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"I was constantly impressed by Anna-Helena's ability to offer an approach that was both rigorous and inclusive. Her effervescent personality radiated care and warmth in her teaching style and interactions with the students. She was and remains a popular figure amongst staff and students on the Acting Studies Programme. I could rely on Anna to deliver a class that would technically exceed expectations and ensure that the teaching was of the highest possible standard.
During her two years with us, Anna's interdisciplinary approach brought a freshness to the vocal training that transformed the student's relationship with musicality and their voices. Her physiovocal approach supported the students to understand more deeply the connection between movement, voice and acting without compromising on vocal technique.
I was often inspired by Anna’s engagement with research that ensured she had the latest developments in her field at her fingertips. This gave her teaching a continuous relevance and an impressive balance of enquiry and expertise.
Anna was always extremely professional and considerate in her interactions with both staff and students at the school. I shared so many broad, stimulating and thrilling conversations with Anna, ranging from topics such as inclusivity in voice, gender, pedagogy, theatre making, musicality, rhythm, breath and text. She was a constant source of intellectual nourishment and ideas surrounding her field.
We worked closely developing the vocal offer for the students. Anna’s methodology allowed her to remain agile and tune in to the students' specific needs. The work was challenging and demanding on the group, bringing a vital alertness and clarity to their listening, and thereby deepening their attention and concentration in their work. Her feedback was always clear, concise and communicated Anna’s ensemble practice allowed for a togetherness without losing the importance of individual and personal development"
Head of Acting Studies, Guildhall School March 2023
Founding Artistic Director: Moon Fool (An umbrella organisation for ACT INTERNATIONAL Voice, Researcher, Residencies and Performances and The Identity Choir which centres access, diversity and inclusion).
Moon Fool is currently funded by Arts Council England as Associate Company-in-Residence with Icarus Theatre Collective.
- 2019-present: Doctoral candidate in Performance Practice (Drama) at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama
- 1997-2000: Borderline 1:1 BA Hons Degree in Drama, Theatre Studies and Music, Royal Holloway, University of London
- 1995-1997: ‘A’ Levels in Art, English Literature and Music, ‘AS’ Level in English Language, Music scholarship student at Truro School, Truro, Cornwall
- 1996: Distinction, Grade 8 Cello. ABRSM
- 1996: National Youth Theatre and 1st cellist in the Cornwall Youth Orchestra
- 1996: Gold Medal Acting. LAMDA
- 1995: Distinction, Grade 6 Piano. ABRSM
- 1995: Merit, Grade 6 Music Theory. ABRSM
SELECT EMPLOYMENT HISTORY:
2022: Featured Presenter at the VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers Association) 36th Annual Conference in California with The Voice Lesson - A Performative Essay supported by VASTA associates Erin Nicole Washington (EDI+ Rep, dialect coach) and Sarah Nichols (Junior Rep, dialect coach).
2022 & 2023: Britten Pears Residency Artist 2022 developing a split-stage, multimedia solo The Voice Lesson - A Performative Essay and 2023 with an Immersive 4-hander Opera, Orlando Descends (funded by Arts Council England). The Voice Lesson film was selected for Snape Maltings Festival of the New Sept 2022.
2021 - 2023: Voice Tutor The ACT-ing Voice One-on-one private voice coaching for actors, performers and ACT Ensemble trainees both online and in-person out of various private studios in London and South East UK.
2021: Composer/Performer I, Sappho Solo Performance as Research at Barbican's The Pit Theatre
2021: External Examiner and Supervisor MA Classical Acting at Central School of Speech and Drama.
2021: Voice Tutor (2-year contract) on the BA Hons Acting Studies at Guildhall School of Music & Drama
2020 - 2021: Producer and Voice Tutor Singing Village - bringing us through and beyond the pandemic Virtual choir with international participants over 12 weeks culminating in a livestream concert.
2020: Course validator MA Psychophysical Performance at Huddersfield Uni with Dr. Ben Spatz and Ian Morgan
2019 - 2021: Voice Leader for Resonant Tails (extended voice training for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties produced by Tract and Touch), special schools throughout the UK.
2011 - 2021: Corporate voice, communication and public speaking coach for Springboard Consultancy in USA and Sonata Software, Wow talks, John F Demartini, Alef, West Lexham, Pamela Prather and A Town Explores a Book
2007 - present: Producing Director of ACT INTERNATIONAL - A Voice and Performance Training running independent residential workshops including a British Council workshop tour of India in 2009, and regular freelance placements across USA, Eastern and Mainland Europe and UK. Currently in partnership with rural-set centres including Centro Anidra in Italy (since 2018).
2005 - 2009: Voice Coach and co-Director Archetypes in Shakespeare (voice and performance training combining Gardzienice’s ‘Mutuality’ with Fitzmaurice voicework). International touring with Pamela Prather former (VASTA President) including Yale School of Drama, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, National Theatre of Scotland.
2004 - present: Lecturer in Voice, Extended Voice, Vocal Performance and Voice-led Ensemble work across Universities Exeter, Falmouth, Huddersfield, Kent, Northampton, Plymouth, Wolverhampton; Colleges incl. Rose Bruford, Volda Uni Norway, Edinburgh Scotland, SUNY Purchase NYC; Drama Schools incl. National School of Drama Delhi, DePaul School of Theatre Chicago, Yale School of Drama NYC, Central School of Speech and Drama, Fourth Monkey, East 15, Circomedia, No Filter Salon:Collective.
2000 - 2007: Senior Voice Tutor, programme leader, actor-musician and music director, Gardzienice Centre for Theatre Practices, The Gardzienice Academy for Theatre Practices and the Ancient Greek Orchestra (Orkiestra Antyczna), Poland.
2023: Director and Performer in Orlando Descends - an Immersive Opera due to premiere at Britten Pears Studio (part of Britten Pears Artist Residency programme 2023, funded by Arts Council England and private donors).
2018 - 2021: Co-creative, Extended Vocal Performer in a 2-person dance-Opera for kids, The Wig Show with Voiceturgy & Direction by Yvon Bonenfant (The Place London, WELD Sweden, UK Schools touring).
2016: Director and Cellist Madame Butterfly produced by Ignacio Joaquin Productions, London.
2014 - 2015: Director and Composer STORM (An urban reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest) Arts Council England & MacArthur Foundation funded, London & Chicago.
2014 - 2015: Actor-Musician King Charles III multi award-winning West End / Broadway / BBC Radio / BBC4 series drama, produced by Sonia Friedman, dir. by Rupert Goold, London.
2014: Voice and Ensemble coach for the Musical Glasgow Girls, dir. by Cora Bisset, produced by National Theatre of Scotland and Stratford East.
2014: Director STORM for Libraries produced by the Birthplace Trust for Shakespeare Week.
2013: Actor-Musician How to be Immortal produced by Penny Dreadful, dir. by Kirsty Housley (Complicite), UK.
2012 - 2016: Director and Performer Titania - A Solo Cabaret MTN award-nominated. Produced by Chicago Shakespeare, touring nationally & internationally: CPR Giving Voice Festival 2015, Scottish Highlands tour (produced by Helena Richardson) 2014.
2012: Voice Coach Awake Youth a physical & orchestral show about health, for an audience of 1000 school children, Concert Hall Västerås, Sweden.
2011: Core co-creative Peer Gynt with Awake Projects, produced by The North Wall, Oxford.
2011: Composer and Musician Old Roots/New Routes Old Vic New Voices. London Bridge Tunnels.
2010: Director ACT Youth adaptation of Romeo and Juliet British Council funded Workshop tour of India
2009 - 2011: Core co-creative Awake with Jackson’s Lane and The Point, dir. by Christopher Sivertsen, London.
2009 - 2012: Co-creative and Producer ill met by moonlight supported by Trestle Touring & South Hill Park, dir. by Ian Morgan (Song of the Goat, RADA).
2009: Director and Composer Romeo and Juliet with Dawid Zakowski (Studium Teatralne), produced by Teaterhaus Mitte, Berlin.
2008 - 2009: Core co-creative Peer Gynt Novu Sweden 2008; Platform Easterhouse, Scotland 2009
2008: Vocal co-creative Sclavi - Song of an Emigrant with Farm in the Cave, Prague.
2007: Director and Composer The Lear (a new-writing adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear) Arts Council England Funded. The Nightingale Theatre, Brighton.
2007: Voice Coach Nothing Left To Lose Company Collisions, London International Mime Festival
2006: Core co-creative Arquiem Periplum, Royal National Theatre, London.
2006: Core co-creative Yerma dir. by Helena Kowt-Hausen, with Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni, Helen Chadwick.
2004 - 2007: Title role and principal Electra dir. by Wlodzimierz Staniewski, Barbican BITE 2006, Meyerhold Centre Moscow 2004, LaMama ETC NYC and The Getty Centre L.A. 2003.
2002 - 2007: Principal Performer and company voice coach Metamorfozy or The Golden Donkey directed by Wlodzimierz Staniewski, Barbican BITE 2006.
SELECT PRACTICE, PROJECTS AND TRAINING:
- Directing Workshop with Katie Mitchell produced by Clod Ensemble, 2023.
- Intimacy Coordination Stage 1 Training with Ita O’Brien produced by Intimacy on Set, 2021.
- Director ACT Sex Practice-Research workshop series blending on, and offline facilitation, incl. conversations around women in the post-Grotowskian laboratory. The Old Truman Brewery, 2020.
- WOW talks: Words of Wisdom dir. by Gal Stiglitz. Presentation for corporates, London 2013.
- Director National Theatre of Scotland’s Diaspora, Archetypes in Shakespeare, 2012.
- Director Act SEX! Volda University College, Norway, 2011.
- Guest Lead Practitioner British Grotowski Project: Traces with Ian Morgan (RADA), Jade Maravala (ZUUK) and dir. by Dr. Paul Allain. University of Kent, 2008.
- Co-creative I-Thou Project R&D with Dr. Rebecca Loukes, Exeter Uni, 2007.
- Theatre Exchange Platform for research through cross-disciplinary exchange to evolve new performance practices produced by South Street Theatre Reading and funded by Arts Council England, 2004.
- Chronicles: A Lamentation R&D with Song of the Goat theatre, dir. by Grzegorz Bral. Grotowski Institute at Brzezinka in Poland, 1999.
- Iphigenia Workshop with Song of the Goat Theatre, produced by Alison Hodge at Royal Holloway, 1999.
- The Voice Lesson - A Performative Essay featured event at VASTA's (Voice and Speech Trainers Association) 36th Annual conference at Sonoma State University July 2022
- Feminist Tools for promoting agency within in the post-Grotowskian Laboratory TaPRA Conference online Sept 2021
- Inanna - The Technology of Myth multi-mode live presentation of research as part of EVA London Conference, 2019
- Co-presentation Migrations of/in music theatre: Global, Regional, Local Movements as part of IFTR conference in Serbia exploring Theatre, Nation and Identity: Between Migration and Stasis with Demetris Zavros of University of Wolverhampton, 2018
- Persephone a practice as research presentation and multi-modal lecture for Diazoma conference bringing contemporary performance practices to revive ancient sites and as a result invited to perform in the Amphitheatre at Messini by Petros Themelis, Athens, 2017
- Rewilding across disciplines: an interdisciplinary symposium with special guests, film screening and performances, A multi-modal solo lecture-presentation of STORM the performance as research with discussion, 2016
- Laboratory Theatre Network: Big conversations in little rooms: 100 years of solitude research conference, produced by CPR, directed by Richard Gough. A multi-modal solo lecture-presentation of STORM the performance-as-research, taking departure from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, 2015
- Women in Devising - A Conference, directed by Jackie Smart and Alex Mermikides at Kingston University. A work-in-progress showcase of Titania - A Solo Cabaret and conference with Naomi Said, Imogen Knight, Kirsty Housley, Wendy Houstoun and Arti Prashar, 2013
- Co-presenter How does identity play into practice? Interrogating agency, community and wellbeing in workshop facilitation Guildhall Researchworks co-presented online with Sandeep Gurrapadi, 2023
- Feminist tools for promoting agency within the post-Grotowskian laboratory TaPRA Conference online Sept 2021.
- Researcher presenter Voice and Well-Being - A Roundtable Discussion with presentations by Dr. Konstantinos Thomaidis, Dr. Gey Pin ANG, Christina Shewell. Co-facilitator: Dr. Virginie Magnat 2021.
- Co-presenter Migrations of/in music theatre: Global, Regional, Local Movements as part of IFTR conference in Serbia exploring Theatre, Nation and Identity: Between Migration and Stasis with Dr. Demetris Zavros from Uni. of Wolverhampton, 2018.
- Persephone A multi-modal lecture, Diazoma conference dir. by Petros Themelis, Athens 2017.
- Rewilding across disciplines: an interdisciplinary symposium; lecture-presentation of STORM, dir. by Dr. Ben Spatz, Uni. of Huddersfield, 2016.
- Laboratory Theatre Network: Big conversations in little rooms produced by Centre for Performance Research (CPR), dir. by Richard Gough. Solo lecture-presentation of STORM Uni. of Falmouth, 2015.
2023: Contributor The Ethics of Ensemble: Spaces of Safety, Bravery, Accountability and Communities of Disagreement by Dr. Electa Behrens In: Anthology - Intertwinements: Ethics in Art and Research (Routledge).
2022: Contributor Reflections on the 2022 VASTA Conference Converging Pathways by Elisa Gonzales, Rachel Finley & Sarah Nichols in Voice and Speech Review (Routledge).
2020: Contributor Interrogating the practices of Kristin Linklater and Anna-Helena McLean in voice coaching practices Royal Central School of Music and Drama publication by Sarah Nichols (VASTA).
2020: Contributor Training as Vocal Archaeology? by Konstantinos Thomaidis (Theatre, Dance & Performance Training) 2019: Author The Act of Listening: Gardzienice’s Mutuality Training and The ACTing Voice Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Special issue. 10 (3) and blog (http://theatredanceperformancetraining.org/2019/12/the-act-of-listening-gardzienices-mutuality-practice-and-the-acting-voice-a-multimodal-presentation/) (Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Online Blog).
2019: Contributor The always-not-yet / always-already of voice perception: training towards vocal presence Time and Performer Training by Evans, M. Thomaidis, K. and Worth, L. eds. (Routledge).
2015: Contributor Doing What Comes Naturally? Women and Devising in the UK Today. In: Women and Collective Creation Mermikides, A. and Smart, J. (Palgrave).
2014: Author Theatre: Coming of Age. On devising, international exchange and community collaboration with Smart, J. (Total Theatre Magazine).
2013: Contributor Singing from Stones: Physiovocality and Gardzienice’s Theater of Musicality by Konstantinos Thomaidis. In: Gestures of Music Theater: The performativity of song and dance (Oxford University Press),
2012: Co-author Listen… The Actor-Chorus-Text Summer Residency with director-practitioner, Anna-Helena McLean, with Nair, A. In: Reviews (Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Journal).
2004: Contributor Hidden Territories: The Theatre of Gardzienice Staniewski, W. with Hodge, A. (Routledge).
- WOW talks: Words of Wisdom directed by Gal Stiglitz. WOW Talks delivers engaging live events and online video content that inspires people to reconnect with their WHY – their purpose - so they can attain greater fulfilment in their professional lives, London, 2013
FURTHER MUSIC COLLABORATIONS:
As a cellist, composer, session musician and singer Anna-Helena McLean has worked with some of the world’s leading music artists including:
Jocelyn Pook (Eyes Wide Shut), Jason Singh & Lisa Knapp (UK), Theodossi Spasow (Bulgaria), Dizraeli (Rowan Sawday), Eoin Duignan & Tony Small (Ireland), Terez Sliman & Yazan Ibrahim (Palestine), Pallavi Arun (India), Perunika Trio (Serbia/Bulgaria), Rima Fand & Sarah Alden (USA), OKO (Berlin)
She has toured with bands including:
Quietly Torn (produced by Porl Thompson), Megan Wyler (produced by Soundtree Music/Peter Raeburn), Hydra Vocal Trio (NYC), From the Well (Celebrating Sanctuary, SOAS), Tarankhan (produced by Eugenio Bennato, Taranta Power Festival Calabria), Luminescent Orchestrii (USA) with Sxip Shirey (LIMBO, Sydney Opera House), Faun Fables (USA), Le Trio Perdu (Antwerp).
In lockdown she set up a cello duo called 'Phosphera with Rachel Dawson (Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Amelie). Since 2023 she has been developing The The Identity Choir, a partnership with ACT INTERNATIONAL trainees, musician Andrew Cooper and performer Noah Silverstone. This platform combines impromptu live gigs with Andy in their locality in East Sussex (Gallery 4 St. Leonards) as well as outreach to community groups including people with Neurodiversity and PMLD through Project Art Works/Lifesize, Trans/Nonbinary and LGBT+ communities through St. Margaret's House in London, as well as Refugee Women groups through Make Tank Exeter and Disadvantaged Young people through Britten Pears Arts.
OTHER RELATED WORK:
- Voice over Depths an audio immersive story by Dan Horrigan of Dan Horrigan Film Productions.
- Cellist-Singer Bloom Britannia - A new ‘People’s Opera’ by Orlando Gough, dir. by Polly Graham, 2019
- Voice Coach Wild Country Solo performance, dir. by Kirsty Housley (Complicite), 2019.
- Director and Voice Coach Richard III based on Shakespeare’s original play. A new, devised interpretation with able and disAbled actors, produced by Athena Stevens (Olivier Nominated 2019), 2010.
- Opera Circus RnD. Workshop with Frankie Armstrong, Kathryn Hunter, 2008
- Director and Voice Coach Hector a new theatre and music performance with able and disAbled actors, produced by Aegis Productions. Sadler’s Wells London, 2008.
- Shiver and Shiver 2 new films and a performance research project, dir. by Barry Edwards (Brunel Uni), Shunt Lounge London, 2007.
- Arthur Cravan and Mina Loy RnD with Sandy Grierson (RSC) and Vanishing Point Theatre, 2006.
- The Wright School workshop with John Wright, 2004.