Shakespeare and Original Pronunciation

7181508_sVoicing Shakespeare

Paul has distilled his lifelong experience with Shakespeare and Original Pronunciation into an ebook titled Voicing Shakespeare. You will enjoy 66 easy-to-read chapters, unlocking all the secrets you need to perform Shakespeare’s great work with confidence, clarity, and power. The ebook’s six major sections thoroughly explore: verse; prose; voice, speech & dialect; physical performance; musical dynamics; and Shakespeare’s rhetoric.

Setting Voicing Shakespeare apart from similar publications are its 76 audio and video performances of great Shakespeare speeches; they vividly illustrate the techniques under discussion at the click of your mouse. Performed by Paul and 17 fellow professional actors from England, the United States, Canada, and Australia, these recordings point the way to a truly international performance style.

With Voicing Shakespeare, your classical acting work will take a giant step forward. In a special appendix, 10 great Shakespeare audition speeches are analyzed, scanned, scored, and performed in audio/video clips by the skilled men and women of the company. A comprehensive glossary of terms will prove likewise invaluable.

Start building an unbeatable Shakespeare performance repertoire with the masterful assistance of this invaluable tool.

To immediately download Voicing Shakespeare to your Windows computer and start using it today, just click here. This page also contains a link to the iTunes ebook (Apple Book) version, which can be bought directly from iTunes and is compatible with Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Each version is just $29.95. Enjoy! (Instructors, see the information at the bottom of this page.)

Paul’s Approach to Shakespeare

In addition to his celebrated work with accents and dialects, Paul is a master teacher and coach in the performing of Shakespeare’s works. He has helped hundreds of actors embrace the language of Shakespeare’s plays with clarity and authority. He demystifies those often intimidating terms such as iambic pentameter, alexandrine, tetrameter, enjambment, trochee, spondee, pyrrhic, and epic caesura, and helps actors make dramatic capital out of Shakespeare’s sometimes abrupt switches from verse to prose. Paul helps us see Shakespeare’s rhyme, rhetoric, and disputation as acting opportunities rather than mere literary embellishments; reveals the actor’s secret performance weapon we know as “coining” key words; and unlocks the hidden power of Shakespeare’s “rising rhythm.” His approach is simple, clear, entertaining, and eminently actor-friendly.

As a member of the BBC Drama Repertory Company, Paul acted in more than a dozen of the Bard’s works alongside many of the great names of the British Theatre: Paul Scofield, Richard Burton, Flora Robson, Derek Jacobi, to name a few.

In his teaching at RADALAMDAThe North Carolina School of the Arts, and the University of Kansas Theatre Department, and in his master classes at the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon in England, he has trained two generations of actors in the skills they need to breathe life into Shakespeare’s words.

Original Pronunciation

Fusing his two passions, dialects and Shakespeare, Paul is keenly interested in Original Pronunciation (OP), the Early Modern English pronunciation of Shakespeare’s day. In November, 2010, he directed a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, spoken entirely in OP. With David Crystal supervising the dialect work, this was produced both for the stage and as a radio drama at the University of Kansas where Paul is professor emeritus. It was only the fifth fully produced OP Shakespeare in living memory.

Paul has made his A Midsummer Night’s Dream OP script freely available. It contains a phonetic transcription, and David Crystal’s recordings of each scene in OP are embedded in it. Listen to OP as you read.

You may purchase a DVD of the stage production of Paul’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream from FilmsMediaGroupclick here to view the trailer.

Click here to listen to the Kansas Public Radio production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation.

Download his free ebook, The Original Pronunciation of Shakespeare’s English, containing both text and embedded recordings, which he produced to tutor his cast in the dialect. (Though this ebook is free, it is copyright-protected. If you wish to distribute this ebook, please contact Paul for permission.) And consult David Crystal’s Original Pronunciation website, a clearinghouse for all things OP.

In 2018, Paul coached the Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s OP production of “Twelfth Night.” Pictured here is Artistic Director Jim Helsinger as Malvolio.

Also available as a free PDF download is a complete phonetic transcription in Original Pronunciation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. It was transcribed into  OP by Jennifer Geizhals under the direction of Paul Meier, with final editing and approval by David Crystal.

The first episode of his podcast, In a Manner of Speaking, February 2018, is devoted to Original Pronunciation.


For Instructors

Voicing Shakespeare is designed as a textbook for the conservatory as well as for the individual actor working alone. If you are an instructor looking for the single, ideal textbook for your Shakespeare performance class, e-mail Paul for a free perusal subscription, providing:

  • the name and website of the institution in which the class will be taught, showing you as the instructor of record.
  • the date of and likely enrollment in the class.

In addition to your free subscription, you will receive details of the generous multi-user discounts specially designed for educational settings.