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Swarthmore Theater Department Hosts Workshops and Performances by Jean-Rene Toussaint

Swarthmore College Theater Department Hosts
Workshops and Performances by Jean-Rene Toussaint

by Anita Pace

The William J. Cooper Foundation and the Department of Theater at Swarthmore College will present a series of workshops and performances by internationally renowned actor, director and voice teacher Jean-Rene Toussaint on Wed., Feb. 13, Fri., Feb.15, Sat., Feb. 16, and Sun., Feb.17. All events are free and open to the public and will take place in the Lang Performing Arts Center's Frear Ensemble Theater. Mr. Toussaint is the creator of a distinct school of vocal training for actors and musicians, which he has dubbed in Dutch Stemwerk, and is the founder and head of a training center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Jean-Rene Toussaint (b. 1948) is a French-born director, actor, and voice teacher. He has been professionally active in theater since 1973 and has worked with major theatrical companies and artists such as the Living Theatre, the Roy Hart Theatre, and Robert Wilson, among others. His vocal theory and technique are inspired by the work of Antonin Artaud, Jerzy Grotowski, and Roy Hart, which are all defining figures in contemporary theater and, in the cases of Grotowski and Hart, of voice technique.

His unique voice work is the result of 25 years of research and development, stemming mainly from working with deaf adults and children and from extensive world travel researching the primitive voice. His particular technique is based essentially on the movement of the body, on delineating the difference between "voices to be" and "voices to do," and listening based on bodily perception. This will be his first visit to Philadelphia and only visit to the United States in 2008.

Schedule of events:

  • Wed., Feb. 13, 7 p.m.: Toussaint will present a lecture-demonstration entitled "Stemwerk, The Voice and Artaud."
  • Fri., Feb. 15 and Sat., Feb. 16 at 8 p.m.: Mr. Toussaint will premiere his latest one-man show, The Alchemical Theatre.
  • Sat., Feb.16 and Sun., Feb.17, from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.: A two-day workshop in the Stemwerk vocal technique.

For further information about the lecture-demonstration, workshops and performances contact Liza Clark at (610) 328-8260 or email


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