I hope you will forgive me for indulging in a lifelong obsession in this month’s blog. Ever since I was old enough to take part in the annual nativity play I have either been on stage, back stage (directing) or sitting in the audience enjoying the latest musical or play. There is something absolutely magical about that moment when the lights go down and you are transported to another place and time. I was lucky in having a theatre-mad English teacher at senior school and he took us to the theatre frequently.
I was privileged to see many of our great classical actors when they were just starting out at the RSC. I also saw Helen Mirran as an 18 year old Cleopatra with the National Youth Theatre and followed her onto the West End stage in the same company 2 years later.
As you know I have been fortunate to coach several well-known names over the last 30 years. You can now see Graeme Hawley in Coronation Street and Carole Machin fronting the national Lottery or in the recent ‘Secret Tourist’ on BBC1. Those of you who followed ‘Over The Rainbow’ earlier in the year will have seen Lauren Samuels come 3rd. I had taught her for 11 years before she went to Guildford for a Musical Theatre degree. Coming 3rd in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s show had been a brilliant springboard for Lauren and since late July she has been playing ‘Sandy’ in ‘Grease’ at the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End.
On 22 October 155 of us set off in three coaches to go and see Lauren perform. There was free time before we arrived at the stage door where Lauren had very kindly agreed to pose for photographs and sign autographs. Then I had the pleasure of visiting her dressing room and seeing where she chills out and prepares for the performance.
We spread out all over the stalls as the 50’s music came over the speakers and the lights went down. What a brilliant show! I watched the youngster’s faces as they enjoyed the vibrant colours, energetic dancing and famous songs – they were beaming with enjoyment. Everyone agreed that Lauren was fantastic and it will be wonderful to follow her career which I’m sure will go from strength to strength.
I’ve just had an article published in ‘Word Matters’, the journal of the Society of Teachers of Speech & Drama, which was based on a recorded interview I did with Lauren earlier in the year. You can see a filmed testimonial she did for me here
I did do some work as well in October! The opening of the month was very busy. I adjudicated a festival in Fleetwood on the 2nd, spoke at the Leicestershire Chamber’s Ladies Lunch on the 4th and spoke again on the 5th at Loughborough University innovation Centre before taking a 2 hour seminar for 40 delegates. Other speaking engagements were for The Womens’ Business Club at Solihull and Loughborough 4 networking. There was another ‘Voice Matters’ day course at the Leicester Marriott hotel on 8 October and here is some of the feedback:
- Very useful course with lots of participation but not in an intimidating way – Karen Ballock
- Excellent presentation – plenty of opportunity to engage and take part – Peter Wilcox
- I really enjoyed today’s course. i am looking forward to applying these things in my life and work – Judith Povall
- Very effective exercises & tips for thinking about how/why you speak at any given time.
I did my bit for ‘Children in Need’ when I joined the Lord Mayor on the judging panel of ‘Leicester’s Little Lovelies’ on the 21 October and had an information stand for the Parkinsons Society of Coventry on the 28th. The end of the month was take up with 2 Voice Protection workshops in London – one at the famous Crystal Palace sports stadium and one in Ealing. In total I trained 50 swimming coaches on the 2 courses.
As I write I only have 10 days to go before I leave for Hong Kong. I shall be one of the international judges at the Hong Kong Speech festival for 4 and 1/2 weeks. This is my 7th visit so it’s really like visiting my second home.
I’ve just got time for my new womens’ course ‘Being Vocal in a Man’s World’ on 5 November (currently 22 ladies are champing at the bit!) and ‘Dynamic Speaking’ on 8 November which is full. I’m also taking a bespoke seminar for National Grid, speaking for the chartered Institute of Personnel Supply at Northampton and for a joint Melton Town Council/FSB event.
So let’s all look forward to 2011. Courses now booking are:
17 January – ‘Voice Matters’, Solihull
4 March – ‘Dynamic Speaking’, Leicester
15 April – ‘Voice Matters’, Leicester
13 May – ‘Being Vocal in a Man’s World’, Leicester
all details are on the website.
There is also a new video for you to view here. I hope you find the tips on breathing useful. This was filmed recently at the Crystal Palace Stadium.
Well, I’ll be writing my next blog from Hong Kong and giving you a flavour of life over there. Until then……
Speak Loud & Clear!
Phone: 01455 230317