Russel Smith – Biography
Training and Approach
Honours graduate of Trinity College Dublin and of the Gaiety School of Acting; background in physical massage therapy; alongside 20 years experience as actor on stage and screen, singer, vocal coach and musical director/composer/arranger/accompanist, Russell has engaged in extensive on-going training with a range of founding-members of the Roy Hart Theatre at their International Centre for Voice in France (most significantly Kevin Crawford, Kaya Anderson, and more recently, Jonathan Hart), and numerous other vocal coaches and physical practitioners.
Russell's approach is broad and flexible, drawing both on personal experience of the classical tradition and also to a large extent on considerable experience of the Roy Hart approach to voice, which is far less conventional and more organic. He also incorporates a range of ideas drawn from other contemporary approaches to voice, such as those of Kristin Linklater, Cicelly Berry and Patsy Rodenburg and others, as well as elements of Feldenkrais, Alexander, Tai Chi and Shiatsu. Russell is officially certified in the Fitzmaurice approach to voice, which, alongside Linklater, is the other most widely used approach in theatre training in American universities, as well as being widely applied in the field of corporate training in speech and presence, worldwide.
Russell opens people up to the range, depth, and subtlety of their communication, verbal and non-verbal, treating practicalities such as power and projection, clarity or accent, as extensions of a more fundamental integrated development of mind, body and imagination. Synthesising a range of approaches, he encourages and challenges clients to break new ground in whatever area they choose to develop, and gently guides them towards acquiring sure practical skills and understanding which will serve them into the future.
In recent years voice, dialect and singing coach at both ACTT and AADA in Sydney, Australia; Long-standing singing coach and musical director at the Gaiety School; previously repetiteur and singing coach on the acting degree programme at Trinity College Dublin, Russell now works as Voice Coach at the Gaiety School of Acting, The National Theatre School of Ireland, on their full-time actor training programme. He has also held a position as voice coach on the 3 year performing arts degree programme at the American College Dublin, before it moved to it's Waterford base, and on the one-year actor training programme and various short courses on offer at the Irish Film Academy in Dublin. Russel also has an extensive private practice coaching clients from all walks of life, in speech, accent and singing. As accent and dialect coach for film, Russell has also worked on Vikings, the 4-part series Clean Break, for RTE, and the Feature films Out of Innocence (2016), Pilgrimage (2016), Dawn (pilot) 2016, The man who invented Chiristmas (2017), Christmas Perfection (2018) and Blood (2018).
Russel has worked extensively as both actor, singer and musician/accompanist in both Irish and Australian theatre, also musically directing, arranging, composing and writing for many productions, including "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and living in Paris", "Fiddler on the Roof" and for Firstage Productions, three Sondheim shows, "Side by Side", "Company" and "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow".
As an actor, Russel has featured in many films, including Mad About Mambo, When the Sky Falls, The Escapist, The Boys and Girl from County Clare, Bloom, A Kiss for Jed, Botched, The Tudors, Becoming Jane, as well as Bachelors Walk, Showbands and Fair City for RTE, and has performed in many Irish theatre productions nationwide since the mid-nineties, from the Gate and the Project in Dublin, to Cork Opera House and elsewhere.
During the 1990's he sang professionally with Christ Church Cathedral Choir as a regular soloist and 'Lay Vicar Choral', under the directorship of Mark Duley, as well as briefly with the RTE chamber choir, prior to entering full-time training as an actor at the Gaiety School.
Russel is an accredited member of the Irish Voice Association (IVA). As such he is also qualified to facilitate people holding private health insurance which includes allowances for voice coaching.