. Political speech – sentence construction, rhetorical devices, antithesis, climax
14. Performance of Political speeches in the students' home accents to celebrate authenticity and passionate speech

Term Three:

29. Study of Shakespeare scenes and their rhetorical devices, figures of speech, rhythm and form
30. Laban theories and techniques
31. Preparation to integrate voice into acting scenes on Shakespearean and /or Jacobean texts
32. Narrative texts are explored for their various textual demands
33. Further study of NSEA and clear performance speech.

Learning and teaching methods

Learning and Teaching Methods: Students work with voice tutors in practical classes Learning also takes place in lectures and tutorials, workshops, presentations and performances. Formative verbal feedback from tutors in classes. Written reports with tutor comments and an indicative grade at the end of Terms One and Two.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Practical   Term One: Warm up, Omnish and Signature Sounds of NSEA vs Your Accent     40% 
Practical   Term One: Warm up, I Poem and Sonnet     60% 

Additional coursework information

Assessment: Term 1: - Practical Voice: Students will be assessed on a continuous basis in class. A variety of texts and particularly sonnets will be explored. Progress is assessed on all texts. At the end of the term a summative warm up presentation needs to be shown leading into the performance of the ‘I’ poem and the sonnet. - Articulation: Practical assessment: knowing and performing NSEA and clear performance speech. Term Two : -Practical Voice: Students will be assessed on a continuous basis in class. Warm up presentation and performance of a Political Speech. Term Three: -Practical Voice: Presentation of warm up and performance of Shakespeare scenes -Articulation: Performance: connecting naturally to a new accent through text: reading and performing of narrative texts. Connection to text and clarity of NSEA consonants and resonance of NSEA vowels sounds are assessed. • Formative assessment in Terms One and Two. The module will be continuously assessed and a final summative mark awarded at the end of Term Three. • Practical Voice is weighted 60% and Articulation is weighted 40% in the final module mark. • Compliance with Professional Code of Conduct

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Ms Christina Gutekunst, email: cgutek@essex.ac.uk.
Christina Gutekunst and staff
East 15 Acting School Hatfields Campus Rectory Lane Loughton, IG10 3RY



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
East 15 Acting School

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