October 31, 2014  

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Theatre Professor Gains International Visibility Using Lessac Kinesensics

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From left, Southern Miss graduate students Kristopher Kuss, MFA candidate in directing from Niceville, Fla. and Lisa Fischel, an MFA candidate in performance from Las Vegas in professor Robin Carr's voiceover acting class resonate, enunciate, and communicate as they record in the WUSM-FM radio studio.

The Department of Theatre at The University of Southern Mississippi routinely offers exciting theatric productions performed by tomorrow’s stars of stage, film, television and recording. These students hone their talents under the careful and thoughtful tutelage of outstanding professors at Southern Miss. One of these professors is Robin Carr.

Carr, associate professor of voice and acting, is one of 53 specially certified trainers in voice and body in the world. Named for Arthur Lessac, one of the most highly-regarded and original teachers in the world of voice, speech, singing, and movement, Lessac Kinesensics is a holistic approach to voice and body training that improves posture and breathing, body conditioning, vocal variety and contrast, and resonance and projection. It can also assist in the development of the male and female voices for speech and singing. According to the Lessac Institute, this training can be used for stage purposes; voice and speech therapy; as well as in sports and physical fitness.

Carr teaches voice-over acting to graduate students who learn to engage in finding and creating voice-over scripts, understand their own vocal instrument, and explore the facets of their own voice.  Also, they will learn studio terminology and audition skills in order to be more valuable in today’s job market.

In 1995, Carr began the intensive training with the Lessac Institute and after years of training and studying, became Certified Lessac Trainer in 2009. She uses Lessac Kinesensics as the foundation for all of her voice, speech, musical theatre and dialect classes at Southern Miss. However, since the Lessac Kinesensic training is so beneficial to those interested in improving their physical and vocal life, Carr has been invited to teach beyond the Southern Miss classroom.

Carr has traveled the world training and teaching in Australia, Ireland, Croatia and the Phillippines. This fall, Carr also taught a Lessac workshop for the School of Theatre at Carnegie Mellon University.

“The workshop at The Gaiety School of Acting, the National Theatre School of Ireland, was a wonderful experience. A strong sense of storytelling and music is deeply rooted in the Irish culture. It was a joy to teach the students the Lessac work and observe their increased awareness of their breathing capacity, intelligibility, and vocal resonance.”

In 2011, Carr had the distinct privilege of assisting Lessac during his last workshop before his passing in Croatia.

“Teaching the Lessac work brings me such joy. To help people unlock physical and vocal tensions in order to promote creative communication, clarity and resonance is a profound experience. I hope to find other venues at Southern Miss to share the Lessac work. It’s fun, assessable and offers tools that anyone can use to feel better vocally and physically,” said Carr.

In March, Carr will be presenting at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Mobile, Ala. with Master Lessac Teacher, Deborah Kinghorn and leading a voice and speech workshop for Fitness Instructors at the Southern Miss Payne Center. She is currently planning upcoming workshops in New York, Baltimore, and Denver specifically geared for professional actors.

For information about the Southern Miss Department of Theatre, visit www.usm.edu/theatre.