Vocal Lab

Target Participants:

Aspiring performers aged 16 & above


4 sessions, three hours per session

No. of Participants:

Min: 10 people; Max: 20 people

Pre-Workshop Preparation:

  • Participants who are able to communicate fluently in English are welcome.
  • Please come dressed in loose, comfortable clothing so that you will not feel constricted while doing the various breathing and vocal exercises.

Notes for Organisers:

  • Please make available a fair-sized room that can easily accommodate all the workshop participants and the facilitator (seated in a circular formation).
  • Please make sure that any other tables and chairs are stored against the wall or outside the room so that the participants have space to move freely about the space when they do the various exercises.
  • Please make sure that the room has been vacuumed thoroughly before the workshop. The participants will be doing deep breathing exercises; thus a dusty environment would not be conducive at all.
  • Please provide a large whiteboard and pens as well as access to computer/computer projection to show PowerPoint slides.
  • Please make copies of hand-outs that will be emailed to prior to the workshop. The hand-outs are to be given to the participants at the end of the workshop.

So you want to act… But you get up on stage and you can’t be heard beyond the first row, or you scream and shout and lose your voice easily, or people just can’t seem to understand what you’re saying, or you receive a piece of text and have no idea how to speak and bring it to life…

If you wish to optimise your vocal potential and enhance your expressive abilities, Vocal Lab is the course for you. Geared for aspiring actors aged 16 and above with little or no voice training, this hands-on workshop is an introduction to voice work in Western theatre. By the end of the workshop, you will understand how voice and speech are produced, release your voice, know how to conduct your own vocal warm-ups, and be on your way towards becoming a more articulate, sensitive and animated performer.

Areas Covered:

  • To raise the participants’ awareness of how the voice works.
  • To help the participants become more effective voice users through simple, practical means.

Summary of Workshop Sessions:

Session Title Objectives
1 Preparing the Physical Framework In this session, participants will:
  • Understand basic vocal anatomy and how voice and speech are produced
  • Experience the importance of having a relaxed and aligned body as well as breath support for effective voice production and release
2 Phonation, Resonance & Release In this session, participants will:
  • Learn various methods of vocal release
  • Achieve basic skills in placing the voice forward and balancing the use of the head/mid/chest resonators to develop a fuller, richer sounding voice
3 Articulation & Vocal Colour In this session, participants will:
  • Become aware of how the various articulators (i.e. lips, tongue, soft palate) function to produce clear speech
  • Learn to connect intention and voice (particularly the varying use of pitch, pace, volume) and produce more lively and interesting-sounding speech
4 Putting It All Together/
Vocal Care
In this session, participants will:
  • Revise the principles covered earlier and apply them together for effective voice and speech production
  • Become aware of some aspects of basic vocal care that one can practise in daily life to achieve and maintain vocal health



Voice work/training takes time to be imbibed through long practice. Within the duration of this short workshop, I will be raising the participants’ awareness of certain principles of voice work, rather than aiming to effect a permanent change in their habitual use of voice and speech. Nevertheless, the workshop should heighten the participants’ consciousness in such a way that they will be able to subsequently monitor how they use their voice and make some adjustments for more effective voice usage if necessary.

About the Facilitator

Verena Tay has spent more than 25 years acting, directing and writing for Singaporean English-language theatre. She has three published collections of plays and is now working on her debut novel and first volume of short stories. In addition, Verena is an active storyteller-cum-storytelling coach and a co-founder of MoonShadow Stories. Possessing an MA in Voice Studies (Central School of Speech and Drama, 2005) and an MA in English Literature (National University of Singapore, 1993), she has been helping people to improve their communication skills since 2001 and currently teaches voice, speech and presentation skills at various local institutions. For more information about Verena, please visit www.verenatay.com.