2021 FACULTY

Lisa Beley

Lisa Beley is Head of Voice and Text at The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC and is on faculty with the company’s Academy for Classical Acting MFA program at George Washington University. As one of the industry’s leading dialect coaches she has worked on numerous US and Canadian film and TV  productions assisting  actors such as Paul Bettany, Christina Hendricks, Sam Neill and Freddie Highmore.  In addition to her teaching, Lisa is a veteran voice actor of 25 years, voicing countless characters in the animation and commercial worlds. She is a certified teacher of Embodied Practice® and has her MFA from York University. Bringing an extensive training in voice, movement and textual analysis to her work, Lisa is committed to the exploration of language in the service of actors, movers and communicators to find freedom in the precision of language and meaning. 

Cindy Block

Cindy Block is a veteran actor of the Canadian stage who now spends most of her time teaching Movement, Voice, Collective creation and Storytelling as dialogue.   Her research includes the application of Authentic Movement to writing and performance and her pedagogical interest is in the synthesis of physical, vocal and intellectual presence in performance training. She is an Embodied Practice® Certified Teacher, holds an MFA in Acting and a Voice Teaching Diploma.  She is currently on Faculty at the George Brown Theatre School in Toronto and at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto and has also taught at the Humber College School of Comedy, the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and York University.     

Denise Fujiwara

Denise Fujiwara is a recipient of the Toronto Arts Foundation Award for International Achievement in Dance.  Her work as a dance artist has developed over 40 years of intensive practice, performance and study.  Her mentor in Butoh is Tokyo master, Natsu Nakajima whose work she toured internationally for over 10 years.  Fujiwara practices a Butoh that cultivates curiosity, the imagination, awareness, presence and deeply embodied movement.  Her group work, EUNOIA, was nominated for three Dora Awards, named one of NOW’s top 5 dances of 2014 and has begun touring.  She leads workshops and master classes across Canada and abroad.  Fujiwara co-founded and continues as Artistic Director of CanAsian Dance.

 

Gary Logan

Gary Logan is the Professor of Speech & Dialects for the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama. He is also the author of The Eloquent Shakespeare (University of Chicago Press) and recipient of a Tyrone Guthrie award. The Stratford Festival of Canada, Royal Shakespeare Company, Folger Theatre, Kennedy Center, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Studio Theatre, Everyman, Ford’s Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre are just a few of the many companies for which Gary has been a voice, text, and dialect coach. He has recorded or produced over 800 voice-overs, including documentaries for National Arts and Humanities and National Geographic. Gary has lived in nearly 40 places in the U.S. and Europe. He received his MFA in Acting from A.C.T. in San Francisco, where he studied with Edith Skinner and Catherine Fitzmaurice. Please visit garylogan.space for more.

Diane Roberts

Diane Roberts is the founder of the Arrivals Legacy Project and has been the lead workshop facilitator for the past 16 years. The roots of storytelling and multi-disciplinary art forms (mixing of ritual song, dance, storytelling, live art and theatre) drive her arts practice as a director dramaturg and cultural animator. Her intuitive style of facilitation draws on specifically crafted creative engagement tools that inspire artists of all disciplines and cultural backgrounds to unearth their authentic creative impulses. Her working methodology draws out and establishes a common vocabulary amongst Indigenous and diverse artists, our ways of working and our sense of ourselves as artists in a global society. Diane is also a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies at Concordia University in Montreal and a 2019 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholar. 

Matthew Rossoff

Matthew has served as a MVI associate for several seasons and is currently sitting on the Board of Directors of lbs/sq” performance.  Through advocacy for performance education, he has supported the forward momentum and growth of the Moving Voice Institute and Alumni Committee. Matthew is currently on faculty at York University and Randolph College for the Performing Arts. He has also taught Voice and Musical Theatre workshops at The Juilliard School, Circle in the Square Theater School, Buffalo State University, The Stratford Festival, Brock University, University of Toronto, Sheridan College, Musical Stage Co., and Neptune Theatre.  Creator Director and Founder of @bodypresenceworkshop, Matthew passionately integrates a holistic embodiment practice to refine the interplay between internal sensations with external gestures.  As a performer, Matthew was the Dance Captain in the 2012 TONY nominated Broadway revival of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. Matthew’s newest accolade is writing and self-publishing a mindfulness-based children’s ebook series, TAC THE CAT SINGS THE BLUES, now available on Amazon Kindle.  He is a 2021 VASTA at ATHE Conference lead panel presenter, a certified yoga instructor, and holds an M.F.A. in Performance with an Emphasis on Teaching (voice) from York University.

Photo by Matthew Manhire.

 
 

Lopa Sircar

Lopa Sircar is a Canadian actor, voice and speech coach, and Yin yoga teacher who now lives in Leiden, the Netherlands. After many years of acting professionally in Canada, Ireland and India, she now focuses her performance interests on coaching the human speaking voice in a holistic, integrated manner, knowing that to pay the human voice attention, to unpack it, and to reveal its power is a courageous and political act. She is passionate about bringing life to contemporary and new works that showcase non-traditional perspectives, storylines and characters. In addition to coaching award-winning shows and many film and stage actors privately through her company Lopa Sircar Voice, she combines her experience of Yin yoga with her approach to voice to create Radiant Vocal Yin, a pre-performance practice that enhances the actor’s mind-body-voice connection. Having been both Participant and Associate at the Intensive, she is happy to return as Guest Faculty.

David Smukler

David Smukler is one of the senior voice teachers in the Canadian theatre.  At York University, he both established the MFA program in Performance and he developed and supervised the Voice Teacher Training Program. He founded Canada's National Voice Intensive and directed the organization's research and programming for over three decades.  He has taught at NYU, Carnegie-Mellon and at major theatre schools in England and the Netherlands.  He has extensive experience as a voice coach in the theatre ranging from experimental to classical in Canada, the UK, the Netherlands and the USA, including many years at the Stratford Ontario Shakespeare Festival and their conservatory program. He has served as dialogue coach on over a hundred and fifty works for film and television as well as coaching in broadcasting.

Ausar Stewart

Ausar Stewart is one of North America’s leading voice, speech and communications coaches.  Having taught in some of Canada's finest institutions he is presently a Professor of Voice and Acting at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Drawing from a wide range of training and experiences, Ausar integrates modalities from the performance world with holistic healing practices to create an electrifying signature approach to the art of communication. As the owner of Free Your Voice, he works with private and corporate clients to develop the speaking and embodiment skills that instill confidence, produce power and leave a lasting impact.  His clients Speak, Inspire and Lead.  To learn more about Ausar visit: www.freeingyourvoice.ca

Gerry Trentham

Gerry Trentham is Founder and Artistic Director of Pounds Per Square Inch Performance (lbs/sq”), the charitable arts organization that produces the programs of the Moving Voice Institute (MVI). Gerry created lbs/sq” to foster research into contemporary arts creation and performance and to be a home for over 40 of his award-winning performance productions.  With seven Toronto Dora nominations or awards, most recently as a cast and voice director of Denise Fujiwara's hit EUNOIA, his performances have been internationally acclaimed. He has taught, choreographed, dialect/ speech coached, mentored theatre and dance creators, and directed internationally. Over 22 years as core faculty of Canada’s National Voice Intensive, now the MVI, and over five years with Denise Fujiwara in their new frontier of performance training Butoh/Voice, Gerry encourages artists to hone their artistic craft and achieve excellence in performance through methodologies that reflect, ignite, and respect a trans-disciplinary, cultural/environmental consciousness.

 

 FACULTY

Brad Gibson

Brad Gibson is a voice, speech and movement teacher in Vancouver, BC.  He is currently Head of Voice at Studio 58, Langara College.  Brad works as a professional voice and dialect coach for theatre, film and TV.  Recent projects have included: Godzilla (Legendary Productions), Warcraft (Legendary productions), Never Steady, Never Still (Christie Street Creative), The Skin of  Our Teeth, and Cabaret.  In recent years Brad has voice coached or designed and coached dialect for approximately 10 shows per year on stage and in film and TV. Research interests include: the neurobiology of emotion and embodied experience applied to mental health and emotional first aid from the training studio to stage; a Taoist approach to Shakespeare’s humours and contemporary type theory; and the development of a practice that explores voice, movement, text and the actor’s process based in neurobiological realities and somatic principles.

 

Dawn McCaugherty

Dawn McCaugherty participated in the first Voice Intensive in 1986 and joined the Faculty in 2001. This association has been foundational in her development as an artist/educator and a source of great joy. She brings to her work experience garnered from forty years as a professional actor, director and voice/text coach, in addition to more than thirty years as a teacher of acting, directing, voice and text. Her primary research interests are voicing from the personal emotional, intellectual, physical and responsive source; application of the extended voice in performance; performing classical text in the contemporary context; specificity in the development of pedagogy and curriculum applicable to performance needs; acting Shakespeare. For the past two years she has been studying Middendorf BreathExperience in Vancouver, an opportunity afforded by recently attaining the title Associate Professor Emerita (Calgary). Dawn holds an MFA in Performance (York), BFA in Acting (Victoria) and a BEd (Lethbridge).

Gayle Murphy

Gayle Murphy has specialized in breath and the speaking voice for over three decades. She coaches actors for the stage and screen, and has led workshops in Bangkok, Hong Kong and across Canada. Gayle is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of British Columbia, and has also taught at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts, the Vancouver Playhouse Acting School and Studio 58.  She holds an MFA in Performance from York University, is a certified Breathexperience practitioner and a co-director of Breathexperience Canada. Her recent collaborative research The Emotional Fluency Project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, is the investigation into a purely physical approach for actors to access and exit emotion.  

 

2021 ASSOCIATE TEAM

 

Miriam Cummings

Miriam Cummings is a theatre artist based in Tiohtià:ke (Montréal) and co-founder of Hopegrown Productions. With Hopegrown she has workshopped and performed four new plays by local playwrights which have toured within Canada and internationally. Miriam created and performed The One, which was developed with support from Playwright’s Workshop Montréal (PWM). The One had a sold-out run at the Montréal Fringe Festival (2019) and won Most Promising English Company (Segal Centre). A graduate of Concordia University's Acting program, she has since trained with the Moving Voice Institute and Tectonic Theater Project (Moment Work™). Miriam teaches acting and devising to adults of all ages at Concordia University, the English Montréal School Board, Geordie Theatre School, and more. Miriam is an advocate for psychological actor safety and formal theatre training reform. Photo by IO Monolith.

Liz Filios

Liz Filios is an actor, musician and teaching artist. She attended Canada's National Voice Intensive in Vancouver in 2014 and began work as an associate in Toronto in 2018. Liz has performed at the Arden Theatre, Wilma Theater, Walnut Street Theatre, Delaware Shakespeare, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, South Coast Rep, Joe’s Pub, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She has also composed and sound designed for the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Quintessence Theatre Group and Theatre Exile. A graduate of the Musical Theatre program at the University of Michigan, Liz is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and has also studied with Pig Iron Theatre Company, Cape Town Opera (South Africa) and the Çudamani Summer Institute (Bali, Indonesia). Liz teaches piano, voice, and choral music for young people at Play On Philly.  Photo by David Noles.

Jessica Johnson

Jessica Johnson is a Philadelphia based performing and teaching artist. She began her artistic career in Philadelphia as a Dorothy Haas Acting Apprentice at the Walnut Street Theatre. Over the past two years, she has performed in over 25 readings, workshops and full-length productions, performing regionally with, among others, Arden Theatre Company, Inis Nua Theatre, Theatre Exile and 1812 Theatre Productions. She received her B.A. in Theatre and Dance from James Madison University, where she was awarded a full academic scholarship (Centennial Scholars Program) and selected as the outstanding graduate of 2012. Following graduation, Ms. Johnson performed in the Festival de Avignon. This year she was awarded an Independence Foundation Fellowship and the Jilline Ringle Residency to develop independent work. She received a Barrymore Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Performer in a Musical (Celie in The Color Purple). She serves as a volunteer for the Barrymore Oversight Committee.  

Phedra L'Abbé

Phedra L’Abbé began singing and performing 28 years ago and is currently a life learner with her daughters and splits her time between Canada, Italy, and travel. She studied classical voice at Wilfred Laurier University and graduated from the Musical Theatre - Performance program at Sheridan College.  She was Apprentice Producer with Obsidian Theatre in 2008 and in the summer of 2009 produced and performed in “Colour Me Contemporary” a concert to showcase the talent of underused diverse musical theatre performers. In November of 2009 she left Canada to perform as a singer aboard Silversea Cruises. Her family is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-faith. Phedra is excited to learn from the amazing MVI faculty and her co-MVI Committee members. Current avenues of exploration include the voice-body connection, body mapping, embodied movement, IPA, language/dialect as culture, the land as culture, decolonization, IPA, dialects, and accent-reduction.  Photo by Denise Grant.

Durae McFarlane

Durae McFarlane is an actor and writer originally from Mississauga, Ontario. He is a graduate of the Acting program at the University of Windsor. Durae first attended the Voice Intensive in 2017. It was so pivotal to his growth as an artist that he went back in 2019 and he keeps finding ways to continue to work and train with the folks at the MVI. He was named a breakthrough Toronto stage artist and earned a Dora nomination both for his work in The Flick in 2019. He is currently working with Cahoots Theatre in their Hot House Lift Off program writing a couple plays.  Photo by Mark Binks.

Shea O'Connor

Shea O’Connor is an actor and teaching artist currently based in Victoria. After graduating from the theatre program at the University of Victoria in 2017 with a specialization in acting, she attended Canada’s National Voice Intensive in Toronto. Since then, Shea has continued to stay involved with the MVI through the formation of the MVI Alumni Committee. She is a faculty member at Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People and has previously taught as an associate instructor at Carousel Theatre for Young People as well as part of the Riotous Youth Internship at Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. Performance credits include UVic Phoenix Theatre, Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre, Langham Court Theatre, Bragi Theatre and the UBC Brave New Playwrights Festival.  Photo by Ian Redd.

Steven Rimke

Steven Rimke is an Assistant Professor at Penn State University teaching voice and speech for the BFA Acting and Musical Theatre programs. His areas of focus include phonetics, accents and dialects, voice for stage, voiceover, and voice for the transgender community, aiding in their ability to have their voice safely match their preferred identity. Before working at PSU, Steven worked as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Cincinnati (College-Conservatory of Music) teaching Acting and Shakespeare. Steven has coached and performed in theatrical productions in Canada, England, Prague, Malaysia and the United States. He most recently co-directed and coached Harlem Queen, Penn State School of Theatre’s first audio-drama. He earned an MFA in Voice Studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, studying under vocal pedagogues including Kristin Linklater, Cecily Berry, Christina Shewell, Barbara Houseman.  Photo by Brendan McKinney.

ASSOCIATE ALUMNI

Tanya Elchuk

Tanya Elchuk teaches Voice and Speech at Simon Fraser University and the Vancouver Film School. She holds an M.F.A. in Theatre and a Voice Teaching Diploma from York University, where she studied with David Smukler, and received a S.S.H.R.C. Canada Graduate Scholarship for her research on neuroscience and acting. As an artist, Tanya has written and performed original work throughout Canada and the United States.

Carmen Patterson

Carmen Paterson is an interdisciplinary artist from Treaty 6 Territory. As a settler of this land, she is grateful for its original caretakers, recorded and unrecorded. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from York University, is a member of The Guild of Embodied Practice, and part of the Fellowship of Acting at Rosebud School of the Arts. Working across western Canada as a creator and performer, she is known for her hilarious and embodied characters. Now residing on Treaty 13, she teaches Movement at the George Brown Film & Media Program, as well as Voice at Brock University. Carmen is a coach for Jessica Maloney’s (alumni of Voice Intensive ’09) company  j.edge | STRATEGY. She has also taught at York University, Rosebud School of the Arts, University of Calgary, Arts Commons, and Ambrose University.

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