Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Noreen Barnes

Second Advisor

Janet Rodgers Professor Emirata


Speech work, as it relates to actor training, has undergone many important changes since its formal introduction to the field over a century ago by Edith Skinner. Unfortunately, there are many who hold on to antiquated, misinformed and often harmful approaches to this kind of training. This thesis questioned the traditional models of speech pedagogy by creating a narrative for its development, questioning its efficacy, and exploring the alternatives that have developed over the years. I looked at the texts and approaches of Edith Skinner, Patricia Fletcher, Louis Coliaini, and Dudley Knight/Phil Thompson. I acknowledge that each practitioner has made a substantial contribution to the field. In this thesis I question what place each has in the future of speech pedagogy in America. I gathered opinions from both critics and proponents of each work in the hopes of creating a more cohesive understanding of how speech pedagogy should be handled in the future according to those who will be teaching it. This thesis includes considerable usage of phonetic symbols found on the International Phonetic Alphabet establish by the International Phonetic Association.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

January 2014