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DIALECT Hear soundfiles
Harrison’s approach to speech and accent has been heavily influenced by dialect coach Penny Dyer, whom she worked with during the three years of her time at RADA. Harrison has recently expanded her knowledge through working with Linklater voice teacher Lisa Porter.

Harrison’s approach is multi-layered, based on a belief that like the evolution of a species, the evolution of an accent has occurred due to multiple factors. These factors continue to exert their influence. Accents grow and change.

Harrison thus takes into account not only the technical aspect of accent work: tongue placement, mouth musculature, aural musicality etc. but also offers ideas of how accents have come into being, illuminating environmental factors such as pace of life, air quality, topographical characteristics, cultural attitudes, outside influences etc.

This approach offers students several points of entry, resulting in a deeper understanding of the accent and how it may express the character being portrayed. Students begin by analyzing their own patterns of speech, based on a belief that starting with the self is a solid basis for any learning process.

Susan-Jane Harrison has coached dialect for several Theatreworks productions, UCSF productions and Barewitness Films. She has taught dialect at Berkeley Repertory School of Theatre, Young Rep at Center Rep and coached individual students. Harrison works with ESL learners who wish to improve their spoken English pronunciation.
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