Cicely Berry

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Cicely Frances Berry CBE (17 May 1926 – 15 October 2018) was a British theatre director and vocal coach.[1]

Berry trained under Elsie Fogerty at the Central School of Speech and Drama, then based at the Royal Albert Hall, London.[2] She was the voice director for the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1969 to 2014, and worked as a voice and text coach as an instructor at London's Central School of Speech and Drama. She conducted workshops all over the globe, including Korea, Russia, and Asia. Her work also extended to prisons, using Shakespeare as a vessel to find confidence in speaking and response to imagery. One of her earliest teachers was Barbara Bunch. In addition to her voice and text work in the theatre, she also did work in film, including serving as "dialogue coach" on The Last Emperor (1987); "dialogue coach" on Stealing Beauty (1996); and as "voice specialist" on Julie Taymor's 1999 film, Titus.


  • Voice and the Actor (1973)
  • Your Voice and How to Use It
  • The Actor and the Text
  • Text in Action
  • Word Play: A Textual Handbook for Directors and Actors


  • Hamlet for the National Theatre Education Unit
  • King Lear for The Other Place and The Royal Shakespeare Company


  • 1985 - Received OBE
  • 1992 - Nominated for special award by Arts Council for her ‘response to the challenges posed by a technologically diverse and increasingly multi-cultural environment.’
  • 1997 – Doctor Honoris, National Academy of Film and Theatre Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • 1999 – Honorary Doctorate of Literature from Birmingham University
  • 2000 – The Sam Wanamaker Prize for pioneering work in theatre[1]
  • 2001 – Honorary Doctorate of Literature from the Open University
  • 2009 - Berry was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Obituary: Cicely Berry – 'RSC's pioneering vocal coach who transformed theatre practice'". The Stage. 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  2. ^ V&A, Theatre and Performance Special Collections, Elsie Fogerty Archive, THM/324
  3. ^ "No. 59090". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2009. p. 7.


  • Barnett, Laura, Cicely Berry, Voice Coach to the Stars. Guardian
  • Berry, Cicely, documentary. Where Words Prevail. Dir. Steven Budlong and Salvatore Rasa. Sorjourner Media, L.L.C., 2005.
  • Berry, Cicely, Kristin Linklater, and Patsy Rodenburg. "Shakespeare, Feminism, and Voice: Responses to Sarah Werner." New Theatre Quarterly XIII.49 (1997): 48-52.
  • Berry, Cicely. Voice and the Actor. New York: Hungry Minds, Inc., 1973.