Kristin Linklater, the world renowned voice coach, who has worked on voice and performance skills with the likes of Donald Sutherland, Sigourney Weaver and Bill Murray came to Cove Park in April 2011. She has developed her own method, called Freeing the Natural Voice, which is now taught all over the world. It is not about projection, but about using and freeing the speaker’s own natural voice to give a properly authentic performance.

Kristin has a particular interest in poetry and wanted to bring her method to poets, using Cove Park to work with a maximum of eight over one week. Cove Park is ideally suited to this providing an inspirational setting, along with an environment that allows for intensive work. To our knowledge nothing of this sort had ever been offered to poets before, and it represents a most timely as well as unique opportunity.

Poetry is at heart an oral art, and poets reading their work well can transform the experience for an audience. Opportunities for poets to read their work have burgeoned in recent years, and reading aloud now represents the main way a poet becomes known in the early stages. Some poets are good performers, but often the expectation is for poetry performance to be closer to stand-up than it is to expressing in the poet’s own voice the full meaning of their work. Kristin Linklater’s method is not about set-lists nor how to ‘chat’ between poems nor introduce work. It is about accessing the full meaning of the poem and speaking it as only the poet can.

The poets who took part (from left to right) are Andrew Philip, Kristin Linklater, Polly Clark, Ros Barber, Liz Berry, Michael Pedersen and Clare Pollard and Gerry Cambridge (who took this photograph). The project was filmed by Pamela Robertson Pearce.

We are very grateful to Creative Scotland who funded this project.