ABOUT THE WORK
Voicework® is a comprehensive approach to voice
training that can include, as needed, work on
breathing, resonance, speech, dialects,
impromptu speaking, text, singing, and voice
with movement. While the training is specific,
it is also compatible with other
Voicework® is taught at Yale School of Drama,
Harvard University/American Repertory Theatre's
Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, the
University of California-Irvine, in studios for
New York University's undergraduate drama
program, and numerous other institutions and
theatres in the United States and abroad.
Aspects of this work have also been incorporated
by clinicians into the rehabilitation of injured
or dysfunctional voices, and are used in the
corporate and professional worlds as aids to
Voicework® explores the dynamics between body,
breath, voice, the imagination, language, and
presence. It encourages vibrant voices that
communicate intention and feeling without excess
The work brings
together physical experience and mental focus. Destructuring, the first phase, promotes
awareness of the body, spontaneous and free
breathing, and vocal expressivity, through
sometimes also hands-on interventions. Restructuring, the second phase,
encourages economy of effort while speaking or
performing, using modified bel canto techniques and Catherine's "focus line". The
resulting freedom and focus allow for a wide
range of vocal expression without strain.
There are many
practical benefits to improved vocal
functioning. And, since breath and voice lie at
the intersection of the material and the
non-material, this work can also assist in
creative, intellectual, and spiritual
There are now
more than two hundred certified teachers of this
work, mainly in the United States, but now also
in permanent residence on six continents, some in
universities and conservatories, others offering
workshops, classes, and private instruction. For
contact and other information on these teachers
and on our teacher certification program, see Teachers/Locations and Calendar.
Physicality: we develop awareness of patterns of vocal effort
through a series of gentle and/or rigorous
exercises and Tremorwork®, accessing the body's own healing
systems for deep release.
Breath: we explore the central role that breathing plays
in both vocal production and the inspired
imagination that expresses itself verbally,
encouraging whole body oxygenation without
forcing the breath.
Quality: we cultivate the ability to accurately
communicate our thoughts and feelings while
meeting the demands of text, space, and the
immediate moment, through both spontaneity and
Results: we reduce strain in the voice, increase vocal
range and expressivity, make speech easy and
clear, and communicate intention more
effectively, allowing creativity to
Rehabilitation: we can help to resolve many functional vocal
WHO IS FITZMAURICE VOICEWORK FOR?
Voicework® originated as a means to teach actors
effective vocal technique, but it has helped
people in a wide variety of professions. The
approach is for people who want to learn about
and improve their voices for performance,
business, personal growth, and fun. It can also
help those with ineffective, injured, or
otherwise problematic voices.
have benefited actors in theatre, film, and
television; singers; teachers of voice, singing,
and acting; directors; TV announcers and hosts;
lawyers, clergy, professors, politicians,
business executives; medical professionals,
speech pathologists, therapists, healers;
movement specialists, dancers, and many others in all walks of life.
HOW DID FITZMAURICE VOICEWORK ORIGINATE?
work began in the explorations and teaching of
Catherine Fitzmaurice. She began acting in
theatre when she was three. From age ten to
seventeen, she studied voice, speech,
verse-speaking, and acting with Barbara Bunch,
who was also Cicely Berry's earliest teacher.
Catherine then attended for three years the
Central School of Speech and Drama in London,
England, where she was a scholarship holder and
prize winner, and where she continued her study
of classical voice training techniques with
Cicely Berry and others. While a student there, Catherine won the prestigious English Festival of Spoken Poetry, sponsored by Edith Sitwell and T. S. Eliot. She began teaching Voice, Verse-speaking, and Prose reading at
the Central School in 1965.
As a teacher,
Catherine found some of her students were
incapable of being sufficiently vocally
expressive. She saw the primary problem as
inhibition caused by tension, particularly
around the breathing, and in exploring ways to
reduce this she discovered the work of Wilhelm
Reich. She began to adapt some of his work for
voice training and incorporated it into her
classes. Since then, she has continued to study
body-based disciplines and energy work (yoga,
shiatsu, meditation, healing techniques, etc.).
She has adapted and combined them with her
classical training to form Fitzmaurice
Now based in New
York City, Catherine has taught all over the
world, and has held teaching and consulting
appointments at the Central School of Speech and
Drama, the Juilliard School's Drama Division,
Yale School of Drama, New York University,
Harvard University, the Moscow Art Theatre, the
Stratford Shakespearean Festival, the Guthrie
Theatre, Lincoln Center, and many others. She
has also presented her work internationally at
major medical and theatre
conferences, including "Freedom & Focus" international conferences on Fitzmaurice Voicework® in Barcelona Spain and Vancouver Canada.
For a more
thorough account of the development of this
work, see "Breathing is Meaning," in Articles.
For a more complete list of influences on the
work, see Links.
For more information on how you can learn about
this work, see Calendar and Teachers/Locations.
|FITZMAURICE VOICEWORK is a Registered Trademark owned by Catherine Fitzmaurice.
© 2009 fitzmaurice voicework®. all rights reserved.