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Psychology for Performing Artists (2nd edition)

Glenn D. Wilson
Whurr Publishers Ltd, 2002, ISBN 1-86156-260-8


Review by: Rosemarie Morgan-Watson, SLT 

Dr Glenn Wilson writes the foreword of his book outlining the mutual value that psychology and theatre have for each other, one being the "science of behaviour and experience" and the other " a mirror of life."

Dr Wilson is Reader in Personality at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, is a trained baritone, and is an experienced stage director and opera singer. His main interest is in classical music, drama and opera, so most of the material refers to these genres. He admits that performers from others areas may find less of interest to them, but the general principles do have applications to all performers.

The material for the book has evolved through his teaching, so the style is accessible and readable.

Introductions for each chapter set the scene and topics are clearly headed throughout. Within each of the twelve chapters, you are referred to other relevant sections, so if you like to dip into a book, rather than go from cover to cover, you can. There are specific examples and quotes, which illustrate the text well, a reference section, and any jargon used is explained.

The book raises awareness of the wider social issues, and gives good generalised reading on the background of theatre and its importance in society. Knowledge over a broad base covering physical and emotional expression, humour and music guides you to a range of relevant infor-mation. You then have the choice to research these topics in more depth: For example, the chapters on stage fright, personality and stress were interesting, but for me only outlined certain techniques for management. However, this detail was not the intention of this book.

I enjoyed reading this book. It acts as a useful resource and I recommend it to all BVA members.



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