Voice Work & the Acting Craft: Conversation with Will Edgerton

This episode is part of a series where I talk with actors I’ve worked with about how they incorporate voice work into their craft. In this episode, I talk with Will Edgerton. Will is an actor originally from Wigan, who trained at ArtsEducational Schools London. He is currently in rehearsals to make his professional debut playing Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet at the Globe this summer, directed by Ola Ince. 

Will and I start by talking about his experience with adapting vocally to working in a large outdoor theatre space where you have to compete with the elements and random surprises, like helicopters overhead or a pigeon landing on stage. This evolved into a rich discussion of how voice and text work have helped Will find presence, confidence and a deep listening to to his character’s experience from a compassionate lens. 

Themes that come up from our conversation are:

— Why, when rehearsing and performing outdoors, it’s not so useful to think about volume and what you can do instead to stay safe vocally while being true to your character’s experience

— How important acknowledging your environment is as part of your performance and how that can help you develop a greater sense of ease, of listening and embracing the present moment that makes it easier to sustain the athletic vocal work that outdoor performance requires (Will tells a great story about working with a pigeon that landed on stage)

— What does it mean to be “in character”? We talk about how this idea can sometimes cause actors to get more tense and held and less present with what’s actually happening. We also talk about the difference between character tensions and actor tensions. 

— Demystifying the note to “drop the breath”

—Will defines two pillars for how voice and text work are a key way into character: the voice work gives you a receptivity to the text and to the present moment. The text work  gives you a sense of the rhythm of how the character breathes and speaks, which helps you experience how the character feels. 

This one is a super interesting episode for professional actors, actors in training, or anyone who is interested in what the craft of acting is all about.