Kristin Linklater

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kristin Linklater
UHI280917 012.jpg
Kristin Linklater speaking on the Voice.
Born(1936-04-22)22 April 1936
Died5 June 2020(2020-06-05) (aged 84)
OccupationActress, director, author, vocal coach, acting teacher
ChildrenHamish Linklater
Parent(s)Eric Linklater
Marjorie MacIntyre
RelativesMagnus Linklater (brother)
Andro Linklater(brother)

Kristin Linklater (22 April 1936 – 5 June 2020) was a Scottish vocal coach, acting teacher, actor, theatre director, and author. She retired from the Theatre Arts Division of Columbia University where she was professor emerita. She taught residential courses in Orkney.


Born in Edinburgh[1] and brought up in the Orkney Isles, Scotland, Linklater trained with Michael MacOwan and Iris Warren at LAMDA.[2] After graduating from LAMDA, she taught voice there for six years.[3] 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.[4] Between 1964 and 1978, she worked as a vocal coach for acting companies led by Robert Whitehead, Harold Clurman, Elia Kazan, and Joseph Chaikin, among others.[5] Linklater also taught voice in New York University's graduate theater program from 1965 to 1978.[3]

Educated at St Leonards School and Downe House School, she 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 was designed to liberate the natural function of the vocal mechanism as opposed to developing a vocal technique.[citation needed] Her writings on voice included Freeing the Natural Voice (1976) (ISBN 0-89676-071-5) and Freeing Shakespeare's Voice. (1992); (ISBN 1-55936-031-3)

She was of partial Swedish descent, through her father, Scottish novelist Eric Linklater.[6]

Linklater trained many well-known actors, including Sir 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 to 1996.[7] While at Emerson, Linklater and Harvard psychologist Carol Gilligan led a group called the Company of Women, which explored Shakespeare from a woman's point of view.[3]

In 2013, Linklater established the Linklater Voice Centre in Quoyloo, Orkney, Scotland, to train and coach students in voice technique. That year she was made an honorary fellow of the University of the Highlands and Islands.[8]

Her son by James Lincoln Cormeny[9] is actor Hamish Linklater, who starred in the hit Netflix miniseries Midnight Mass. Her father was novelist Eric Linklater, and her mother was social activist, Marjorie MacIntyre.[10] Her brothers Magnus and Andro Linklater are writers. She had a sister, Alison, who is a painter.[8]

On 5 June 2020, Linklater died of a heart attack at the age of 84.[11]



  1. ^ "Interview". Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  2. ^ Kristin, Linklater (2006). Freeing the natural voice: imagery and art in the practice of voice and language (Revised and expanded [edition] ed.). Hollywood, California. ISBN 0896762505. OCLC 76888011.
  3. ^ a b c Neil Genzlinger, "Kristin Linklater, Who Made Actors Their Vocal Best, Dies at 84," The New York Times, June 16, 2020.
  4. ^ "–Backstory"
  5. ^ Kristin, Linklater (2006). Freeing the natural voice: imagery and art in the practice of voice and language (Revised and expanded [edition] ed.). Hollywood, California. ISBN 0896762505. OCLC 76888011.
  6. ^ Keay, J. & Keay, J. (1994) Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland. London. HarperCollins.
  7. ^ Linklater profile, Columbia University faculty page; accessed 13 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Kristin Linklater obituary," The Guardian, June 24, 2020.
  9. ^ "James Lincoln Cormeny Obituary (2014) New York Times".
  10. ^ Eric Linklater profile,; accessed 13 May 2014.
  11. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (16 June 2020). "Kristin Linklater, Who Made Actors Their Vocal Best, Dies at 84". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]