Christopher Cooper – Actor Totnes
Teacher from Laski -Poland
Extraordinary storytelling skills, with potent and versatile voice and gesture. Geoffrey’s powerful and magical imagination overcomes language barriers, speaking directly to the heart of the audience. The landscapes of India and Africa were brought to life in the bare room.
Magnificent, colourful and dynamic storytelling, amongst the best I have seen. The images came alive before me.
‘By bringing a spiritual core element to the work Geoff Norris has pioneered an efficient and very effective system of training and exploration for actors; regardless of their background or acting experience. He embodies and ably demonstrates the principles of energy and how to bring this into the voice and the body. Fusing his origins in Eurythmy and operating from a spiritual foundation Geoff has created a truly unique and dynamic form of training for the modern actor. I always come away enriched and enlightened from Geoff”s classes and have found it works across the board in many forms of acting from TV to Film, and also theatre.’
I was directed by Geoff Norris in PerformInternational’s production of The Tempest at Steiner Theatre. Using the medium of voice and movement Geoff was successful in mining out the many textual devices apparent in Shakespeare’s work that would help actors to realise the piece in performance . As a prolific voice coach he had so much to offer and fellow actors savoured the opportunity to absorb and implement his exercises in rehearsal and preparation. His deep understanding Shakespeare’s story helped me to grasp my fundamental role despite having joined the production quite late. Furthermore, his ability to maintain composure in the face of difficulty also was a great asset to the company.
Working one to one with Geoff even over a short period has given me a connection to and interest in language and sounds which has totally changed the way I perceive my voice and its potential in performance. With a background primarily in physical theatre, I had no foundation in voice work, and was reluctant to engage with it as the few formal exercises I tried had felt very stiff and false. I am grateful for the new power and clarity in my voice but mostly for having acquired a connection to sound in space which I am excited to build on myself in future work.
Working with Geoff was a pleasure. As a director Geoff had qualities which made it easy for an Actor to understand his vision and what he wanted from an Actor, most importantly he was always open for you to be creative, to never hold anything back. Geoff didn’t feel like a director when working on The tempest, he felt more like another member of the cast helping us to achieve what we felt was natural and truthful to us.
Geoff also helped me immensely with audition techniques and monologues privately which proved to become a valuable experience as it helped me get further at Drama school auditions than I had previously achieved
Geoff Norris has a unique way of helping his actors understand some of Shakespeare’s more complex scenarios and or dialogues that his actors might find difficult to tackle. His knowledge of the bard’s works lends him a confidence that his actors can learn from and take with them on stage. I learnt a lot from Geoff when he directed me in The Tempest at the Steiner House and I look forward to working with him again in the future.”
I worked with Geoff of the production of the tempest 2015.
Working with Geoff was a great experience for me as an actor. Geoff is a director with clear ideas, especially when it came to the visual side of the production. His direction helped form clear images which could land with the audience.
The voice and text work I did with Geoff really helped with my thought process. Having a clear understanding of the words and rhythm made it easier to find the character. Geoff’s exercises connects the body and mind, which when it comes to Shakespeare, works better than working from the internal.
I also really got on with Geoff on a personal level, he has a great energy and is eager when it comes to getting up on stage with you. I wouldn’t hesitate on working with Geoff again.
Working with Geoffrey Norris on the Tempest was for me, a reintroduction to stage acting techniques that I very much craved after 15 years of screen acting experience and training. Geoffrey has a good creative mind and clear picture of what he wanted visually on stage. His understanding of placement and blocking meant that actors are very clear where they should be on stage, and stage direction was clear even if it altered from time to time, which is inevitable.
The voice warmups and coaching were of great help and give a good sense of our faculties as human beings and actors, and provide useful tools for our craft on stage.
The atmosphere during rehearsal periods was very good, and the togetherness of our ensemble was second to none. We had a lot of freedom to interact and discuss our roles away from the director, and Geoff is very open to listening to any thoughts we, as actors, had on various things. This meant that the schedule was not always fixed in place, which frustrated some, but allowed freedom for prioritising things that needed work.
I look forward to working together with Geoffrey in the future, and have some great memories of working on the Tempest in the past.
As a performer he delivers a unique and powerful experience to his audience. From a deep understanding of what lies behind and between words arises a force that brings new shape and meaning.
As a director he enables a caste to work together and to bring their optimum to a production, and is particularly skilled in working with groups of mixed ability and experience.
As a lecturer he presents difficult concepts with clarity, engaging with the audience every step of the way.
I loved Geoffrey’s speech and theatre lessons. We were led gradually, step by step, during the course of my classes four year eurythmy training in the Hague, from very simple speech, sound and movement exercises, through haikus, fables, ballads, poetry, storytelling, and drama, in many different languages, to really get hold of our own unique voice and to make alive what we individually or as a group wanted to express.
I not only learnt to become more and more clear in my own use of speech and language, but also to gain strength in gesture and whole bodily expression whilst speaking.
Geoffrey always took care to really be creative out of who were present and what we were working on and he obviously has a sense of what is necessary in the moment. In this sense he would always come up with fantastic new ideas and programs to work on, which really well suited the participants and the circumstances.
Thanks so much for organizing the workshop with Geoff! I came away with more than a handful of incredibly important insights into voice and its relationship with breath and body. A couple of Geoff’s techniques have already proven to be major breakthroughs for me personally, which I will over time be able to explore further with my students.
Geoff opened up a world within the voice that I never knew existed. It showed me that however exciting it is to break the rules through singing or oratory, it really helps to understand those rules as well. I think for anyone who wants to master the creative side of speech, voice and singing work, Geoff’s knowledge and experience can be vital to that journey. Geoff is an inspiring teacher and an athlete of the imagination.
Tim Arnold,-Musician, London
It is my unreserved pleasure to recommend Geoff Norris. I have worked in the performing arts for 31 years as an actor, director and designer and an opera singer and dancer in the opera The Merry Widow in 1987-88.
I engaged Geoff as an actor in a feature film I am directing, in addition to a leading role in King Lear for which we shot the short film first. Geoff has worked with the company as an actor, voice coach and as my assistant casting director. The response from actors in the auditions has always been one of gratitude that Geoff was happy to provide voice work and helpful directing suggestions during the audition process. The quality of Geoff’s work on the casting days show years of a professional understanding of the voice and of acting.
Having worked with Geoff as an actor, director and with castings I know him to be a valuable part of the acting cast and directorial process, and a colleague who makes a significant difference with the unique approach to voice that he brings. As a result of Geoff’s work I did not hesitate in offering Geoff two further feature films roles as actor and master of voice, including the promo and feature for a Hollywood script that I was given due to my own work and reputation in the business.
Geoff’s voice work, based on his training at The London School of Speech Formation and Dramatic Art, and furthered by many years of experience as a teacher and director, raises his actors and students standards. This I have witnessed, working and directing actors and auditionees, where despite all usually having acting degrees and conservatoire trainings, Geoff was able to meaningfully instruct them to improve their voice and performance using drills and techniques they were not taught at their drama school.
Geoff is also highly trained and teaches the invaluable but rare techniques of Michael Chekhov, Rudolph Steiner and the art and techniques of Eurythmy developed by Steiner in the early part of the 20th century. My own training, like most drama school students, was primarily the standard Stanislavski, Strasberg’s Method and Meisner techniques.Years ago I had the opportunity to work with Steiner’s acting approach and with Michael Chekhov technique on stage. Their approaches are very important and vitally needed in raising the modern actors performances but are rarely taught due to lack of practioners or even, in the case of Steiner in particular, the existence of these dramatic and vocal techniques; Geoff is a master teacher and practitioner of these unique and needed methods
Stephen Armourae – AJF Productions
The Art of Speech Formation/ Creative Speech was developed by Rudolf Steiner and his wife Marie Steiner in the early part of the 20th century and remains unique its musical and gestural approach to voice production and is quite unlike any other vocal techniques currently in use on the stage and in performance. It is an intense 4 year
fulltime training. The use of the breath and the formative gestures and movements of the sounds of speech in Vowel and Consonants, form the basis for this approach and lead to a sound sense symbiosis raising the word from its limited abstract meaning to a creative depth of action, emotion and artistic feeling and form.
This art is essential for anyone speaking for a Eurythmy performance as it is in fact this Eurythmic Sound/Sense which provides the basis for all Speech Eurythmy performances, just as the musicians do for all Music Eurythmy performances.
Prof. Stefan Hasler
Alanus Hochschule für Kunst und Gesellschaft
Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences