WhatsOnStage Logo
Home link
Theatre News

Cicely Berry dies aged 92

The legendary voice coach Cicely Berry had a huge impact on performers across the world

Cicely Berry
© RSC

Cicely Berry, the legendary voice coach whose seminal work at the RSC revolutionised how actors thought of their voices, has died at the age of 92.

She died in her sleep on Monday night in Cornwall, where she lived in a care home.

Gregory Doran, artistic director of the RSC released a tribute to Berry, saying "She was frequently described as the RSC's legendary voice guru, and though she always hated that description, it describes her perfectly."

She joined the RSC in 1969 and became head of voice the year after, during Trevor Nunn's artistic directorship. She also worked at Central School of Speech and Drama and worked in countries including Korea, Russia and Asia. She also worked as a dialogue coach on The Last Emperor and Stealing Beauty.

Doran said: "She had a founding role in the tradition of modern voice teaching, and her influence today, not only on the acting community, in this country and around the world; and on generations of directors; but on the way we transform young lives by introducing her rehearsal working methods into the classroom through our education work, is immense.

"Her last encounter with the acting company was on the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre conducting a warm up for the press night of my own production of The Tempest in 2016. Sparrow-thin and supported on her stick, she had the actors running around the space connecting to every corner of the theatre, filling their breath down into their lungs, and deep into their bodies, preparing them to connect to the language and honour the task before them."

Her books include Voice and the Actor, Your Voice and How to Use It and Text in Action.