Vocal warm-up #4 - Articulation

Running time: 4.22mins

Film maker: Mike Marriage

The theatres at the National require a vocal focus on articulation. First Jeannette gets the actors to move their lips around, and then gives the tongue a good work-out. After relaxing the jaw and reminding the actors of the need for good support, she gets them to repeat the sounds 'da, da, da' and 'ta, ta, ta' very quickly. Jeannette's further selection of other sounds to repeat will, over time, build up an actor's ability to articulate clearly. In addition to being part of their continual training, it's also something they need to do every night before a performance.

People featured in this video: Jeannette Nelson (Head of Voice), Sioned Jones (Actor), Chris Saul (Actor)


Vocal exercises are part of an actor’s working life. In ancient Greek times, it was the greatest orators, those with the physical gift of a beautiful voice and a strong diaphragm, that were the actors and public speakers. There are references in some Shakespeare's plays to the vocal exercising of an actor before performance and the importance of enunciation and volume. There are many types of vocal exercises, and each addresses a different part of the vocal mechanism. You can look at each component as a cog in a machine that, when put together, will aid understandable and natural sounding speech that can easily be heard at the back of an auditorium. In this collection Jeannette Nelson, Head of Voice, takes actors through a warm up and a series of exercises typical for actors in rehearsal at the National Theatre.