A review from first year actor from a private school

I just wanted to say thank you for teaching us all the beautiful lessons not only in voice work and acting but also life. You truly are a beautiful soul and even though at times you are very hard core, it pays off for a good performance. You have helped me grow exponentially in the confidence within myself as a person and also my voice as an actor. Your harsh criticism is what makes you one of the best because we know we truly have someone who cares about us and our careers, helping and guiding us to be the better versions of ourselves. Thank you, thank you, thank you Dianne!
Much Love, Chelsea x



An Actors Guide to Safe Stage Laughter

1. Rest and hydrate all through your run.

2. Warm up your voice before the show.

3. Maintain supported breath in an open chest, throat, and vowel space — the more relaxed your system, the less stress on it!

4. Gentle on the inhale — laughing is a breathing pattern, and the inhales can be short and sharp. If you can inhale through your nose, do so.

5. Start slow and low — give yourself somewhere to go.

6. Take breaks in the laughter — don’t “freight train” the work. Stop and sigh it out throughout. This also keeps the laughs natural.

7. Make sure the text is understood — this will put focus on the words and not the laughter, and help you treat the laughs lightly. The words matter more.

8. A little bit of hysterical laughing goes a long way — you don’t really need to sell it as hard as you think.

9. Reset with a sigh — a beautiful series of happy exhales of relief can “reset” the body, breath and ribs so you’re ready to move into the next moment.

10. Ramp up slowly — return to natural conversation with your breath supported, and your chest, throat and vowel space open and relaxed.



  • Stand,  say a few lines of something  or count just as a test.  Yup, there is your normal voice, (maybe it’s a voice you don’t much like).
  • Then, press the heels of your hands together quite strongly in front of you.  Press them in parallel, not like you are saying a prayer. When you do that, you will feel two little pieces of  movement involving your ribs and your pelvic floor.
  • Keep pressing (watch you don’t include shoulder effort) and now repeat the lines or count.  This time you will “feel” and hear  your voice in a new way.

The big jump in improving your vocal skills is learning how to feel your voice. .  You will like it more if you understand how it works and can feel it in your bones.  Try it.  Dx

Julius Caesar could not pronounce his “v”

Why Julius Caesar could not say the sound “v”

Scholars have always believed that his famous phrase “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) was pronounded “weni, widi, wici”.   However, scientists now claim humans have only been able to pronounce the letters “v” and “f” relatively recently because our hunter-gathered ancestors had worn down teeth through chewing hard meat and bones. A much softer diet has led to an overbite which allows “v” and “f” sounds by touching the lower lips to the top teeth.

Now, I know that information does not shake your world  and it may not be true (and I don’t much care whether it is or not) but I found it an interesting enough thought to share with you.

Full physical and emotional voice work out in 2 minutes

There are heaps of voice exercises out there on social media. I was thinking that one of the things I tell my students and clients is that we must not take our selves too seriously.  Voice and speech work should be fun.  I have been teaching actors and worrying about how to help them enter the profession, and being very serious.  I’ve just seen something on the web that make me laugh.  I did the exercises and they work.  I want to share them with people who care. I don’t know who posted it but thank you very much.

the very best voice exercise you will ever do

Your best voice is  clear, intelligible and effortless.  You want people to listen to what you say, not listen to your voice.  When you are making a speech, you will feel more confident if you do this exercise about 30 minutes before.  Actors love it.

*Slide your tongue, flatly, out of your mouth so it rests on your lower lip. Keep it there as you speak you first  one or two sentences.  Use your lips so that you can be understood, (you just sound very strange and it is also quite a big effort.) Make sure you don’t push your head forward and that you continue to breathe low.  Speak with strong meaning and intention so that you don’t sound like a robot.  I should be able to follow you as you do this.

*Then, let the tongue slide back into the bottom of your mouth (where it wants to be)  and repeat those same sentences. You will find that, because you have stretched the muscles at the back of the tongue, the tongue is happier, faster, more specific in its movements.  You


will feel that it is just so easy to say the words.  As Shakespeare said your words will be …..trippingly on the tongue.

Try it and let me know.



Voice, speech, acting, presentations, self-confidence, voice health –  pictures and thoughts on these topics  and everything that surrounds them fill my life.   I am constantly discussing something with myself.    I am a self-blogger.  But, today I am going public.  

What does the term vocal branding mean?

Our voice and your vocal presence is our Brand.   Here is my Brand.   I spent a considerable amount of money and angst having someone design a brand for me, and it turned out to be just my name!   I thought at first it was a little too easy and too self-promoting.   (That was poor self-blogging). Then I thought, well that’s the way it is!  My brand  is my name and experience and expertise.   My voice in the world is my brand.   While that buzz word might disappear in a year or two, what won’t change is the fact that  I see every day that poor communication skills or poor self knowledge can limit our world.

Consider this fact:  the moment we speak, our listeners make a quick judgment, (from their personal catalogue of judgements, likes and dislikes), of who we are, and where we stand in the pecking order of their life.    They do that little check  before they listen to what we are saying. Observe yourself  for a short time and catch yourself doing just that.

Our brand (our professional reputation really) is under our control  and people in the corporate world  seek out  professional voice coaches.     What limiting elements of your life might a voice coach be able to explain and make disappear?   Vocal Knowledge guides us to the next level of personal competence and confidence.  What if we stepped  up to the self we could be? What would be your brand if you did this?

When I first found my voice, I cried and laughed, and laughed and cried and, even today, many years later, that moment remains an emotional trigger.  I can recall it in an instant  and feel the wet eyes again.   Somewhere at school I learned that to speak out was to invite hurtful retaliation from a very unpleasant teacher.   Instead, I learned to be funny and pleasant.  That limitation didn’t work for my life  of course and so the journey to find my voice began.  Finally, I learned that it was ok to speak my own mind : that it was safe for me to speak.  That, I now see,  was the first step in finding my brand.  Searching for my authentic voice was, and still is,  challenging, fun and most of all, joyous. 

Here are some questions  that might interest you?  Do you like the sound of your  voice?   How many voices do you have?  (e.g. One for  your friends, one for intimate relationships, one for your boss, one that you use when you meet powerful people?)  Even reading those terms might cause feelings and reactions.   If they do it’s because the answers  tend to ask you to consider your value system,  and your personal politics.  You face these issues when you begin to unearth the narrative about yourself.   And, your narrative is likely to be limiting.   Do you glimpse a more freeing way of speaking about yourself? How can any of us resist a new narrative?     AND it’s all about our  breath. 

When you walk into a group, how do you sense who is the most powerful person in the room?   I suspect you will choose the person who is most deeply and calmly connected with breath.    (That brings up the idea of presence, which is for another blog. )   Enough.

Homework:  Would you please think of a word that describes your relationship to your voice?  Mine is vital but I’ve used that same word for years and I think I should find another.  I would be thrilled  to know your word.  I am a self-conscious first time blogger and need some encouragement.    Thank you.  D


Anna Mulheran Actor, Sydney

I have come so far, and I am so proud of myself.And…It’s thanks to great people like you Di xx

For believing in me, for taking me under your wing…for putting up with my acting and all my talking , for just making time for me.

And for as long as you’ll have me, I will continue to stay in touch ( through Skype now)  and seek your golden knowledge and wisdom that I greatly look up to and value xx  A