What’s it like… Voice Coaching?

Published on:
10th June 2024

Iโ€™m Katy, a postgraduate student on the Professional Voice Studies (MFA) course at BOVTS. I’m the Voice and Dialect Coach for Scenes with Girls and Octopus, two productions which are currently playing as part of our Summer Festival at The Wardrobe Theatre (23 May – 22 Jun 2024).

A typical day working on a production can vary hugely! First, I must consider what is required for the play: How do the actors use their voices in the show? Are they performing in different accents? Are there moments of shouting or screaming that need to be executed safely?

Morning: I started my day by watching the first dress rehearsal of Scenes With Girls at The Wardrobe Theatre. There’s a lot to juggle at a dress rehearsal – as well as being in the performance space in their full costumes and using props, the actors are also interacting with the show’s technical elements such as lighting and sound. I made notes for the cast which I will give them later.

Next, I headed to the Theatre School to watch a final rehearsal room run-through of Octopus – this was a run without costume, props and tech, so I could see how the actors’ voices were sounding before we move into the venue. This provides a good opportunity for the voice coach to raise any issues or concerns they may have prior to tech rehearsals.

Afternoon: I returned to The Wardrobe Theatre to give voice notes to the cast of Scenes with Girls. This is the last time they will have notes from me before their opening night, so it’s important to consider only passing on the feedback that will be most valuable to the actors during the performance phase. This was a really big moment for me โ€“ it was clear how much progress the actors had made following our 1:1 meetings. I was quite emotional at the end! It is the first time I have worked on a production as the only Voice and Dialect Coach and I felt really proud of what the whole company has created.

It was quite a busy day! But full of exciting challenges to practise taking notes, giving notes and making judgement calls about what voice notes the actors will be able to take on in the time they have, amongst everything else they are thinking about!

I chose BOVTS because there are so many opportunities to work with other students and practise the profession that I hope to do in the future! There are so many teaching opportunities available to us via working with students across different courses. We practise working with students who arenโ€™t actors, and progress to assistant voice coaching in the spring term and then becoming a Voice and Dialect Coach in the summer. These opportunities and the amount of real-world practise, is why I felt this specific course was right for me.

For more information about the MFA in Professional Voice Studies, please visit the course page.

Students drinking coffee in Clifton Village
The training provided by the MFA programme is superb. The depth with which we explore, paired with unyielding curiosity that is met with the most knowledgeable, passionate, expert tutors is what makes BOVTS programme one of the finest around. I feel honoured to call BOVTS my grad school. Rachel McVay, MA Professional Acting Student