How to Survive the Perils of Talking in a Mask

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Being a theatre professional for well over twenty years and an educator for fifteen of those, I have learned how to take care of my voice. Do I need to be heard by the crowds at an outdoor performance? How about an auditorium full of high school students? The PA system is down at an event and you need to get everyone’s attention? Consider all three of them done. You want me to wear a mask all day and teach through it? Exhausting.

Regardless of where you stand on the mask issue, the fact remains that some of us are required to wear one while at work. From my point of view, it’s an inconvenience. Is it temporary? Yes. Does it hurt me? No. If it helps people feel safe and gives me some peace of mind when it comes to protecting my own family then I can certainly put up with it. If you are struggling to communicate in the mask or just find yourself tired from doing it all day then continue reading.

The truth is I find the situation amusing (sometimes) and rather absurd. So I had some fun when it came to titling this blog post. Some of the alternate titles I came up with were: “Can You Hear Me Now?,” “How Come Darth Vader Sounds Cool and I Sound like a Fool?,” “Say WHAT?,” “Mas(k) Communication,” and a personal favorite, “Wha’chu Talkin’ ’bout Willis?

As for the talking in a mask, admittedly, it took me a couple of weeks to get my sea legs, but during that time I did a little research for how I can make it a bit easier on myself and my hearers. As a result, I have put together some things to consider when trying to communicate in a mask. Also some basic healthy preparations you can take and, of course, practicals for how to actually try and get across what you wish to convey. These pointers are helpful whether you are speaking to an individual or large groups. These pointers are not exhaustive, but should give you some useful information as well as simple reminders in a concise format.

Embedded below is a pdf of some of my findings combined with my thoughts added in. I hope that this will be useful to you and if it is, please, feel free to share it with others. Do you have some ideas of your own? Add them to the comments below. The file is also available for download on our RESoURCeS page. Stay well and best of luck!

Image Credit: Pexels Free Photos

Audio Project Brief

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Socially-distant theater. It, honestly, is sort of an oxymoron for me. Theater is vital and visceral. Socially distant, well, it’s neither of those things. We put our annual family summer show on hiatus so… now how can we do an interesting theater project and be socially responsible? I love old-time radio dramas so the idea occurred to me to produce some for the theater company. I have some experience with sound effects creation, sound editing and voice over work so this seemed like a great fit. Then, at the last Advisory Board meeting, the board members suggested to marry that idea with some educational content. Bam! A new an improved reason for doing a radio show!

What will the process look like? We will attempt to record the podcast online. In order to accomplish this the script is broken up into small segments to keep the time commitment small for the voice actors. Many of the sound effects and music will be added after all of the voice recording is done. Since it is our first effort we do not have funding and will be working off of the company reserves. If the project is successful we will then look for funding for future radio drama podcasts.

Educational content related to the script will be added to the website once the podcast is uploaded. We hope this will be a fun way to listen to some classic old-time radio dramas and digest some quality educational content which we will create to accompany the radio play.

If you are fan of old-time radio, never listened before or perhaps just want to brush up on some English language phrases, then check back towards the end of August as we hope to have the podcast and support material ready for you at that time.

Audio Theater Coming Soon!

Recently THEATER ViSiONS held a poll to select the genre of our first audio theater presentation. The choices were science fiction, detective, mystery/ suspense and western. The results were a resounding “yes” for mystery/ suspense with over 60% of the vote.

We have already begun reading scripts, checking copyright status, testing our recording equipment, refreshing our sound effects library and preparing our foley studio (also known as Mark‘s kitchen). Soon we will be recruiting voice actors for the podcast, however, please be aware that these are unpaid positions as this project has no funding at this time. If you are interested, check out our WoRK WiTH Us page for more details as they become available.

In keeping with our mission, we will be creating some English language downloads and resources to go along with the podcast to assist any English Language Leaners who would like to build their understanding and context competence. The podcast and support materials will be made available from our website as they are made ready for release. We hope you will join us as we begin our new venture into podcasting!


Romeo and Juliet Theatre Cardiff

Sofia, Bulgaria is a bustling, scenic, international, capital city. It’s easy to fall in love with the city and the country. With many global corporations and businesses and a vibrant arts and culture scene there are many options…in Bulgarian. At THEATER ViSiONS we embrace Bulgaria and it’s culture, but we offer programming in English. We stage our own productions, run a variety of workshops and classes, develop educational tours and serve as coproducer or presenter for English language performances.

Our ViSiON is to be a hub for English speakers living in Bulgaria. We invite you to attend our performances, get involved with our lively, interactive language workshops, our intriguing acting classes, request our educational school tour (in development) or come out / join our play reading group. We also aspire to promote Bulgarian culture to new audiences by offering Bulgarian plays in English.

THEATER ViSiONS also aims to assist in unifying the English language artistic offerings in Sofia by providing a cultural calendar, so submit your information to us.