Barbara Houseman: Tackling Text and Finding Your Voice (books for actors)

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Having helped the actor with basic vocal technique in her enormously successful book, Finding Your Voice, Barbara Houseman here shows the actor how to cope with the demands posed by the text [and the subtext] of the play itself. Full of practical exercises developed over many years of working with actors of all ages and experiences, Tackling Text [and subtext] is an indispensable handbook for any actor working with text – from acting students and young professionals, to experienced actors wanting to tackle specific problems and acting coaches wanting to discover new ways of enabling their students.

Barbara Houseman’s career as a voice and acting coach and theatre director spans nearly forty years. She trained as a voice teacher at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and as a theatre director at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.  She won an Arts Council director’s bursary and assisted Mike Alfreds before working professionally as a director and voice coach. 

Having worked alongside Cicely Berry in the Voice Department at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Tim Supple invited her to become Associate Director at The Young Vic. On leaving she wrote ‘Finding Your Voice’ and ‘Tackling Text’.  

Since then she has worked extensively as a voice and text coach in the West End including shows including The Ferryman, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Equus (The Gielgud); Kenneth Branagh Season (The Garrick); the All Female Trilogy, Trelawney of the Wells, Coriolanus, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, St Joan (The Donmar); Dr Faustus (Duke of Yorks); Macbeth and Richard III (Trafalgar Studios); Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Sweet Bird of Youth, Duchess of Malfi, Playboy of the Western World (The Old Vic).

She’s been resident voice and text coach at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park since 2009 and was Season Associate Director since 2012.

Individual clients include Jane Asher, Kenneth Branagh, Jessie Buckley, Omid Djalili, Dynamo, Richard Fairbrass, Jerry Hall, Lenny Henry, Nicholas Hoult, Karl Hyde, Patrick Kielty, Jude Law, Clive Owen, Daniel Radcliffe, Scarlett Strallen, Will Young.

Barbara is visiting professor at the University of Tennessee and the University of Connecticut. She works as a voice over artist and coaches journalists who narrate their own documentaries, as well as coaching non-actors and individuals wishing to improve their communication skills. Barbara is a fully qualified Healing-Shiatsu Practitioner, an NLP Master Practitioner and a certified Clean Language Coach.

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