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Kristin Linklater Freeing The Natural Voice

There are a handful of people that you may meet in your life that change everything. World renowned voice teacher Kristin Linklater was, for me, one of those people.

29 years ago, I had my sights set on a career in graphic design. I was a very introverted child, and the idea of being hermit-like, pouring over drawings and designs suited me perfectly thank you very much. However, I pulled the short straw at 14 years old and got lumped with GCSE Drama instead of Graphic Design - you can imagine my horror. However, on reflection, I had unwittingly signed up to finding my voice; my long forgot voice.

For the next 11 years I searched. I became an actor and musician but despite putting myself in front of audiences using my voice was full of effort: physical, emotional and intellectual. I decided to get to the bottom of it by doing an MA in Voice Studies at the prestigious Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where I was taught by the incredible Joanna Weir-Ousten, a designated Linklater teacher, whom has mentored me and I have worked alongside for the past 17 years. Experiencing this work, was like a flat earther being taken up in a space ship and seeing first hand that the earth was round. I knew then that Kristin Linklater's profound approach to voice spoke a language that a deep and forgot part of me understood.

Scottish born actor, Kristin Linklater, was protégé of Iris Warren, voice teacher at LAMDA during the 1950s. Warren was among some of the first voice practitioners to posit that the human voice was not merely an instrument but instead something governed by thought and feeling. That like the body, experiences get remembered in the neurophysiology of the voice, and connect the mind, emotions and body in an intimate dance. This relationship needs rehabilitating and exercising before the tensions in the breathing system, the muscles of the larynx, jaw, tongue, lips and soft palate can be liberated and the full expressive range, resonance and clarity of the voice can be restored. As a young voice teacher, Kristin took Iris's approach to America where she spent the next 50 years revolutionising voice teaching, working with actors like Sir Patrick Stewart, Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver, teaching at Emerson College, Columbia University, Shakespeare and Company, Joseph Chaikin's Open Theatre, Peter Brook's Centre de Recherche and then writing the preeminent Free The Natural Voice which has sold over 200,000 copies and translated into six language.

Between 2010 I was fortunate enough to be invited to audition and interview to train with Kristin and in 2011 I became one of the first Linklater teachers to be designated in the UK; one of only 250 or so teachers world wide.

Kristin taught for another 9 years, founding the Kristin Linklater Voice Centre in the Orkney Island, before she pass away in 2020 leaving behind a legacy that continues to change the lives of people all around the world.

If you are interested in freeing the full expressive range, depth, power and clarity of your voice through Kristin Linklater's profound methodology, I am running a 6 weekend course starting in September through to April 2025 in Stroud, UK.


Need some help?

I'm Ashley Howard MA, a UK voice coach with 17+ years experience, and I can tell you exactly what you are struggling with and exactly how to fix it so that you can speak the way you want to speak.


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