Ruth Mitchell

The power of a yawn

With Dr Simon Raybould, Curved Vision TheatreI’ve been working lots recently for Dance City, on their “DanciNG the World!” festival. Their space isn’t big (it seats only about 250), but when it’s empty it’s very echo-y. That makes talking to each other from opposite sides of the space much more tricky than it sounds and as some of the calls we give each other are very similar it’s important to get it right: “fifteen at five” can sound very similar to “fifty at nine”!The trick lies in the very best use of your lips to make sure your diction is as good as you can get it. There’s no point in being heard when you’re addressing a big group of people if you’re not heard clearly. Your audience will assume it’s your fault, even if it’s just bad acoustics. The tip? Yawn huuuugely before you start to talk, to stretch the right bits of your face and then ‘over pronounce’ things. I promise you, you’re not likely to go too far - and you’re certainly less likely to go over the top than you are to be under-defined, so the odds are on your side.As ever, questions and comments or requests about courses to me at

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