Suzanne Heywood began her career in the theatre as a child performer playing Helen Keller in J.C. Williamsons’ production of “The Miracle Worker”. As an adult she became interested in teaching and completed post-graduate studies in London and New York and a Masters degree from the University of Melbourne. She has been on faculty at the University of Melbourne and the VCA School of Drama.
Suzanne has worked as dialogue coach for stage at The Melbourne Theatre Company, HIT Productions, Malthouse and Red Stitch. In music theatre Suzanne has supported artists on such shows as Sunset Boulevard, Chicago, Mamma Mia, The Wizard of Oz, The Full Monty, The Lion King, High School Musical,Jersey Boys, West Side Story, Annie and South Pacific. Suzanne is currently resident dialogue/dialect coach on the hit musical King Kong.
For the small screen Suzanne has coached actors on all major networks and on numerous series and mini-series including The Slap and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. In film, Suzanne has worked on The Heartbreak Kid and The Eye of the Storm amongst others.
“I believe that the actors voice is the primary vehicle for the expression of thought and feeling, it is in the expression of those words that we capture the writers intent. In order to gain nuance and subtlety the voice requires strength and range and in much the same way as a dancer or athlete trains their body the actor needs to train their voice.
My interest is in the text, understanding what the character is saying and why they are saying it is my starting point. The voice needs the stamina and dexterity to fully realise a multi layered text. All too often an actor’s choice is inhibited by a lack of range and the subtlety of subtext is lost in repetition of vocal patterns.
I want the actor to have the vocal capacity to release the clarity of the thought, and the complexity of the feeling into word, in order to engage and move an audience.” – Suzanne