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The Active Centre

Integrative Training for the Voice and Body by Robert Lewis (e-book + 2 DVDs)

Year: 2014, 8.5 mins
Code: RL-ActivePt1

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e-Book:   The e-Book demonstrates a series of exercises developed by the Voice Theatre Lab that consolidates the body and the voice in order to prime the performer to perform to the best of their ability. The body and the voice are interconnected; they need to work together - they also need to work against each other as well.

Part 1: Ultrasound demonstrations using selected exercises from The Active Centre

Part 2: Profuge - adapted from Christopher Marlowe’s Dr Faustus, performed by Voice Theatre Lab, 2011

Performing is not an easy feat. There are many things going on when performing: remembering dialogue, lyrics and moves while making them fresh performance after performance; being aware of the audience, but not making it obvious that you are aware of them; being aware of themselves in space and time, but making sure that the ‘ego’ is out of the way; and allowing that conscious mind to step aside during performance so that a more interesting unconscious presence emerges, but on the other hand, not losing it all together, as it is necessary for monitoring the performance in order to gage its success (or failure). Take all that into account and then add a little bit of nerves.
The voice, whilst placed under a lot of external stress (performance pressures and of course, physical intensity), needs to sound as free as possible. This in itself is a contradiction. The exercises in this book explore some of these contradictions, particularly the notion that the voice must be clear and expressive even though the body is placed under a certain amount physical intensity.


Voice Theatre Lab is housed at the Academy of the Arts, Launceston. It is a laboratory; it explores and develops rigorous and highly energized physical and vocal training methods, fusing contemporary East and West theatre practices to create a physio-vocal training aesthetic. Voice Theatre Lab are not bound by the semantic meaning of words. The freedom from not having connections to meaning enables performers to explore a range of concrete and abstract elements.

Robert Lewis, Lecturer in Voice and Theatre, and Theatre Sub-Dean, is a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), University of Tasmania, Monash University and RMIT. Robert is the director of the Voice Theatre Lab, a performance group focusing on physio-vocal practice and research. Some of the productions include ‘Dr Faustus’, ‘5’ (both published on DVD, distributed through Artfilms), ‘Tetractys', ‘The Oedipus Project’ and 'Iam Nocte'.

Marie-Louise Bird, PhD, Dip Ed, MAPA is a physiotherapist, University academic and Pilates instructor. She has worked clinically as a physiotherapist in rural and regional settings in Tasmania, Australia. She has been employed at the University of Tasmania for 15 years teaching anatomy, biomechanics, and neuroscience. Over the last 8 years her research interests have included physical activity and exercise interventions for older adults, resulting in several publications on Pilates and balance including international presentations in Japan, Australia and Scotland. 

Joan Melton, PhD, ADVS, is a pioneer in the integration of singing techniques and voice/movement training for the actor. The author of two major textbooks, One Voice: Integrating Singing and Theatre Voice Techniques, with Kenneth Tom, PhD (2nd ed., Waveland 2012), and Singing in Musical Theatre: The Training of Singers and Actors (Allworth 2007), she has worked as a performer, composer, voice coach and/or music director on productions in virtually all media. Joan has taught at leading centres of drama and music in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, and NZ, and currently heads major research projects in the US and Australia. Visit her website at

Sara Redman is a mentor, coach, facilitator, speaker, MC, and author. Her key areas of expertise are strategy and leadership, workplace culture, and corporate wellbeing. Sara has devoted the last ten years of her life to honing a unique approach to people development. This approach is based on wisdom collected from thousands of years of human development and refined to ensure specific results for the way in which we live and work today. Sara’s unique approach encompasses many facets people development, but revolves primarily around personal accountability, self awareness, and inspiration. Sara holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Honours), is an accredited Life Coach and a Pilates Instructor. Her corporate career spans more than two decades; over which time she has helped hundreds of businesses and individuals unlock their potential and realise positive change.

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