Breath, Body, Voice and Verse: Linklater and the SPOKEN WORD – Mary Mayo and Steven Willis

Date:March 12-19 2022
Price: £1,290.00


Once the early bird places are filled, the price will revert back to the normal workshop price.
The 30-hour workshop runs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Thursday is a day off for sightseeing or rest.

This workshop is for poets, poetry lovers, spoken word and performance poets and anyone who longs to speak poetry out loud but is a bit afraid they’ll get it wrong. For the avid poetry speaker, here is the opportunity to revel in a banquet of versification while exploring the significance of changing rhythms, rhyme schemes and poetic forms.

There will be daily Linklater Voice voice and body warm-ups.

We start with a haiku because it provides a perfect miniature poetry-speaking exercise. Within 17 syllables we experience how to embody imagery and arouse sensory and emotional response to words. We address the multiple levels and layers of imagination, imagery, memory and experience that lie behind and between the words on the page and the spoken word. Each participant will be given a haiku to work on.

Thereafter the teaching will be active, on-your-feet, choral practice through a range of poetic styles from Emily Dickinson to Layli Long Soldier, Gerard Manley Hopkins to Jericho Brown, and others culminating in an exploration of the philosophy of spoken word and creating individual and/or group pieces.



Mary Mayo – Mary teaches voice, acting, and dialects at the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts. She is a Designated Linklater Teacher with many years of experience coaching accents and dialects, acting, and teaching voice, acting, and improvisation in universities and professional theatre training programs around the country including Shakespeare & Company, University of Maryland, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. See Mary’s full profile.

Steven Willis – Educator and performance poet Steven Willis has dedicated his life to the power of language. He holds an MFA in Acting and Poetry from the University of Iowa. His debut collection of poetry A Peculiar People was released in April 2022. See Steven’s full profile.

What Do You Need To Bring/Prepare? 

There is nothing required to be prepared in advance for attending the workshop.


The workshop runs across the core teaching days of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. These days start at 9 am and finish around 6 pm.

Thursday is a day off for sightseeing around Orkney or rest. Lunch and dinner are not provided that day. You may cook for yourself or eat out at a restaurant. Thursday’s plans will be arranged once you are here. If you opt for the escorted trip this will be using the Centre’s minibus for travel.

Food and Accommodation

You will be housed at the Kristin Linklater Voice Centre in our purpose-built Bothy. All rooms are single occupancy with shared toilet/shower facilities.

Mealtimes are communal. Lunch and dinner are cooked by our own chef. We cater for dietary considerations including the following: gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and lactose intolerant. We regret to say that we are unable to accommodate more complex dietary requirements. For additional food information please see our FAQs.

Residential workshops at the Centre are fully residential offerings only. No camping facilities are available. The residential experience at the Centre is based on the participants learning, sharing, creating, and working individually and collectively.

Arrivals and Departures

Sunday Arrivals: We anticipate your arrival on Sunday, sometime in the afternoon is good as this ensures you are present for the Welcome Dinner at 6.30 pm. We shall collect you and take you up to the Centre on Sunday at a time suitable to coordinate in with the other arrivals. (Please note travel times: 45 mins from the airport, 20 mins from the ferry).

Saturday Departures: These will be after breakfast and we will arrange to transport you to the ferry/airport or drop you off at your local accommodation.

Travel Arrangements

For more information on how to get here, please contact our local and reputable travel agency Scapa Travel, advising them that you are travelling to Orkney to stay at the Voice Centre.

Should you wish to arrive in Orkney early, or to stay on after your workshop finishes, we recommend you use or another online accommodation site to make your personal arrangements.

Information on Current Covid guidance for travelling to Scotland and International travel to Scotland. can be found using these links. Please note we cannot answer specific individual questions on travel and recommend you contact Scapa Travel with any such queries.

Please ensure that when making your travel arrangements you have suitable insurance to cover any other losses associated with your trip as KLVC and the course organiser cannot take any responsibility for any additional costs.


COVID-19 Regulations

  • We are closely monitoring and adhering to Government and local guidelines and will advise you of specific local requirements, if any, prior to the commencement of your workshop. 
  • Current Scottish Government guidance in respect of COVID-19 can be accessed using this link.
  • In order to best manage COVID-19, the Centre asks that everyone tests on (1) arrival before the welcome dinner, (2) on the first morning of the workshop, and (3) on any free day. 
  • The format of testing is a Lateral Flow Test (also known as a Rapid Antigen Test), which we can supply to you.
  • Anyone who feels unwell during their stay is asked to isolate themselves until they feel better or have a negative COVID-19 test. Additional COVID-19 protocols may be put in place by the leader of the workshop, in conjunction with the Centre, and you will be notified of those in addition to this information. 
  • The wearing of face masks is not required unless stipulated in any additional information from the workshop leader, or if it is a personal preference or requirement.


Cancellation Policy

If you cancel more than 30 days before the workshop start date, a 100% refund will be provided.*

If you cancel within 30 – 14 days before the workshop start date a 50% refund will be provided.*

If you cancel within 14 days before the workshop start date no refund will be provided.

Subject to availability, the cost of any amount not refunded could be put towards the cost of another course.

KLVC reserves the right to cancel or reschedule any workshop or event at any time. Should the rescheduled dates or alternative offered by KLVC not be suitable to you we shall refund any payments made by you.

(*less transaction costs and any administration costs incurred)


If you have any queries about the workshop please contact



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    Mary Mayo

    Mary Mayo is a designated Linklater teacher with many years’ experience acting and teaching voice, acting and improvisation in universities and professional theatre training programs all over the United States including Shakespeare & Company, University of Maryland, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, University of Mississippi, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Syracuse University. She has an M.Litt/MFA in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance from Mary Baldwin College and the American Shakespeare Center. Mary has coached voice and dialects at Arena Stage, Roundhouse Theater, Ford’s Theater, Signature Theatre, and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. She has performed with Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, Nelson County Shakespeare Festival, Hamner Theater, Kristin Linklater’s Company of Women, Ensemble Studio Theater, the Open Eye and Shakespeare & Company. Directing credits include The Waiting Room (at UMD), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard II, As You Like It, and Taming of the Shrew. Mary is Shakespeare consultant to the Nelson County Public Schools and, with Betty Tabony, has written a manual for teaching Shakespeare to middle school students and edited a young people’s edition of King Lear for Swan Books. She currently is an Associate Professor in the department of Theatre Arts at the University of Iowa.

    See Mary’s full profile

    Steven Willis


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