the british voice association


Approaching Accents Event 2024

Approaching Accents: Strategies for voice and dialect coaches

SUNDAY 30 June 2024
10.45 – 17:00 (Registration from 10.30)


Within a society that perpetuates accent bias, and with students that expect immediate results, how do we deepen understanding, hone skills, and enhance storytelling achieved by accent work? What strategies exist for voice and dialect coaches in relation to accent? This online study day for coaches and teachers of spoken and sung voice investigates accent acquisition, bias, and accent in performance across conservatoire and professional settings.

Topics include: prosody, the joy of phonetics, weeding out accent bias, authenticity for the musical theatre student, and preparing actors for accent work in the industry.

Presenters: Andrea Caban, Louis Colaianni, Andrea Hazel Lewis, Marco Morbidelli, Jan Haydn Rowles, Anne Whitaker

Ticket Pricing

  • Early Bird Rate (Deadline, Friday 7 June)
  • BVA Member: £50
  • Non-member: £65
  • Student/recent graduate: £40 (student ID required)
  • Standard Prices
  • BVA Member: £60
  • Non-member: £75
  • Student: £40 (student ID required)

Recording link included in all prices.

Book for the event using Eventbrite.

Book Now

For further information email administrator@britishvoiceassociation.org.uk


Time Event Speakers/Hosts
10:30 REGISTRATION and Welcome Andrea Hazel Lewis
10:45 Prosodic Presumptions Anne Whitaker
11:30 The Experience of Authenticity for the Musical Theatre Student Marco Morbidelli
12:30 BREAK
12:45 Preparing Actors for Accent Work: A recorded conversation between a conservatoire and an industry coach Jan Haydn Rowles & Andrea Hazel Lewis
13:30 LUNCH
14:30 The Joy of Phonetics Louis Colaianni
15:30 BREAK
15:45 Weeding Out Accent Bias: Examining the language we use to describe speech Andrea Caban
16:45 Final remarks
17:00 Close


Andrea Caban

Andrea Caban is an Associate Professor and Head of Voice & Speech at California State University, Long Beach, and Co-Director and designated Master Teacher of Knight-Thompson Speechwork™. An award-winning academic writer, playwright and solo performer, Andrea Caban is interested in the intersection of actor-training and arts-based research methods with patient-centered care. She holds a research appointment at the UCI School of Medicine for testing her method of voice and accent modification for people living with ALS. Notable production coaching credits include several seasons at the Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory Theatre (Absurd Person Singular, Chinglish, Death of a Salesman, Madwomen in a Volvo & Peter and the Starcatcher). She is currently collaborating with Francis Ford Coppola on his career opus film Megalopolis. Beginning from the "principles (perhaps)" of speech training for actors in her book (with Parker & Foh): Experiencing Speech: A skills-based, panlingual approach to actor training (2021) Caban will discuss common ways accent bias still exists in the lexicon of speech trainers who otherwise espouse inclusive methods of training.

Louis Colaianni

Louis Colaianni is an acting, voice, speech and dialect coach in the professional theater and film. He has a teacher certification program for his method of Phonetics, Speech and Dialects, which is taught internationally at some of the most renowned institutions including Boston University, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Folkwang Universitat der Kunste, Cork Institute of Technology – School Of Music, University of Oklahoma – Norman. He is the author of The Joy Of Phonetics and Accents, Bringing Speech to Life, How to Speak Shakespeare, and Shakespeare’s Names: A New Pronouncing Dictionary. He has given workshops in Shakespeare performance, voice, speech, phonetics and dialects internationally. A few recent projects include: Between Riverside and Crazy and Manahatta at the Yale Repertory Theatre; Will Ferrell in You’re Welcome America; Madeleine Martin in August Osage County; Bill Murray in Hyde Park on Hudson and St. Vincent; Don Cheadle in Miles Ahead; America Ferrera in Cesar Chavez; Anna Gunn in Little Red Wagon; and Michael Gandolfini in The Many Saints of Newark. He has also worked at many regional theatres including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Santa Fe Opera, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and Shakespeare & Company.

Andrea Hazel Lewis

Andrea Hazel Lewis is a Voice & Dialect Coach, currently the Senior Voice Tutor at Mountview Drama School, Voice Coach on Matilda The Musical at The Cambridge Theatre and Deputy Chair for Education at the British Voice Association. Recent dialect credits include; Ella Purnell for Sweetpea Sky Atlantic, Ben Whitehead for Untitled Wallace and Gromit Film Aardman Animations, prep for Lucy McCormick in Wuthering Heights at The National Theatre and Ned Campbell Beats at The Kings Head Theatre. Andrea trained as an Actress at The Oxford School of Drama and graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with a Masters in Voice Studies. She is currently training to be a certified Vocal Combat Technique Coach. She is also Artistic Director of Monkey's Fist Theatre Company and a rock singer with her band Higher Music State.

Marco Morbidelli

Marco Morbidelli holds a master’s degree in voice studies from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and works at Mountview as Joint Course Leader for the BA Performance programme (Acting, Actor Musician and Musical Theatre pathways) as well as Joint Head of Singing. Prior to Mountview, he has taught voice and singing in a number of London conservatoires and drama schools, including The Royal Academy of Music and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Marco is currently a PhD candidate within the Music Psychology department at the University of Sheffield, investigating technical and psychological difficulties experienced by musical theatre students and early graduates in combining spoken and sung voice pedagogies in their acting work. Within his research, Marco uses the concept of authenticity in a two-fold manner: its historical impact on actor training is used as a means of explaining some of the difficulties explored by students and early graduates; at the same time, more current understandings of authenticity and identity are then offered as potential solutions. In his presentation, Marco will offer an overview of his research and his findings, paying particular attention to the role that aspects of authenticity and identity such as accent, voice-type and personality play in the training of musical theatre undergraduate students.

Jan Haydn Rowles

Jan Haydn Rowles trained as an actor at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama (1986/89) and as a voice coach at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (1990/91). During her early career she worked for the majority of London's leading Drama Schools. Her work has been heard in numerous productions in the West End, The Royal Shakespeare Company, across Britain in the UK’s repertory theatres and at Shakespeare’s Globe, where she was Head of Voice from 2007/10. Jan now works extensively in TV/Film. Her recent credits include, Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon, Pistols, The Regime and Joan. Jan also works as an acting coach supporting young actors in their early careers in productions such as Belfast, A Haunting in Venice and Smilla’s Sense of Snow.

Anne Whitaker

Anne Whitaker is a California transplant and is now based in London full-time. Her work as a voice coach spans professional coaching and conservatoire training programs including The Royal Central School for Speech and Drama, Mountview, and The Globe. As a voice coach she is always working to improve her practice through interdisciplinary research. Her specialism of research is in prosody, or the musicality of language. She is currently working with Professor Beatrice Szczepek Reed at King’s College to devise exercises for actors that help them understand and achieve in performance what linguists have observed about prosody in natural talk and conversation. Anne's other project is about prosody in verse text, which she is working on with PhD Candidate Jennifer Grober, King's College/Shakespeare Centre London. Their collaboration aims to use recent findings in early-modern verse studies to create a more embodied approach to teaching and performing Shakespeare. Recent theatre credits include Matilda (Cambridge Theatre), Shooting Hedda Gabler (Rose Theatre), and Oklahoma! (Wyndhams Theatre). Recent film credits include: Back in Action! (Netflix), We Were the Lucky Ones (Hulu), and Wheel of Time (Amazon).

Book Now

For further information email administrator@britishvoiceassociation.org.uk


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