Actors from CHC’s drama ministry attend a voice workshop conducted by renowned arts practitioner, Verena Tay.
|CN PHOTO: Gary Sim|
The CHC Drama Ministry is always looking for avenues and opportunities for its actors and crew to improve their skills. In recent years, they have engaged the help of professionals to train the actors in various skill sets, including improvisation and acting for screen, among others. In August 2010, theater writer, performer and voice and speech facilitator, Verena Tay, was invited to conduct a workshop to help the actors harness the full potential of their voices.
Carol Marsh, who has been in the drama ministry for four years, said, “I hope this workshop will teach me the correct techniques to project my voice and how to adjust my voice level when I’m on stage. I want to be able to deliver my voice in the most optimal way that can best portray the role I’m playing.”
The 12-hour workshop, aptly called The Vocally Savvy Performer, is spread across four sessions from August to September, dealing with biological, technical and practical aspects of voice usage.
According to DM director, Sandy Yeo, there is the need to address the issue of inconsistency when it comes to an actor’s voice level. As such, the purpose of the workshop was to help the DM actors develop effective voice projection techniques.
The first session on Aug. 22 saw close to 20 actors at the workshop. It opened with an informal self-introduction session where the ministry members learned more about Tay’s theatrical background and vice versa.
Tay then touched on the science of voice and speech and explained its relation to the human anatomy. She then led the participants in a series of exercises to help them increase in the awareness of their own standing posture and breathing methods. Exclamations of surprise could be heard when a few of the participants found themselves instantly “taller” as they achieved a correct posture.
Commented Lau Ber Nard, “After the [posture] correction exercise, it was as if breathing in was more ‘effortless.’ [Learning to stand] up straight also released a lot of tension from my back.”
Shawn Wong, who has been involved in CHC’s drama productions for the past eight years, added, “The vocal workshop is not only useful for me as an actor, but also for my personal life. I’ve learned that alignment and relaxation should be the way to go about balancing our lives, just as we align our posture and relax our body for optimal vocal production.”
In the remaining sessions, Tay will expound on the techniques of actual voice usage, including projection and articulation.