UH Moment

UH Moment: “Voice”

Voice is an important component to the craft of acting.  Ask Dylan Paul.  Listen to his UH Moment.

He recently graduated from the Actor Training Program at the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance.  He also is a recipient of a 2012-2013 Fulbright Fellowship to study dialects and accents.  

Dylan Ryan singing on stage“I’m going to go to Trinidad and Tobago to look at these voices, and I’m going to see how they connect to their rich oral history and their unique approach to performance—English-speaking Carnival,” Paul said.  “My interest in dialects started as an undergraduate when I decided that I wanted to spend the rest of my life, not just working on theater, as I’d already known, but approaching it from a vocal standpoint.”

As a Fulbright Fellow he’ll spend 10 months abroad learning from scholars in the Carnival Studies graduate program at the University of the West Indies and apprentice with Mas (masquerade) performers. Paul also plans to share his voice and speech expertise with the local youth through The Trinidad Theatre Workshop.  

Paul, who has studied with greats in the industry, like UH’s Jim Johnson of the school of theatre, also will collect English dialects for a revamping of the International dialects of English archive.

The archive is a huge collection of audio samples from all across the world and from a large network of associate editors,” Paul said.  “There are about 40 of us. We go out, we get recordings, and then they’re transcribed, phonetically as well, as with scholarly commentary.”

Paul says voice—accent, dialect—inform acting and create a real connection between actor and audience.

International Dialects of English Archive

“It was really about jumping out of my comfort zone and doing something that I knew I wanted to do. And I did it!”  

Dialects and Accents are part of what’s happening at the University of Houston.  I’m Marisa Ramirez.