Rethinking Theatre Voices (Konstantinos Thomaidis)

To celebrate 2 years from the publication of Theatre & Voice, the Macmillan International Higher Education Blog published a blog entry by Konstantinos Thomaidis on ‘Rethinking Theatre Voices’.


I was born tongue-tied and grew up with a speech impediment called rhotacism. Simply put: I couldn’t roll my ‘r’s, a consonant featuring prominently in my native language, Greek. As a teenager attending a Francophone school in Northern Greece, my teachers were proud of my ‘naturally’ French-sounding accent. During breaks, however, classmates would engage in friendly banter about it. At Drama Club, I was always given comedic roles, my word-formation considered well-suited to inducing laughter on stage.

I guess this is when I became aware—in a mostly intuitively but markedly embodied way— of three key points around voice.

First: that internal voice, language, speech and sounded voice are not the unified whole we may take them to be.

To read the full blog:



Theatre & Voice was one of the publications for which Konstantinos Thomaidis was nominated for the Theatre & Performance Research Association (TaPRA) Early Career Research Prize. His portfolio of research was one of the three shortlisted by the judging panel for the Prize in 2019.


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JIVS Special Issue Call for Papers: Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers: Cultural, Clinical, and Creative Approaches to Dysfluent Speech

Call for Papers: Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies

Special Issue: Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers: Cultural, Clinical, and Creative Approaches to Dysfluent Speech


Co-editors: Daniel Martin and Maria Stuart




This special issue of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies explores embodied experiences and cultural constructions of stammering from the interdisciplinary perspectives of literary and cultural analysis, speech therapy, neurological research, and creative practice.

Despite the centrality of literary and cultural studies to the emergence of Dysfluency Studies (Marc Shell, Stutter 2005; Chris Eagle Dysfluencies 2014), the 2017 Oxford Dysfluency Conference had no humanities-based papers. A recent conference at University College, Dublin (‘Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers’, 12 October 2018) sought to address this imbalance, bringing cultural analysis into genuine exchange with scientific and therapeutic practice, and negotiating the tension between a medical model of ‘recovery’ and an emergent challenge (across disciplines) to cultural constructions of ‘normal’ speech.

This special issue draws upon and expands the parameters of that event, developing an interface between cultural, clinical, and creative practice in the area of speech ‘disorders,’ and generating new forms of communication and exchange across these fields. Although inviting a variety of disciplinary perspectives, underlying this diversity is a shared sense of dysfluency less as a ‘disorder’ to be treated (within an attendant pathologizing vocabulary) than a form of communication that highlights the intricate relationship between speaking and being heard, vocal agency and cultural reception, vocal expression and philosophical systems, voice and identity.

Of particular (and problematic) importance has been the cultural work performed by the metaphoric stammer as a sign of various conditions (both personal and collective) with little connection to actual dysfluency. Marc Shell first drew attention to the metaphoric appropriation of the stammer as a sign of multiple forms of ‘impediment’ – not only vocal, but social, psychological, intellectual and metaphysical – and the societal assumptions that underlie such usage (Shell, 2005). More recently, Daniel Martin has highlighted the way in which the ‘polymorphous metaphor of the stutter’ has ‘seduce[d] theorists from an awareness of the actual disability of developmental dysfluency’ towards ‘seductive descriptions of the “stuttering” rhythms of modern life, literature and aesthetics’ (Martin, 2015). Following such interventions, even work that remains engaged with Gilles Deleuze’s influential ‘articulation’ of the metaphorical stammer (‘He Stuttered’, 1998) needs to balance such usage with a sense of the corporeal experience of dysfluency (what Jay Dolmage has called ‘the embodied struggle for expression’ [2014]), an experience historicised in Eagle’s exploration of the interaction between literary practice and speech pathology (2014). Issues of embodiment, performance and creative disruption to normative speech have been the focus of work by Christof Migone (2012), Brandon LaBelle (2014), and Steven Connor (2014), while Joshua St. Pierre has explored the challenge posed by the dysfluent body to a post-capitalist economics of labour, communication and temporal ‘efficiency’ (2013).

In terms of clinical practice, the embodied experience of dysfluency has (in various forms) been at the core of therapeutic work. Recent innovations in clinical practice have moved away from concepts of recovery based on fluency towards models of collaboration in which ‘therapy’ is premised on exchange and interaction between therapist and client rather than hierarchies of expertise. Within such collaborative environments, both Narrative Therapy and Acceptance/Non-Avoidance therapies have emerged as transformative structures that draw upon aspects of cultural and creative practice to rewrite the terms of the clinical encounter and its ‘outcomes.’

This renewed focus on embodiment invites diverse, interdisciplinary approaches that accentuate the embodied experience of stammering in its therapeutic, cultural and creative forms. Proposals are welcomed for submissions in (but not limited to) the following areas:

  • Narrative therapy (in clinical, cultural, or creative practice)
  • Normative speech and counter voices of dysfluency
  • Rethinking ‘recovery’
  • Gender and dysfluency (the gendered experience and/or representation of dysfluency)
  • Ethnicity and the speech ‘disorder’
  • ‘Histories’ of dysfluency
  • Literary embodiment
  • Contemporary creative practice: expressive dysfluency
  • ‘Assistive’ technology and vocal agency
  • Mapping the brain: neurological perspectives
  • Visualising dysfluency
  • The cinematic voice


Submission Procedures:

Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be emailed by 10 September 2019 to Maria Stuart ( and Daniel Martin ( Successful authors will be invited to submit either a 5000-8000 word article or a ‘Voicing’ to the editors by 10 December 2019. Practitioner-scholars who work in the areas outlined in the CfP are invited to contribute to the ‘Voicings’ section of the journal, which offers a platform for experimentation with non-conventional forms of dissemination, such as:

  • Practitioners’ reflections
  • Vocal scores and transcripts of music/sound/audio/multimedia artworks
  • Annotated interviews
  • Photographic essays
  • Excerpts of rehearsals, workshops, performances
  • Voice essays and blog-style contributions
  • Academic discussions of voice in the form of poetic scripts, libretti, mini lexicons, ethnographic notes
  • Voice-related documents and archives

Please visit,id=248/ for more information on the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies and for Notes for Contributors:


Editors’ bios:

Daniel Martin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His work on Victorian literature and culture has appeared in The Journal of Victorian Culture, Victorian Review, Victorian Literature and Culture, and Blackwell’s Companion to Sensation Fiction. He has a forthcoming chapter on nineteenth-century dysfluencies in Bloomsbury’s A Cultural History of Disability series. 

Maria Stuart is an Assistant Professor in the School of English, Drama, Film and Creative Writing at University College Dublin, where she teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature. She is co-editor of The International Reception of Emily Dickinson and Ireland, Slavery, Anti-Slavery and Empire. She has published on the dysfluent poetics of Emerson and Dickinson, and Altered Auditory Feedback in The King’s Speech and the work of Alvin Lucier and Victoria Hanna.



Time and Performer Training (Routledge)

CIVS co-convener Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis co-edited the collection Time and Performer Training for Routledge (with Mark Evans and Libby Worth).

The book includes chapters on interdisciplinary opera, Korean pansori, Carnatic vocal music and rhetoric as the foundation of premodern actor training, among others.




Time and Performer Training addresses the importance and centrality of time and temporality to the practices, processes and conceptual thinking of performer training. Notions of time are embedded in almost every aspect of performer training, and so contributors to this book look at:

  • age/aging and children in the training context
  • how training impacts over a lifetime
  • the duration of training and the impact of training regimes over time
  • concepts of timing and the ‘right’ time
  • how time is viewed from a range of international training perspectives
  • collectives, ensembles and fashions in training, their decay or endurance.

Through focusing on time and the temporal in performer training, this book offers innovative ways of integrating research into studio practices. It also steps out beyond the more traditional places of training to open up time in relation to contested training practices that take place online, in festival spaces and in folk or amateur practices.

Ideal for both instructors and students, each section of this well-illustrated book follows a thematic structure and includes full-length chapters alongside shorter provocations. Featuring contributions from an international range of authors who draw on their backgrounds as artists, scholars and teachers, Time and Performer Training is a major step in our understanding of how time affects the preparation for performance.



Section I: (Re)Introducing time

1. Foreword: embodied time by Anne Bogart.

2. Introduction: expansive temporalities of performer training by Konstantinos Thomaidis, with Mark Evans and Libby Worth.

Section II: About time: narratives of time

3. Lecoq: training, time and temporality by Mark Evans.

4. Premodern training: a provocation by David Wiles.

5. Time in noh theatre performance and training: conversations with Udaka Tatsushige by Diego Pellecchia.

6. A materialist feminist perspective on time in actor training: the commodity of illusion by Evi Stamatiou.

Section III: On time: temporalizing time through technique

7. The ecology of a sense of good timing by Darren Tunstall.

8. Gathering ghosts: Lecoq’s twenty movements as a technique to mark time by Jenny Swingler

9. Adavu: drilling through time by Mark Hamilton

10. RSVP and the timely experience by Gyllian Raby

Section IV: Over time: age, duration, longevity

11. Formative trainings in Carnatic vocal music: a three-way conversation through time by Tim Jones

12. Change, continuity and repetition: married to the Balinese Mask by Tiffany Strawson

13. The feeling of time byJennifer Jackson

14. The dance of opposition: repetition, legacy and difference in Third Theatre training by Jane Turner and Patrick Campbell

Section V: Out of time: beyond presence and the present

15. Bridging monuments: on repetition, time and articulated knowledge at The Bridge of Winds group by Adriana La Selva

16. The always-not-yet / always-already of voice perception: training towards vocal presence by Konstantinos Thomaidis

17. Rehearsing (inter)disciplinarity: training, production practice, and the 10,000-hour problemby Laura Vorwerg

18. Beyond the ‘time capsule’: recreating Korean narrative temporalities in pansori singing by Chan E. Park

Section VI: From time to times: expansive temporalities

19. Simultaneity and asynchronicity in performer training: a case study of Massive Open Online Courses as training tools byJonathan Pitches

20. Festival time by Kate Craddock

21. Time, friendship and ‘collective intimacy’: the point of view of a co-devisor from within Little Bulb Theatre by Eugénie Pastor

22. Time moves: temporal experiences in current London-based training for traditional clog and rapper sword dances by Libby Worth

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We are pleased to share details of forthcoming workshops led by CIVS collaborators:

1. GENESIS – The ACT International Voice Residency in Italy, 2019 (led by Anna-Helena McLean):


2. 6-day residential workshop: Voice-Body Intensive in France (led by Margaret Pikes):


Routledge Voice Studies book series

As part of Routledge’s end-of-year sale, all Routledge Voice Studies titles can currently be purchased at 20% off (single-title purchase) or 25% off (2 or more titles).

RVS Sale.png

Current titles include:

Voice Studies: Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience (by Konstantinos Thomaidis and Ben Macpherson):

Composing for Voice: Exploring Voice, Language and Music (by Paul Barker and Maria Huesca):

Training Actors’ Voices: Towards an Intercultural/Interdisciplinary Approach (by Tara McAllister-Viel):


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We are delighted to share that the latest issue of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies is out.

3.2 is a special issue on ‘Voice, Identity, Contact,’ guest edited by Yvon Bonenfant and with contributions by Jennifer Lynn Stoever, Justin Adams Burton, Alexis Deighton MacIntyre, Sara Clethero and Eda Ercin.

Full details:

To subscribe:,id=248/view,page=1/

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Routledge Voice Studies, New Title: Training Actors’ Voices by Tara McAllister-Viel

We are delighted to announce the publication of the latest addition to Routledge Voice Studies, Tara McAllister-Viel’s Training Actors’ Voices: Towards an Intercultural/Interdisciplinary Approach.


Book Description:

Contemporary actor training in the US and UK has become increasingly multicultural and multilinguistic. Border-crossing, cross-cultural exchange in contemporary theatre practices, and the rise of the intercultural actor has meant that actor training today has been shaped by multiple modes of training and differing worldviews. How might mainstream Anglo-American voice training for actors address the needs of students who bring multiple worldviews into the training studio? When several vocal training traditions are learned simultaneously, how does this shift the way actors think, talk, and perform? How does this change the way actors understand what a voice is? What it can/should do? How it can/should do it?

Using adaptations of a traditional Korean vocal art, p’ansori, with adaptations of the “natural” or “free” voice approach, Tara McAllister-Viel offers an alternative approach to training actors’ voices by (re)considering the materials of training: breath, sound, “presence,” and text. This work contributes to ongoing discussions about the future of voice pedagogy in theatre, for those practitioners and scholars interested in performance studies, ethnomusicology, voice studies, and intercultural theories and practices.


Tara McAllister-Viel is Head of Voice and Speech at East 15 Acting School, UK.


Previous titles in the series include:

Voice Studies: Critical Approaches to Process, Performance and Experience (Konstantinos Thomaidis and Ben Macpherson, 2015):

Composing for Voice: Exploring Voice, Language and Music (Paul Alan Barker and Maria Huesca, 2018, 2nd Edition):

CfP: Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers / Expanding the Borders of Dysfluency Studies (on behalf of University College Dublin)

Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers: Expanding the Borders of Dysfluency Studies (Humanities Institute, University College Dublin, 12 October, 2018)


Keynote speaker: Chris Eagle, Emory University, Centre for the Study of Human Health (Dysfluencies: On Speech Disorders in Modern Literature, 2014; Talking Normal: Literature, Speech Disorders, and Disability, ed. 2013)


The conference will explore the embodied experience and cultural construction of stammering from the collaborative perspectives of literary/cultural analysis, speech therapy and neurological research. The aim of the conference is to develop an interface between literary, cultural and clinical practice in the area of speech ‘disorders’, generating new forms of communication and exchange across these fields.

Despite the centrality of literary/cultural studies to the emergence of Dysfluency Studies (Marc Shell, Stutter 2005; Chris Eagle Dysfluencies 2014), the 2017 Oxford Dysfluency Conference had no humanities-based papers. This conference addresses this imbalance, bringing cultural analysis into genuine exchange with scientific and therapeutic practice, and necessarily negotiating the tension between a medically-inflected model of ‘recovery’ and an emergent challenge to cultural constructions of ‘normal’ speech. Dysfluency is explored less as a ‘disorder’ to be treated, than a form of communication that highlights the intricate relationship between speaking and being heard, vocal agency and cultural reception.

Literary culture has provided a rich and complex store of information about how stammering has been represented and interpreted at different historical junctures, within diverse cultural contexts and in relation to the variables of gender, class and ethnicity. The stammer has also been harnessed as a metaphor for how literary language works, how it operates at the limits of its expressive resources, occupying a territory that circles the paradoxical power of the ineffable. Recent work in the humanities, however, has signalled the need to balance such metaphorical readings with a sense of the corporeal experience of dysfluency, what Jay Dolmage has called ‘the embodied struggle for expression’ (Disability Rhetoric 2014). This renewed focus on embodiment invites diverse, interdisciplinary approaches that serve to accentuate the embodied experience of stammering in its neurological, therapeutic and cultural forms.

This conference is generously supported by the Humanities Institute, UCD College of Arts and Humanities, and UCD Seed Funding Scheme.


Proposals are welcomed for twenty-minute papers in (but not limited to) the following areas:

Normative Speech and Varieties of Expression: literary/cultural constructions of ‘normal’ speech and the representation of ‘counter voices’ of dysfluency.

Rethinking ‘Recovery’: innovations in therapeutic practice (e.g., Narrative Therapy, Non-Avoidance Therapy, Covert/Interiorised Stammering Therapy).

Mapping the Brain: neurological perspectives, auditory feedback, and ‘circuits’ of communication.

Gender and Dysfluency: gendered experience and its reception/representation.


Guide for submissions:

All submissions should include name and email address, a 250-word abstract, a short biography (with academic/professional affiliation, if applicable). Proposals for individual papers or panels of 3 papers are welcomed. Panels that include presenters with a range of affiliations, career experiences and disciplinary homes are encouraged.

All proposals should be submitted as Word document.

Extended deadline for submissions: 30 July 2018.

Organiser: Dr Maria Stuart, School of English, Drama, Film and Creative Writing, UCD.

For submission of proposals and general enquiries, please contact:






We are delighted to share that the latest issue of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies is out, including an interview with noted philosopher Adriana Cavarero.


Articles include:

Spiel, patter or sound effect: tracking the residual voice on the travelling fun fair, by Ian Trowell,

Accelerations and speed limits: an essay on the vocal limits of semiocapitalism, by Tristam Vivian Adams,

Can childhood trauma impact the adult voice through the brain? by Elisa Monti and Diana Van Lancker Sidtis, 

The singer’s GPD: rethinking traditional pitch instruction methods for straight-tone singing in commercial teaching, by Mindy Damon,



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CfP: Special Issue ‘What is New in Voice Training?’, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Journal (Routledge), Guest Editor: Konstantinos Thomaidis

Special issue entitled What is New in Voice Training? To be published in TDPT Vol 10.3 (September 2019)

Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editor

Guest edited by Konstantinos Thomaidis, University of Exeter (


Background and context

This will be the 11th Special Issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT) following issues on a range of topics including sport, politics, Feldenkrais, writing training, interculturalism and digital training. TDPT is an international journal devoted to all aspects of ‘training’ (broadly defined) within the performing arts. The journal was founded in 2010 and launched its own blog in 2015. Our target readership is both academic and the many varieties of professional performers, makers, choreographers, directors, dramaturgs and composers working in theatre, dance and live art who have an interest in and curiosity for reflecting on their practices and their training. TDPT’s co-editors are Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds) and Libby Worth (Royal Holloway, University of London).

Call Outline: What is New in Voice Training?

Voice has returned to academic discourse with renewed force. 20th-century philosophical and critical debates may have generated important questions around speech, vocality and listening (particularly through the works of Lacan, Derrida, Merleau-Ponty, Ihde, Barthes and Kristeva), but the first two decades of the 21st century have witnessed an unprecedented proliferation of publications taking voice as their main area of enquiry (see Connor, Cavarero, Dolar, Neumark, among others). In the same period, a similar plurality marked the way voice is practised in performance, particularly in its entanglement with new media, new scenic and everyday architectures as well as new hybrid genres and aesthetics. The emergent field of voice studies situates itself at the juncture of these practical and theoretical advances and advocates for research in and through voice that is markedly praxical, international and interdisciplinary in scope.

In bringing the concerns of this new inter-discipline to bear on performance studies, this issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training proposes a timely re-examination of voice in performer training. The literature on voice and the pedagogy of performance is, of course, vast. In the case of singing, it is largely dominated by paradigms appropriate for operatic and musical theatre performance. In the case of speech training, areas that have been systematically explored include the pedagogies developed by an influential generation of mid-twentieth-century, UK- and US-based speech trainers—and, to a lesser extent, the voice practices pertaining to (post)Grotowskian lineages or integrating first-wave somatics into voice work. While drawing impetus from these significant insights, the purpose of this special issue is to lend an attentive ear to emergent or less widely circulated training methodologies and to chart the rapidly shifting landscape of voice training.

 In other words, it wishes to ask: What is new in voice training?

The term ‘new’ is not taken here as an exclusively present-orientated delineation; rather, it is intended as a generative provocation. In this light, potential contributors are invited to engage with topics and questions such as:


  • New practices: What are the new approaches to voice, speech and singing training currently in the making? How do they depart from or extend current conceptualisations of voicing? Which performance contexts are they designed for? How are they taught, recorded, written about and transmitted?
  • New documents: Which practices of voice training have not been systematically documented and disseminated? Which non-Anglophone practices have received less critical attention and how can new translations or archives engage us in dialogue with them? What is the place of the ‘document’ in practice-as-research approaches to voice pedagogy?
  • The new voice coach: Which are the new exigencies placed on coaches today? What challenges do they face? Which methodologies have been developed in response? How is voice training conducted beyond the studio, through Skype lessons, MOOCs and other interactive platforms? What is the impact of neoliberal economics on the way voice training is currently conducted?
  • New contexts: How is voice training taking into consideration gender, class and ethnic diversity? How is the pedagogy of speech and song responding to neurodiverse trainees? How are interdisciplinary performers, such as speaking dancers or intermedia artists, trained in voice work? How is training originally developed for artistic performance adapted in contemporary oratory, advertising, sport, teaching, community or health work?
  • New criticalities: Which emergent critical methodologies can we deploy to critique voice training or to generate new approaches? How can voice training embrace ecocritical or new materialist strategies? What is the place of the expanding corpus of vocal philosophy in the studio?
  • New histories, new lineages: What does new archival research reveal about the lineages and historic practices of voice training? How is the history of voice training rewritten? How are premodern forms of voice training revitalised in contemporary performer training?
  • Re-newing voice training: How are existing systems, exercises and practices reconfigured in new settings? How can we re-evaluate the foundational premises of voice training through recent discoveries in physiology and advances in critical theory? In what ways are such methods hybridised, repurposed, recycled, rethought?

To signal your interest and intention to make a contribution to this special issue please contact Konstantinos Thomaidis for an initial exchange of ideas/thoughts or email an abstract or proposal (max 300 words) at Please consider the range of possibilities available within TDPT: Essays and Sources up to 6500 words; photo essays; shorter, more speculative, essaisup to 3000 words and postcards (up to 200 words). All contributors could extend their work through links to blog materials (including, for example, film footage or interviews). Questions about purely digital propositions can be sent directly to James McLaughlin at jimmyacademy@gmail.comalong with ideas for the blog. Firm proposals across all areas must be received by Konstantinos Thomaidis by 30 January 2018 at the latest.


The issue schedule is as follows:

 Autumn 2017: Call for papers published

30 January 2018: abstracts and proposals sent to Konstantinos Thomaidis

May 2018: Response from editor and, if successful, invitation to submit contribution

June to End October 2018: writing/preparation period for writers, artists etc.

Start November to end January 2019: peer review period

January 2019 – end May 2019: author revisions post peer review

End June 2019: All articles into production with Routledge

July-August 2019: typesetting, proofing, revises, editorial etc.

September 2019: publication as Issue 10.3.