How to Project a Stage Acting Voice

By Jonathan McLelland

You will now want to take some tape, or have a grip do this, and place the tape on the floor marking where your frames are. This will provide you with a physical frame, so you will know when you are in and out of frame.

Projecting Your Voice for Stage Acting

Before you ever step foot on stage, you must learn the two different ways you speak. Like singing, you can either speak with your chest (or throat) or with your diaphragm. Pay attention to how you create your voice when talking with your friends at dinner. You will be drawing the sound from your chest/throat area, which is the normal way of talking. However, when you are on stage, if you speak like this, the audience will have a difficult time understanding you.

To strengthen your diaphragm muscles, a simple exercise can be used to help teach you what it feels like to speak from your diaphragm. Place your hands on your stomach, right where the center of your ribs meets your stomach. When you breathe in through your diaphragm, your chest should never move, but rather this area in your stomach should be doing all the work.

Once you have discovered how to breathe with your diaphragm, you will want to take a deep, low breath and with a “Ha” sound use your diaphragm to release the air and sound. An example of this exercise is to breathe in through your diaphragm and then release each sound as follows, “Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.” The sound should be short and powerful, but with no strain.

After you have warmed up your voice through this exercise, you will want to begin practicing talking from your diaphragm. Just like if you were singing, every breath should be supported by your diaphragm and thus when you speak loudly, you will be able to carry your voice across the entire auditorium.

If you have performed the above steps and you are still unsure whether or not you are speaking through your diaphragm, simply place your hands on your stomach, and while you are talking, you should feel your stomach moving inwards to support your voice. If not, then you need to continue practicing diaphragm breathing and speaking.

Tip

Always keep your voice hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Whenever you feel yourself straining your voice, pause and take a deep, low breath and then continue with the scene.

Warning

If you do not support and project your voice with your diaphragm, it will sound as if you are screaming on stage. In order to keep acting inflection within your voice while projecting, you must breath and support your voice through your diaphragm.

About the Author

Jonathan McLelland has been a professional writer since 2005. He has worked as a story writer and editor for the international sitcom, “Completing Kaden,” as well as a proposal writer for various production companies. McLelland studied communication and theater at St. Louis Community College.