Articles & Essays

Ann J. Cahill & Christine Hamel

To celebrate World Voice Day - 16th April 2020 - Voice and Speech Review are giving free access to this article on Kristin's work for the rest of 2020. (2019: 13, 2 pp. 130-151).


This article inaugurates a conversation between the fields of voice training and contemporary feminist theories of the body. The article begins with a consideration of the development of Kristin Linklater’s highly influential work Freeing the Natural Voice, and the significant advancements it represented in the field of voice. The article proceeds to a description of the field of contemporary feminist theories of the body, highlighting those insights and developments that either resonate most clearly with Linklater’s work or represent promising avenues for the next evolution of voice training. Those theories not only share Linklater’s rejection of Western dualism but also cast doubt on any references to the natural (i.e. pre-political) body, including references to the natural voice. The article then argues that such evolution should take up more directly the relationality of the voice (what the article terms “intervocality”), an understanding of the body as ineluctably embedded within social and political dynamics, and a recognition of the profound influence of structural inequality on both vocality in general and vocal training in particular. The article concludes by gesturing toward a model of vocal generosity that may provide a framework for that next evolution.

Access full article HERE

Kristin Linklater

(Keynote speech given at the 2019 PEVoC meeting in Copenhagen, 28th August)

My reputation as a voice teacher rests on the fact that I teach from a solid methodology that delivers an organically logical progression of exercises addressing each of three general areas of what comprises the two to three octaves of the speaking voice. By ‘each general area’ I mean the musculature of the voice, the resonators of the voice and the articulation of the voice into words. These areas break down into many large and small fields of consciousness and reconstitute as one integrated whole.

We wouldn’t have to have conferences such as this if it were simple to describe how the voice works - how we make the raw vocal material that either speaks or sings. I am here to contribute my version of the process and to listen to other versions. I doubt if I will contribute any new knowledge but sometimes a rearrangement of the vocabulary can shed new light on a familiar subject.

Kristin Linklater

What does “the breath of life” mean?

As you breathe out you are already preparing for new breath coming in. And yet you don’t have to do anything about it  -  breath comes in and nano-moment by nano-moment you are propelled forward to the next momentary new phase of your life.  On a larger scale you may be breathing in the air of a new job, or travel, or a well-deserved vacation. Or, metaphorically, in life terms, you may be breathing out very, very slowly, letting go slowly because you have no idea where the next breath is coming from.

Kristin Linklater

(presented November 2018 at the Shanghai Theatre Academy International Conference: INHERITANCE OF ACTING TECHNIQUES AND THEIR INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENTS)


As a lifelong practitioner of voice training for actors, I write from my own practical experience and interest. I am not an academic and will not be adhering to academic requirements for this paper. Thus - there will be no footnotes or references. I present to you some of the ideas and perspectives that interest me as a teacher and passionate theatre lover. These are personal points of view emerging from sixty years spent in drama schools training young actors, in studios coaching successful, experienced, professional film and stage actors, at the side of directors directing everything from classical to experimental theatre, as an actor playing many of Shakespeare’s women and some of his men, directing Shakespeare and the Greeks myself and running workshops in many different countries and languages.