Debra Hale has been helping actors, business professionals and others who are curious about their speaking voice find confidence in their sound for 30 years. After receiving her MFA in Acting from CalArts, she began performing in theatre, joining Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity from her work in Los Angeles. She had the desire to return to the voice work she loved to work on her own instrument more intensely. She then became excited about sharing the work with others. After training with Master Teacher Fran Bennett she was Designated by Kristin Linklater in 1993. Since then she began teaching privately from her home, in acting studios, theatre companies and in professional university acting programs, both MFA and BFA. She has coached artists in nationally recognized regional theatre across the US and held workshops all over the world focusing on aligning body, breath, and Linklater Voice.
“Emotions are the energy of life.. the voice runs on emotion and breath, a free breath.”
- Kristin Linklater
Background of The Work
Kristin Linklater was a brilliant voice teacher who changed the way that the speaking voice was trained throughout the world. Born in Scotland and educated in England, she developed her method of training actors based on her work with Iris Warren at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Iris believed that the voice was capable of three to five octaves of speaking range, but that there were physical and psychological blockages that prevent people from using their voice freely. After studying with her, Kristin came to the United States and continued to expand the material and exercises in a book called “Freeing the Natural Voice,”and later in another called “Freeing Shakespeare’s Voice.”
Kristin’s books and her work soon became well known and taught in the top MFA Acting Programs, theatres, and studios around the country. Linklater had created a detailed Designation Training Program for teachers who wished to deepen their understanding of the work as both actors and teachers. Today Kristin’s work is taught by about 300 Designated Linklater Teachers around the globe. These teachers have gone through vigorous training to uphold the effectiveness and integrity of this voice work.
Celebrating newly Designated Linklater Teachers with bagpipes in Orkney, Scotland
Philosphy of Teaching
The creative expression deep inside oneself has an escape through the channel of the voice. If the channel is free of tension, an individual can feel the power of their own breath and vibration. Discovering one's natural voice can increase confidence in the speaker. The revelation of connection between breath and sound enables one to further unleash, limber and develop the voice.
Linklater technique has exercises that alleviate tension in the body, strengthen the breathing muscles, develop resonance and range and encourage ease and clarity of articulation. The voice work contains strong technique and imagery to ignite the imagination. It not only helps actors and singers but anyone who is curious to explore their natural voice or wants to gain confidence in their vocal and physical presentation.
I have always been interested in the voice work of different cultures. From my massage/sound studies in Thailand to work with the foundation of yoga therapy, I investigate physical movements that join with the free breath of Linklater Voice. These elements have to do with opening up the body in different ways to allow more space and awareness for breath and vibration. I am currently working with body alignment and breath release that correlates with the strengthening of the lower back, the opening of the hips, and the stretching of the neck, shoulders and diaphragm along with the overall spine.
When the body is relieved of anxiety and tension one is better prepared to speak. There is a sweet spot where relaxation can result in readiness. I’ve always found joy in discovering what helps an individual expand their range, unlock their resistance, and find that freedom of self through their voice.
Bachelor of Science Theatre and Speech Education, Indiana University, Bloomington IN
Excellence in Theatre Award, Indiana University
Master of Fine Arts Acting, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia CA, (Ahmanson Scholarship)
Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Ensemble Work, Los Angeles, CA
Linklater Designation Master Teacher Mentor, Fran Bennett, Los Angeles, CA
Linklater Designation, Kristin Linklater, Berkshires, Massachusetts
Chi Nei Tsang (massage with sound) Certification, Chang Mai, Thailand
Intensive with Patsy Rodenburg - Performance on London Theatre Stages, London, England
Roy Hart Group, training with Enrique Pardo, New Orleans, Louisiana
American Viniyoga Institute, Yoga Certification-2 year program, Mount Madonna, CA
University Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL