Honoring the Masters. Sharing the Journey.

Kristin Linklater

Renowned Voice and Speech Coach, Actress, Author
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Biography

If you’re holding your breath in any way, part of you is absent. – Kristin Linklater

Kristin Linklater (1936-2020) was a renowned voice and speech coach who became one of the leading figures in the world of theatrical voice training. Linklater was born in Edinburgh in 1936 and raised in Scotland. She trained as an actor and her most important mentor and teacher was Iris Warren, with whom she studied with at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). After graduating from LAMDA, she taught there for six years before moving to the United States in the 1960s. She served as a vocal coach for the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre, the Lincoln Center Repertory Company, the Open Theater, the Negro Ensemble Company, the Manhattan Project, and for Broadway. She also held academic appointments at New York University, Emerson College, and Columbia University. She trained many famous actors, including Sir Patrick Stewart, Donald Sutherland, Alfre Woodard, Mary Tyler Moore, Bill Murray, Angela Bassett, Courtney Vance, Sigourney Weaver, Sam Rockwell, and Bernadette Peters. An actor in her own right, she specialized in Shakespeare and played many of Shakespeare’s leading ladies.

In speaking about her work as a vocal coach, Linklater said, “It is a process of undoing habits of speaking and allowing the natural range and ability of the human voice to be revealed.” In 1976 she published her book, Freeing the Natural Voice and within its pages readers can get a glimpse into her teaching methods. Linklater’s unique approach to voice training emphasizes the importance of breath, emotion, and the physical body in producing an uninhibited sound. Although she is known for training actors, her techniques are also applicable to singing.

After her retirement from Columbia University in 2013, she moved back to her childhood home in the Orkney Islands of Scotland and founded the Kristin Linklater Voice Centre, where people came to study her method. Kristin Linklater died in 2020 at the age of 84. Her work lives on in the many people she trained and “Designated Linklater Teachers” can be found all over the world.

If you’re holding your breath in any way, part of you is absent.
Kristin Linklater

To free the voice is to free the person.
– Kristin Linklater

Kristin Linklater taught me to execute her methods with exactitude, passion, and to boldly embody the spirit of the voice work itself. She fiercely demanded that we stand in the center of the work and commit fully with our whole selves. She was relentless in her approach, to put it mildly; articulate, strong, intimidating, and often, hilariously funny. Training with her has given me the resilience to tackle any coaching situation, to teach with confidence, presence, and imagination.
Janet Madelle Feindel, MFA (Elle)
Author, The Thought Propels the Sound
Professor Emerita, Voice/Alexander Technique & Accent Coach,
School of Drama, Carnegie Mellon University

References

  1. Crossings: An Interview with Kristin Linklater. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/418757/pdf
  2. Linklater, Kristin (1976). Freeing the Natural Voice: Imagery and Art in the Practice of Voice and Language. Great Britain, Quite Specific Media Group.
  3. https://drama.washington.edu/news/2020/07/07/tribute-love-kristin-linklater
  4. The Kristin Linklater Voice Centre, https://youtu.be/0JP2p9gMkRQ
  5. https://www.linklatervoice.com/

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