I grew up in the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland. I trained as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. The legendary Iris Warren was my voice teacher there. She had developed her own unique approach to training actors’ voices: from inside out rather than outside in. She said: “I want to hear the person, not the voice”
She took me on as a teacher trainee and I subsequently taught for six years at LAMDA. In 1963 I came to the United States and set up my private studio. Between 1964 and 1978 I worked as vocal coach at Stratford, Ontario, the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre, the first Lincoln Center Repertory Company, the Open Theater, the Negro Ensemble, the Manhattan Project etc. I was Master Teacher of Voice in the New York University Graduate Theatre Program (now the Tisch School of the Arts) from 1965 to 1978.
In 1978 I was a co-founder, with Tina Packer, of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. I left New York for the Berkshires with my son Hamish who was two years old. I lived and worked there for the next twelve years and then moved to Boston in 1990 where I taught at Emerson College till 1996. While based in Boston I created and co-directed with Carol Gilligan the Company of Women, an all-female Shakespeare company. We ran workshops for women and girls and produced two all-women plays: Henry V and King Lear. In the fall of ’97 I moved back to New York City as Professor of Theatre Arts at Columbia University.
I have acted: Shakespeare (King Lear, Lady Macbeth, Maria, Queen Margaret, Emilia etc), a few contemporary roles (Collected Stories and some new plays), experimental productions based on Clytemnestra and Ovid’s Metamorphoses and most recently Euripides’ Hecuba. I have written two books: Freeing the Natural Voice first published in 1976 by Drama Publishers and now revised and expanded and re-published in a completely new format, and Freeing Shakespeare’s Voice (pub: 1992 TCG). I have written several articles on voice. I have lectured and given workshops in the U.S., the UK, Europe and Russia. I have trained teachers in my methods who teach in a majority of the actor-training programs in the U.S., and in Australia, England, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Finland, Spain and Russia.
It is important to me that people know that I take teacher-training very seriously. Those who are finally designated as Linklater teachers have undergone between three and five years of training, observing classes and an intensive program conducted by me in the theory and practice of actual teaching.
More detailed information on these subjects will follow.