Where do you work?
In addition to my work with my own company, King Manual Therapy, I have also taught vocal anatomy and vocal health modules for Urdang and presented research on vocal health at London College of Music and University College London Hospital.
How did you start off in theatre?
I took the BA (hons) course in musical theatre at ArtsEd but suffered a knee injury, which put paid to my performing career. I began to explore and lecture on the connection between body and voice in performers. While working as a vocal coach on theatre shows, at drama schools and on the Belgian TV version of The Voice, I retrained as a deep-tissue massage therapist.
What is the best piece of advice you have?
Take vocal health seriously. Think of your voice as a phone battery, if you use it up in the morning, you will have to recharge it or limit how you use it for the rest of the day.
What would you change about training in the UK?
A wider acceptance and knowledge of vocal health education.
What is the best part of your job?
Helping rebuild voices.
And your least favourite?
Seeing performers exhaust their voices because of the ‘show must go on’ mentality and doing lasting damage.
What is the one skill that every successful theatre/dance professional should have?
Basic and adequate hydration, if you can call that a skill.
What is vocal massage and why should people consider it?
It’s about prevention rather than cure, allowing the larynx to operate freely and reduce recovery time and fatigue. It’s a manual therapy intervention to relax the muscles around the larynx to ease vocal production. It can also help with muscle tension dysphonia and help alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux.
Stephen King was talking to John Byrne.
John Byrne is also a writer, cartoonist, performer and broadcaster. Read his advice columns every Wednesday at thestage.co.uk/author/john-byrne