The National Theatre is hosting an event to encourage more performers from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to consider a career in voice coaching.
Head of voice at the NT Jeannette Nelson has said she is only aware of four experienced BAME voice coaches working professionally in UK theatres, out of around 100 in total.
The NT is planning to host an open event where people from across the industry from BAME backgrounds can learn more about pursuing a voice-coaching career, particularly performers looking to train as voice coaches.
Nelson said: “We’ve always needed more diversity in theatre voice coaching, and this is being recognised more by directors and theatre companies across the board.
“I would be delighted to see lots of people who are even just interested come to the event. There’s no commitment.
“We’re happy for people to come and talk to us and hear about the training and the career, which can be part-time, some people still work as performers and voice coaches as well.”
During the drop-in event, attendees will be able to talk to representatives from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School about their voice studies courses.
They will also be able to meet and talk to voice and dialect coaches including Claudette Williams, Hazel Holder, Zabarjad Salam, Joel Trill and Nelson.
The event will take place in the Olivier stalls foyer at the National Theatre on September 23, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.
Holder added: “The NT event is important because it makes the profession a visible and viable option for actors of colour.
“I didn’t know I could train to become a voice coach or where I could train until it was explained to me over a decade ago.
“I asked some actors why they want to see more voice coaches of colour, and they said it helps them to avoid an identity crisis. They are speaking with someone who they know has lived experience of their culture.”
Holder added: “If there are enough of us working as voice and dialect coaches, voice coaches don’t have to give up being an actor. They can be the go to person for a particular group of accents and work as a voice coach alongside their acting career.”