Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Janet B. Rodgers


Over the course of the past ten years, both studying and teaching Voice & Speech for the Actor, I have become frustrated with the status quo of so called 'standard speech'. The two dialects that I have studied in depth are Edith Skinner's 'American Classical Stage Standard' and Kenneth Crannell's 'Career Speech'. I have found something lacking in both the Skinner dialect and Crannell's 'Career Speech'. Yet, I believe that each has a strength from which the other could benefit. The specificity of the Skinner dialect makes 'American Classical Stage Standard' not only easy to learn but also an excellent tool in ear training. The problem with this dialect is that before its artificial creation, it did not exist in the American English language. Additionally, 'American Classical Stage Standard' is not appropriate for theatrical works in a contemporary setting. Conversely, the 'standards' that have been formed in reaction to Skinner's method, such as Crannell's 'Career Speech', are rooted in American English Speech. But since Crannell's 'Career Speech' relies heavily on observation, the resulting paradigm avoids specificity because in the real world not everyone speaks in the same way. The dialect that I am setting forth in this project is my attempt to combine the Skinner dialect and Crannell's 'Career Speech' to create a dialect that is contemporary but non-geographic specific in sound. My American Actor's dialect will be simple and efficient to learn and teach and will provide the student with a base dialect for further study in voice and speech for the stage and for contemporary American theatrical works set post 1980 if there is no dialect called for in the script or if the director chooses not to include dialect work in that specific production.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008