John Tucker, voice coach, in conversation
John Tucker is a high profile voice coach based in London working in theatre, film, television and radio. He trained as a classical singer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and sang in opera houses around the world for 15 years. John then retrained in speech and voice on the MA Voice Studies program at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. “I always loved working with actors. I’m interested in the word, the exploration of the word and this is what motivates an actor.” John has been working as a voice coach on the faculties of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art since 2010 and the British American Drama Academy since 2008. Actors in these institutions train with him to develop their speech and voice technique that they can authentically speak text into a space when acting. John trains the actor’s engagement with their body, breath, voice and articulation in order to develop their speech and voice technique when handling text. “In Great Britain, most theatres do not use microphones which means that the actor has to fill the theatrical space acoustically. Their voices need to be able to fill the space easily, reaching the back of the auditorium without stress or strain.” Another aspect of the actor’s training with John, is how to ‘authentically response to the demands of the text’. How to connect the voice to different styles of text. How to specifically speak when delivering classical text as opposed to contemporary text. In addition, the training actor learns how to handle their voice when working in film, television and radio that they build a variety of skill-sets.
John also runs a private studio from where he works with professional actors of all ages. “Sometimes an agent sends me a young actor who has already been working professionally on TV. In TV, very little voice production is needed because of the microphone situation. This young actor will be looking to develop their vocal skills with me that they can fill a space acoustically in order to act in the theatre.” Sometimes an older actor might come to John because they need an outside ear just to feel secure that everything is up and running, or to advance their skills a bit further for specific situations. “There was one older actor who was going into a West End production of a Shakespeare play. This production involved a live band performing on stage during the first act. This actor had to be able to project his voice over the noise levels of the live band. I specifically targeted his vocal training to develop his higher vocal range where there are greater harmonics that his voice would naturally carry over the band.” John also works in business training international journalists, TV presenters and high-profile individuals in entertainment and public life. Anyone who speaks publicly for more than 3 to 4 hours a day can be regarded as a professional speaker and may well at some point need to address the support of vocal technique.