Cicely Frances Berry CBE (1926 – 2018) was a hugely significant British Voice director whose radical approach to delivering the text using an actor’s physicality had farreaching influence around the world. She grew up in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, with a love of reading poetry aloud. However, it was on her teacher training course at the Central School of Speech and Drama, under the tuition of Gwynneth Thurburn, successor to Elsie Fogerty, where she first began to question the accepted notion of ‘elocution lessons’ and ‘received pronunciation’, developing the idea that the language of a playtext could only come alive when it was fully absorbed by both the mind and body of an actor. She married the actor Harry Moore in 1951 and they had three children. Due to her growing reputation among actors as a voice coach, including the young Sean Connery, she was invited by Trevor Nunn to join the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1969, where she became affectionately known as ‘Cis’ and worked on Peter Brook’s groundbreaking production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the following year.
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