For weeks I was not making any progress in my speaking voice class. I watched my classmates voices become free, clear, and resonate. Mine wouldn’t change, I felt like a black sheep. With Kevin’s prompting, I added bells, a squeeze horn, to my electric bicycle. Think Pee Wee’s bicycle from Pee Wee’s Playhouse, but yellow instead of red. As I rode through Arezzo, I practiced my vocal lessons and combined sounds from the bells with my vocal lessons. It was absurdly ridiculous. Kevin encouraged me to keep practicing, to practice on that bicycle, and to find joy in rehearsal. It worked! I know that without Kevin’s non traditional teaching approaches I would have stayed locked in my vocal habitual.
You are and will always be one of the best and favourite teachers I have ever had. Your generous spirit and firm yet fluid approach to teaching has ever been an example to me as a teacher and one of the best experiences I’ve had as a student and has informed my own teaching style with students in ways I could have never predicted. Your ability to laugh in the classroom, to firmly instruct on technique, but most of all the explore ceaselessly and be frank and open with students when you weren’t sure of the answers–all of these have been such precious moments for me and have fed my love of the voice and the exploration thereof.
Thank you for being willing to say ‘I have no idea,’ in a classroom. You have enabled me to say the same to my own students and to be more comfortable with my own not-knowing. Thank you for allowing such a generous space for serious play, contemplation, and exploration.
I was immediately struck by his depth of insight into vocal pedagogy and its connection to performance.His experience as a founder member of the ground-breaking and influential Roy Hart Theatre group and his subsequent work as a theatre artist and pedagogue exploring the interdisciplinary connections between voice, movement and performance gave him a unique perspective on all aspects of theatre and the performing arts.
Kevin is an extraordinary teacher, director and performer. His approach is a unique synthesis of voice, singing, text and bodywork which he has evolved over many years. It extends the performers range and expressiveness through a combination of rigorous technical and imaginative exercises.
Kevin is acutely perceptive, he is able to intuit the needs of the individual within the group and guide them towards a more fully embodied performance. He is never perscriptive, but allows the space and time for creative exploration. As a director Kevin is innovative and exciting. He is both challenging and supportive and produces performances that are fresh and alive. His production of The Bacchae at Trinity was one fo the finest ensemble productions in the course of their training.
Every so often you meet someone who will have a lasting resonance on your life, someone who will play a pivotal role in changing and defining the path that you are on. A little over ten years after I first met Kevin, it becomes ever more clear that his impact continues to resonate for me. I will come back to the word resonant, as I’m sure that anyone who kows Kevin will agree that it is very fitting for him.
Kevin’s way of working was completely new and fascinating to me; I’d never met anyone quite like him! My university graduation was fast approaching and though I had enjoyed my studies, I felt like I needed some more, in depth vocal and physical training if I were to succeed in the industry. The accademia was in the process of setting up a new MFA degree in physical theatre, where Kevin would work as programme director, vocal tutor and student mentor. After a weekend of working with Kevin, the prospect of spending two years training in this way seemed like a dream; a dream that was to become a reality.
Kevin taught me how to listen, how to breathe and how to resonate. These aren’t things that I learnt over night, of course, or even over the course of two and a bit years studying at the ADA, but things that I am continuing explore and apply in my career. Kevin helped me to grow roots and to find my wings within my practice. He taught me about language, sound, rhythm, breath and space; about presence, movement, musicality, poetry and resonance; and about the possibilities within and connection between the voice and the body. The vocal body. And did I mention resonance?
Before I met Kevin I’m not sure I understood what real listening looked like. I certainly had no idea what it really meant it be present and resonant in time and in space. Listening is something that we humans are very good at pretending to do, but a lot of the time our mind is elsewhere: wondering what to have for dinner; worrying about a deadline; or already on to the next point that we want to make. Kevin, on the other hand, is someone who truly listens. Not just with his ears, but with his entire self; and he doesn’t just listen, but also responds and reacts. Kevin is a special kind of teacher who, rather than giving you the answers, will help you to trust your own instincts and explore the questions and possibilities that arise along the way. During the course of cohort one’s studies, Kevin was constantly listening to the students, taking on and responding to our feedback.
I truly have nothing more than gratitude for every moment spent in Kevin’s company. The support I received from him, both in and out of the studio, was a gift: everyday conversations, honest advice in mentoring, collaborative chats regarding how we could best serve the entire cohort; kind suggestions to slow down during stressful moments, and even driving me to the hospital after I was in an accident and staying by my side for hours. Kevin cares about us as human beings and as artists. Artistically, he creates space. He allowed me to research my own vocal abilities and limitations, pushed me in moments when I was afraid, found unique entry points to open what was closed, energized me with sincerity and laughter, and since I come from a dance background, Kevin ultimately gave me a tool I didn’t believe I had… my voice.
What impact has he had on your cohort as a whole?
In the studio Kevin’s instruction is concise and organized with a clear trajectory, yet his instincts are unique and he is able to deviate from his plan when necessary. He searches for the right tools for each of us and tries different doors until we open. I believe he pushed us to new and strange places, gave us the skills to develop on our own, and overall united us as a group. Sometimes I wish he would have kicked our asses a little more, but that’s just me.