New grantee Raechyl French.

The Ian Potter Cultural Trust 7 Dec 2022

Raechyl French

Raechyl French will undertake the Lessac Kinesensics Intensive, a three-week voice workshop, at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Raechyl French is a New Zealand-born, Australian-raised voice and text coach based in Sydney.

Through teaching at NIDA and private coaching, Raechyl supports others in cultivating a greater understanding of vocal expression and a dynamic range of vocal abilities.

Supported by a Cultural Trust grant, Raechyl will undertake the Lessac Kinesensics Intensive, a three-week voice workshop, at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

How would you describe your current practice?

I have been a professional voice coach since gaining my Master of Fine Arts: Voice in 2021 from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). I am a self-employed coach available for private client hire, production, and institutional coaching. I primarily coach online and specialise in accent and dialect training and vocal development for performers.

As an early career practitioner, much of my work has arisen through word-of-mouth referrals and developing industry connections with fellow NIDA alums and other creatives. I am employed at NIDA as a casual Voice Lecturer, teaching regular classes since April 2022 in Accents and Dialects, Phonetics and Texts for the Bachelor of Fine Arts: Acting. My career is supported by drama teaching for children and young people through NIDA Open, Brent Street Performing Arts, and Sydney Performance Academy.

In my practice, I have freelanced in voice-over and acting work since 2016, with my current portfolio built upon independent theatre productions, corporate role-play, voicing audiobooks, commercial acting and voice-over, and corporate video narrations. I continually develop my performance skills through regular acting classes, workshops, and masterclasses in Australia and online.

What does the Lessac Kinesensics Intensive entail?

This workshop offers specialised training in the Lessac vocal training designation through a 135-hour course delivered across three weeks at the University of Pretoria. As outlined on the Lessac website, 'Lessac Training is voice, speech and movement training that uses the body and vocal energy states to reveal the inner wisdom and largely untapped reservoir of creativity, knowledge, spirit, and perceptive awareness we all have…'. The course operates as a formative element for participants seeking Lessac certification. The course will be run by Master Trainer Dr Marth Munro, a published author and professor in the Drama Department at the University of Pretoria. Participants are typically fellow voice pedagogues, actors and other performers, speech specialists, professional communicators, theatre students, directors, and other performance professionals.

My need to travel emerges from the workshop no longer occurring in an Australian locale. Through my Master of Fine Arts: Voice, the Lessac Kinesensics Intensive workshop was scheduled for delivery at NIDA by US Master Trainer Nancy Krebs in mid-2020. Due to the pandemic, the workshop was canceled.

The South African workshop actions decolonial practices, inviting world languages into the workshop and attracting a broad scope of cultural participation, which is of high interest to my philosophical and practical focus on diversity and inclusion in vocal skills training.

How do you hope to advance your artistic practice?

As an early career practitioner, I seek new skills and knowledge to extend my voice coaching abilities. I set high personal expectations within my work and strive to introduce innovative, informed, inclusive, dynamic, and diversity-supporting methods into my practice. Undertaking the Lessac Kinesensics Training at this stage in my career will hone and cultivate further skills in Lessac vocal training, which is the foundational voice methodology in NIDA BFA Acting training.

This professional development will expand my global networks and prospective employment opportunities at NIDA, which became my primary employer in 2022, and open opportunities for broader industry and institutional engagement. While my current contracted courses reflect my specialty areas, enhancing my body-led practice supports my development as a holistic voice coach better to serve my wide variety of clients and students. In my arts practice, it is widely acknowledged that creativity and effective vocal technique resides in physical freedom. Training in the Lessac Kinesensics body-led practice will inform my vocal expressivity, a skill I wish to grow in my current repertoire.