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Department of Theatre and Dance

UW Theatre Professor Receives Fitzmaurice Voicework Certification

Feb. 9, 2005 Voice enhancement and vocal freedom are debuting in the University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance, compliments of a faculty member who recently was certified in Fitzmaurice Voicework, a renowned approach to voice training.

Lou Anne Wright, associate professor of voice, dialects, acting and theatre history, is the only UW faculty member trained in Fitzmaurice Voicework. Each year, only about 65 associate teachers are certified in the United States.

"Fitzmaurice Voicework combines classical voice training for theatre with adaptations of several body based disciplines, including yoga, bioenergetics, and shiatsu," says Wright, who took two years of intermittent workshops followed by two consecutive summers of classes to be certified as an associate teacher of the system.

Anatomy training is one component of the system, Wright explains. "Another gift from this training is my greater understanding of the breath stress relationship in humans," she says.

"I have more empathy for young actors as they struggle to free their bodies and breathing patterns for stage work." She says the enhanced movement and flexibility training will instill more confidence in UW students.

Wright says her students will learn to achieve vocal freedom, which is the ability to reach the top and bottom of the actor's range on command, while performing intense physical movements on stage.

"If a student or actor is willing to fully experience the training by keeping a sense of curiosity and staying mentally and physically flexible, it can transform a performance or audition," she says.

Catherine Fitzmaurice, developer of this vocal training, combines "vocal practice with energetic philosophy." Her creative approach is taught widely in the United States and internationally.

Wright is in London until March, teaching in the UW London Semester, offered through the College of Arts and Sciences. She says she applies the Fitzmaurice exercises for warm up in one of her acting classes. Wright also has created a course, "Voice for the Actor," that introduces the fundamentals of the Fitzmaurice system and is a prerequisite to her department's speech class.

Posted on Wednesday, February 09, 2005

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