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Finding a voice with Debora Joy

“Young people inspire me, challenge me, and continue to make me curious. This particular young cast are particularly inspiring since they are taking risks to share hot-button issues in an often funny, but always open-hearted way.” - Debora Joy

​​Debora Joy, (award-winning Toronto voice, singing and executive coach, who has taught the likes of Rachel. McAdams.), sat in on a mini-show we put on just before rehearsals last week, and provided us with an hour-and- a-half of incredible, incredible vocal work! Of the things she taught us in that session, here are three of the (many) things that jumped out to me: 1. Box Breathing for Nerves: Now this is a form of controlled breathing designed to calm your body’s natural response (the “Fight-or- flight” response). As someone with anxiety, I know this very well; as a performer, it never occurred to me that those breathing exercises could actually be the calming-push I need to get over the pre-show nerves. The more you know, right? 2. “Instant Forgiveness”: I’m a perfectionist, and this lesson is one I constantly forget. I was so grateful to be reminded that getting out of your head onstage is the only way to stay in the moment. Fumble a line? Forgive, and keep on! Miss a cue? Forgive and keep on! The show must go on, and the only way that happens is if the actors keep going on too. 3. “You’ve got what it takes”: This was a lesson gifted by way of a particularly powerful exercise that Deb ran with the group. As we all stood in a circle (after doing a variety of on-and- off-the-floor breathing exercises), she had everyone pick one of their own lines, and had us each say them to her. Without skipping a beat, she provided us all personalised feedback on how to deliver our lines better, and walked us through our lines again using that feedback. The take-away? We all definitely had everything we needed to deliver with a bang – we just didn’t know it (until the wondrous Deb highlighted it for us!)! I’m always so appreciative of everyone who takes the time out of their schedules and lives in general to come and share their expertise and wisdom with us. Thank you so much, Deb; here’s hoping we see you soon (breathing in and out in the moment as we always should)!

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