Why you should listen
"To be present or not to be present?" is the question Patsy Rodenburg would ask all of us; she's trying to bring the highly practical techniques that make actors successful to the rest of us. There's often an inflexible screen between us human beings and the performances we're shoehorned into every day, and we need to tear it out -- establishing a space she calls "the Second Circle": a state of mind and body where confident, relaxed control allows us establish intimacy and human connection where and when we want it.
With years behind her already as the eminent proponent of the use of Shakespeare in teaching for the present day (not just for actors, but for public speakers, prison inmates, and the mentally ill; see her book Speaking Shakespeare), she's also spent years as a voice coach, perhaps Britain's most highly-regarded. The actors on her formidable roster of have-taughts include Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Daniel Day-Lewis, many other Oscar-nominees and winners, as well as other shining figures of the silver screen and the stage.
As a teacher of acting, Rodenburg is known for her emphasis of the primacy of the human voice. In her book The Actor Speaks, she illustrates how solving the frustrating physical challenges of line delivery -- questions as pragmatic as "When do I breathe?" to more philosophical ones like "How to get my message across to other actors?" -- can open up new paths to performances which go beyond stage-ready to unforgettable.
She currently serves as Director of Voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and teaches voice at Michael Howard Studios in New York City.