Kristin Linklater

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Kristin Linklater
Born (1936-04-22) 22 April 1936 (age 82)
Residence Orkney, Scotland
Occupation Actress, director, author, vocal coach, acting teacher
Children Hamish Linklater
Parent(s) Eric Linklater
Marjorie MacIntyre
Relatives Magnus Linklater (brother)
Andro Linklater (brother)

Kristin Linklater (born 22 April 1936) is a Scottish vocal coach, acting teacher, actor, theatre director, and author. She retired from the Theatre Arts Division of Columbia University where she is Professor Emerita. She now teaches residential courses on Orkney, for anyone wanting to better understand her work.


Brought up in the Orkney Isles, Scotland, Linklater trained with Bertram Joseph and Iris Warren at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). During the 1960s, she relocated to the United States and worked with the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada.[1]

She was educated at St Leonards School.

Linklater was a founding member in 1973 of Shakespeare & Company which was for many years in residence on the former estate of Edith Wharton in Lenox, Massachusetts. Linklater and several British-trained American actors founded the acting troupe of the same name, Shakespeare & Company. She served as co-director, with Tina Packer. She left in the mid 1990s to develop her own approach to voice for actors, influenced by her teachers at LAMDA as well as the Alexander Technique. Her work is designed to liberate the natural function of the vocal mechanism as opposed to developing a vocal technique. Her writings on voice include Freeing the Natural Voice (1976) (ISBN 0-89676-071-5) and Freeing Shakespeare's Voice (1992); (ISBN 1-55936-031-3). She is of part Swedish descent, through her father, Scottish novelist Eric Linklater.[2]

Linklater has trained many well-known actors, including Patrick Stewart, Donald Sutherland, Alfre Woodard, Mary Tyler Moore, Bill Murray, Angela Bassett, Courtney Vance, Sigourney Weaver, Sam Rockwell and Bernadette Peters. Linklater was a teacher and head of the Acting program at Emerson College from 1990–1996.[3]

In 2013 Linklater opened a purpose-built voice training centre in Quoyloo, Orkney, Scotland to trains and coach students in voice technique.

Her son is actor Hamish Linklater, who appeared on the CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones. Her father was novelist Eric Linklater, and her mother was social activist, Marjorie Linklater (née MacIntyre).[4] Her brothers Magnus and Andro Linklater are writers. She has a sister, Alison, who is a painter.


  • Linklater, Kristin (June 1976). Freeing the Natural Voice. Drama Publishers. ISBN 0-89676-071-5. 
  • Linklater, Kristin (November 2006). Revised and Expanded Edition, Freeing the Natural Voice. Drama Publishers, an imprint of Quite Specific Media Group, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-89676-250-3. 
  • Linklater, Kristin (April 1992). Freeing Shakespeare's Voice: The Actor's Guide to Talking the Text. Theatre Communications Group. ISBN 1-55936-031-3. 


  1. ^ "–Backstory"
  2. ^ Keay, J. & Keay, J. (1994) Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland. London. HarperCollins.
  3. ^ Linklater profile, Columbia University faculty page; accessed 13 May 2014.
  4. ^ Eric Linklater profile,; accessed 13 May 2014.

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