Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Performing Arts)

School

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

Faculty

Faculty of Education and the Arts

First Advisor

Dr Lyndall Adams

Second Advisor

Julia Moody

Abstract

This masters research examines accent and dialect training for actors in the Western Australian context and seeks an understanding about what aural, embodied and cognitive attributes an actor needs in order to move from one accent to another. In particular, this research explores the characteristics of Australian dialects as grounds for the acquisition of the Standard British accent or Received Pronunciation.

The purpose of this research was to identify the expertise required when teaching an accent to acting students in pre-professional levels of tertiary training. This practice-led approach to the research included interviewing, observation, the circulation of questionnaires, and my own reflective practice as a voice and dialect coach on several stage productions. The participants for this research included experts in the field of vocal and dialect training, students at two tertiary institutions in Western Australia, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and Curtin University’s production of Dear Charlotte, in 2013.

This thesis presents an analysis and research findings of vocal awakenings spring-boarding from working on the play, Dear Charlotte, a practical component of this research. The research has confirmed the benefits of phonetics as an important aspect of accent acquisition. The discussion focuses on the techniques used and the challenges actors face when making the shift from their idiolects to Received Pronunciation. It outlines the importance of an actor’s cognition, listening, and embodiment as facets of voice that need attention when making accent and dialect shifts. In addition to the process of enhancing and enriching my own practice as a voice and dialect coach, this research aims to contribute to understandings of accent and dialect training and the diversity of the needs from the perspective of Western Australian actors.

Available for download on Friday, November 23, 2018

Included in

Acting Commons

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