The Voice tells who, and how, we are ...
I've used voice throughout my working life: trained as a French teacher in the 70s and as a therapist in the 90s; worked as an actor in rep & community theatre; taught English while living in France; and I now teach voice - and sing.
For the past 14 years I've been a voice teacher in the transgender community, both for the NHS and in my own private practice in Leeds. (Since March 2020 all my teaching work has moved on to Zoom.)
Voice Work – as I first encountered it in 1985 via The Roy Hart Theatre – has been vital to me, both as a creative tool and as a means of developing authentic self-expression. It's coloured all my subsequent work, whether running voice workshops, teaching voice in the trans community, working as a counsellor, or as singer/ performer.
Maggi is incredibly good at creating a 'safe space’ and building trust and confidence.
Maggi delivers, with passion, humour and great subtlety.
An amazing personal teacher, her enthusiasm, passion and care shine through and inspire me.
In my primary school there was a piano in the hall where we sat on shiny worn parquet and sang Good morning Mr Hedgehog; in junior school there was a piano in the classroom, which Miss Gladys K. Smith played every day, and we sang. We sang hymns and carols, we sang along to Singing Together on the radio on Monday mornings, we sang sea shanties and songs about Spanish maids and dead vicars; and I sang at Sunday school and in chapel and in village pantomimes, and later in Gilbert and Sullivan shows and choirs at secondary school.
And I never thought to wonder 'How do I sing?' The sense that my voice and singing were simply 'there' followed me into adulthood.
Then in 1985 The Roy Hart Theatre Company gave me a glimpse into an entirely different way of approaching this 'instrument' I'd been taking for granted for the previous 25 years.
I heard men singing in glorious unfettered 'soprano', and women in profound depths, and I experienced a strong connection between voice and body. I exhausted myself physically, heard unimagined sounds in my voice and developed a curiosity about what else may lay there undiscovered.
After more courses and theatre productions I took a 20-year break from singing and performing, to bring up my daughter, live in the country and teach English in France, and to train and work as a therapeutic counsellor. But I missed that connection with my voice, and all those surprising sounds.
In 2006 I was awarded a grant from The Arts Council to do more training with the The Roy Hart Theatre (by then The Centre Artistique International Roy Hart, or CAIRH) on the understanding I then run workshops in the UK based on what I'd learnt.
Back at Malérargues after this long break, my questions were Can I still sing? And if so, what do I want to sing?
I found some answers and, seduced by the poetry of Jacques Brel and the passion of Edith Piaf, I began singing again – this time without the safety net of theatre and character, but simply as myself. The pleasure of live performing began to outweigh the terror, and I knew I was doing the right thing!
Studio Theatre at the
CENTRE ARTISTIQUE INTERNATIONAL ROY HART