Speech for the Stage

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Course Code
THEA 1111
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered


Course Description
This course is a practical workshop in voice technique including relaxation, breathing, resonance, articulation, speech sounds, vocal power and emotional impulse. The course is designed to equip beginning actors with techniques for use of the voice on stage.
Course Content
  1. The Effective Voice
  • One that reveals the thoughts, feelings, emotional impulses, images and intentions of the speaker.
  • Breathing and Relaxation
    • Exercises that develop an awareness of the total body involvement in the use and quality of the voice.
    • Exercises that create a relaxed body, which in turn produces a resonant voice.
    • Exercises that encourage relaxation of the vocal apparatus and opening of the sound channel during inhalation and exhalation.
  • Physiology
    • Awareness of vocal apparatus involved with speech: mouth, hard palate, soft palate, uvula, tongue, lips, nasal passages, pharynx, trachea, bronchi, ribs, lungs, spine, muscles of respiration, and the diaphragm.
  • Sound
    • Stimulation of the source and energy of sound in the body through exploration of impulse, intention and imagery.
    • Relaxation of the muscles along the channel through which sound travels, so as to provide maximum freedom of release of sound vibrations.
  • Resonance
    • Amplification of sound vibrations through the opening up of the resonating areas of the body.
    • Exercises to differentiate and to center the voice between the nasal and oral resonators.
    • Exercises to increase vocal sensitivity and power and therefore improve economy of communication.
  • Range
    • Expansion of the vocal range through the use of exercises that increase freedom and flexibility up and down the scale.
  • Articulation
    • Isolation of the muscles that control the separate articulating areas - lips, tongue, jaw.
    • Exercises to improve the freedom and agility of these areas when forming sounds - vowels and consonants.
  • Speech Sounds
    • Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet.
    • Articulation of consonants.
    • Formations of vowels.
  • Text
    • Assimilation – important words within phrases and thought groups.
    • The meaning and pronunciation of words.
    • The use of imagery and visualization to transform the printed word to sound that reveals character intention with emotional truth.
    Learning Activities
    1. Lectures to illustrate various aspects of voice production and the physiology of breathing and speech.
    2. Warm-up exercises to encourage good vocal and physical preparation for the work.
    3. Practice material from poems, plays, prose pieces and songs.
    4. A written journal as a record of progress and to assist with the development of a personal regimen.
    Means of Assessment

    Attendance  (15%)

    Due to the fact that this is a studio course, full attendance and regular punctuality is mandatory. Therefore, the following penalties will apply: 3% of the final mark lost per missed class and .5% lost per late class.

    Written Journal  (15%)

    Students are expected to keep a detailed journal for this class. The journal should contain a daily account of class work, the lesson for each session, and reflections. Special consideration will be given to “creative” journal application and the ability to find the relationship between class work and its application to acting and real life situations or experiences.

    Attitude/Participation/Progress  (15%)

    • Students are expected to approach their work in a mature and professional manner. Promptness, out-of-class preparation, and consideration of others will be reflected in this mark.
    • Students are expected to participate fully in all aspects of the work, not only as solo and/or ensemble performers but also as constructively critical audience members whose individual observations and opinions are valuable.
    • Students will be assessed on an ongoing basis according to level of commitment and dedication to the process of class work and practical application of techniques and levels of awareness, as demonstrated by the ability to develop a personal warm-up regimen.

    Voice Paper  (5%)

    One paper will be assigned this term.

    Presented Work  (30%)

    Students will be assessed on their individual progress toward achieving course objectives and completing assignments with regard to presented work.

    • 2 or 4 assignments x 5%
    • 1 or 2 assignments x 10% each

    Class Quizzes  (10%)

    Written Exam  (10%)

    Learning Outcomes

    The successful student should learn:

    • To effectively use the voice for the stage through participation in vocal exercises for relaxation, breathing, resonance, range, sound articulation and power
    • To improve awareness of shaping the sound in the vocal tract by investigating the sounds of English speech
    • To energize words and language with a relaxed vocal instrument through the practical exploration of dramatic literature, prose and poetry.



    Acceptance to the Theatre Program or permission of the Theatre Program Coordinator.



    No equivalent courses.

    Course Guidelines

    Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

    Course Transfers

    These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

    Institution Transfer Details for THEA 1111
    Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU ACTR 1XX (3)
    Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CA 1XX (3)
    Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU THTR 1XX (3)
    Trinity Western University (TWU) DOUG THEA 1111 (3) & DOUG THEA 1171 (3) = TWU THTR 175 (3)
    University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO THTR 1st (3)
    University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV THTR 1st (3)
    University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC UNSP 1XX (3)
    University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV THEA 1XX (3)
    University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC THEA 1XX (1.5)

    Course Offerings

    Winter 2023