Douglas College wordmark
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Snapchat logo YouTube logo Wordpress logo
back to search

Speech for the Stage

Course Code: THEA 1111
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Theatre
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Tutorial
Typically Offered: Fall
course overview

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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Range
    • Expansion of the vocal range through the use of exercises that increase freedom and flexibility up and down the scale.
  7. 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.
  8. Speech Sounds
    • Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet.
    • Articulation of consonants.
    • Formations of vowels.
  9. 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.

Methods of Instruction

  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.

course prerequisites

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


THEA 1110 and THEA 1171

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.