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October 2023

What Do Acting Coaches Mean When They Talk About Prosody?

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When you begin to take your first acting classes, you may find that the coach sometimes refers to ‘prosody.’ This refers to the way an actor uses the voice, both to be understood clearly and to enhance the meaning and emotion of their words. Here’s a closer look at what the term means and why it is an important skill for an actor to possess.

What is the definition of prosody?

Prosody refers to the rhythm, stress and intonation of speech. The human voice is an instrument, and prosody is sometimes referred to as the musicality of speech. It can be modulated in tone, volume, pitch, tempo, and so on to bring an extra dimension to the literal meaning of the words. 

This can help to communicate the social and emotional context of the drama in a more nuanced way than with words alone, and bring about a higher state of psychological truth. Here are some ways actors use prosody.

Deeper emotional expression

Prosody is used to help convey the emotional state of the character, such as anger, sadness, joy, fear, or excitement. For example, when a person is afraid, they might speak in a fast, high pitched voice, and when they are angry they might raise their voice and speak with harsh abrupt rhythms. 

To enhance character traits

Characters may have distinctive speech patterns that help to communicate their personality or social or geographical background. This may be through a strong regional accent, or a particular inflection or pace of speaking that may indicate that a character is laid back, highly strung, warm, irritable, and so on.

To enhance storytelling

The art of prosody is used to help unfold the drama for the benefit of the audience. It can control the pace of a scene, be used to build tension or suspense, or provide moments of light relief. This helps to keep the audience engaged with the story so that they understand the context of what is being said and are keenly anticipating the next development. 

To bring stage presence

Stage presence refers to an actor’s ability to command an audience. This can be done through physicality and body language, and also through the use of the voice.  An actor who has full command of their vocal range and can modulate their tone, expression, volume, tempo and so on will be a more compelling performer than one with poor prosody.

To widen the range of an actor

An actor who is capable of adapting their prosody to suit a wide range of characters will have more choice of future roles. It will enable them to more easily portray characters from different social, cultural, or geographical backgrounds, or tackle more psychologically and emotionally demanding roles. 


If you are looking for adult acting classes in Leeds, please visit our website today

TV acting classes in Manchester - senior acting

Why It’s Never Too Late To Pursue Your Acting Career

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Acting is often seen as a younger person’s profession, but if you look past the fresh faced soap stars and Hollywood film fodder, you will find that in fact there are a diverse variety of roles and age ranges on offer. There are plenty of examples of actors who have entered the profession in their 40s or beyond and gone on to have successful careers.

However, a career on stage or screen is often not the main motivation for anyone who wants to learn to act. It can, and should, be just as much about the journey as the destination. Here are just a few of the reasons why age should never be a barrier to pursuing your acting dreams. 

You have life experience and wisdom to bring to acting

Acting is essentially pretending to be someone else, and when you are older you naturally have a broader range of life experiences to draw on that can help you to do this. You can bring that emotional depth and maturity to a role in a way that a younger actor might struggle with. This will help your performances to resonate and feel authentic.

Age is more than just a number

Actors are rarely the same numerical age as the characters they are playing, and neither is this always relevant. Casting directors are more concerned with the ‘playing age’ of an actor, which is the age that they could convincingly play. In many cases, this can be within a range of 10 or even more years below and above their numerical age. 

TV and film roles are more diverse than ever before

With the huge success of streaming TV channels such as Netflix, more shows are being made than ever before for a more diverse audience. This naturally means that there is now a greater variety of acting roles available than ever before, as people want to see relatable elements of their lives and experiences reflected in the stories on screen.

Speaking to Backstage magazine recently, casting director Olivia Ahmed commented: “Casting older people is much more fulfilling. They just haven’t been given a chance in reality TV and I think it is going to come full circle.”

Acting coach Matt Newton added: “I believe there is a place for everyone in this business.  “Type and talent are obviously important but, more than anything, it’s important to follow your dreams and do what makes you happy.”

“Learn the skills, educate yourself about the business, and surround yourself with people who will help you on that journey and support you,” he said. “It can be a wonderful, rewarding career.”

If you feel inspired to take some adult acting lessons, there are many rewards that await you beyond the acquisition of skills. You will find yourself part of a diverse and inclusive community, where you will learn how to feel comfortable and confident expressing yourself in front of an audience. 

This is a life enhancing experience that is worth the effort no matter what your age or future aspirations may be. 


If you are looking for TV acting classes in Manchester, please visit our website today