Using Your Voice to Create Characters
Cindy Milligan, Ph.D.
Vocal Support
Date & Time
Friday, April 1, 2022, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Learn new tools to help you create interesting characters with your voice. It's based on Sonic Vocality, a theory about how actors use their voices to portray characters.

The program is designed to help actors, singers and other vocal performers use their voices to create interesting and sustainable characters on stage. I use digital tools to deliver the program which include a slide presentation, audio and video clips, and a playbook/workbook that participants can use to enhance their learning. The workshop will be delivered in three main parts: 1) understanding your voice, 2) a vocal profiling system, and 3) the Vocal Power 12. These three components also make up part of an online interactive vocal studio that participants will have free access to.

Based on Sonic Vocality, a theory I created explaining how actors use their voices to portray characters in movies, the workshop helps actors understand and explore their voices from different perspectives. I developed two unique tools from the research that actors can use when developing characters for a performance. In this workshop, I'll explain and demonstrate how to use the tools and engage participants to apply use of the tools to portions of scripts so that they can understand how they work and how the tools might help them more effectively develop and portray characters. Both tools are a part of an interactive online studio that learners will have access to beyond the conference and can further explore specific vocal elements or combinations of elements to make changes to their voices while developing characters. It provides a variety of quick and easy ways actors can play with their voices.

One of the tools is in beta and leads the performers through a self-assessment of their own voice and how they use it. With the second tool, the voice artist can experiment and play with different vocal elements to create a variety of characters or character attributes. It can also be used to reveal traits and characteristics, develop personality, create narrative and story, and express values and emotion. Through use of both tools, performers begin to understand their voices and how to make adjustments to specific parts of their bodies in order to create and express meaning by making different sounds.

My approach to vocal training and performance crosses all lines when it comes to diverse communities. It is inclusive and can be used by anyone at any time because it focuses on the way an individual can best use their body to produce the sounds they want to include as part of their vocal performance. None of my techniques, tools, or approaches focus on or are dependent upon one's race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation, and disabilities do not prevent someone from using the tools. The vocal performances actors create are not restrictive, instead they offer a freedom in the variety of choices available.