I stumbled into voicework quite by accident. After an unsettled spell as an electrical engineer in my twenties – first as an intern at IBM, then a junior manager at Procter and Gamble – life presented me with a release clause: a company restructuring severance package. Part of the agreement was to receive career counseling. Luckily, I was assigned an insightful advisor who asked me the simplest of questions: when had I felt most alive in my life? When was the last time I had fun doing something? After my initial blank stare of confusion (fun? what did that have to do with work?) I found myself discussing a 6th-grade school play in which I had been cast. Fifteen years was a long reach back to find a sense of meaning and belonging in my own life.
How had I deviated so widely from myself?
The answer is a weave of factors, including pressure from my original family, my desire to impress, my fear of deviating from the prescribed path… And though my ‘safe’ choices might have presented the illusion of career-level success, the ultimate cost was to me. I woke each day feeling lonely, depressed, and weighed down with the sense of being lost in my own life. I had sacrificed any investment in what made me feel alive, and forfeited any joy in my working life in order to gain the approval and respect of others.
The road back to an authentic life has been demanding, humbling, often lonely, and ultimately liberating. It took courage that Christmastime to tell my family I had accepted the corporate world’s severance package, and would be starting my education again – this time at Theatre School.
Though I had projected a seamless segue to a life of fulfillment and achievement, unfortunately the reality was less romantic. Venturing forward in my new found career as a creative artist, I’d begin to present my work out in the world and become paralyzed with the most fundamental of terrors – what if I was a failure? What if I had nothing original or interesting to offer? What if I was really a fraud, an imposter, a poseur? Over the years, the learning opportunity for me has been to look within – to face my doubts and apprehensions, to embrace what is within me with compassion, and to develop the courage to be who I am, wholly and unapologetically.
I could not have predicted the consequences of meeting my own fear and shame; the gift of community, the demands of living honestly through soulful relationships, the spiritual expansion of honoring my deepest intuitions. And the steadfast power of standing up for myself and speaking my truth with courage and presence.
From the theatre, I have found my way into the worlds of depth psychology, soul seeking and holistic healing… And I am proud to bring the gifts of creative process from the theatre to those in search of a deeper connection with their inner lives, in order to transform their outer reality. What started as a study of human experience and behaviour through the Theatre has now become an investment in the work of embodiment through movement, of empowerment through voice practice, of ensoulment through storytelling in community. I found my way from the theatre to the inner world of soul mining, and completed the Marion Woodman Foundation’s Leadership Training in BodySoul Rhythms.
This website is an opportunity for me to share with you what I learn through my daily commitment to unearthing the voices within, and in helping others find and develop their voices. I hope to learn about you, too, as I discover how new connections are emerging through the world-wide-web.
Rea Nolan is a voice teacher and coach. She has worked as a teacher, workshop leader, coach, and performer in Canada, the United States, Ireland and the UK.
Rea has taught in the Theatre Departments at Montreal’s Concordia University, at John Abbott College, at the National Theatre School of Canada, and on the MBA program at Montreal’s HEC University. She has also taught at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, and the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England. She has served as a consultant in the development of new therapeutic approaches to addiction rehabilitation for Le Portage in Montreal, and has worked independently as a Voice Specialist with individuals interested in personal development. Rea has also worked as a consultant with actors and musicians in creative process, and with corporate clients and media companies interested in developing their vocal and communication skills.
Rea holds a holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Brunswick, a BFA in Theatre Performance from Concordia University, a diploma from the Moscow Art Theatre School, and an MA in Voice Studies from the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has completed the Marion Woodman Foundation’s Leadership Training Programme in BodySoul Rhythms, a course of study developing the connections between psyche, body and voice.