Matthew Collins is a voice coach who’s worked with clients ranging from prisoners and business people to members of the Women’s Institute.
For ten years he was ‘Special Assignments Man’ on BBC2’s The Travel Show– a curious low-budget-travel job. Each week a stunned Matthew was given tickets, money and a surprise travel assignment – anything from spending a week in a French nudist camp; to an overland trip to Spain with his leg in plaster (to sample travelling facilities for people with recent leg-breaks…); to a six-days-and-nights coach trip to Athens and back (with only a thirty-minute-break in Athens).
He also presented on Wogan, Open Air, This Morning, Well Worth A Visit… And (his Alan Partridge moment) an Anglia TV quiz show. He then brought up two sons alone, wrote books and articles about their travails and travels, and ran prison Fathers Workshops. Once his sons were teenagers, he did an MA in Voice Studies at the Central School of Speech and Drama. There he met RSC Voice Director, Cicely Berry, whose inspiration changed his life – on learning he worked with prisoners, she invited him to her home for masterclasses and inspired him to do Shakespeare in prison.
Matthew is also a professional speaker whose speeches range from the purely entertaining to the entertaining and serious. (Subjects range from Budget Travel, Borrowed Grannies, Tax-Free Cash from Your Kids and Shopping For Free in Supermarkets TO Teaching Shakespeare to Prisoners.)
The voicework he most loves is encouraging non-thespians to explore their voices by going beyond their vocal comfort zones. And to encourage everyone to delight in speaking great words. In public or in private – whether by delivering a speech or presentation; exploring the power of Shakespeare’s language; speaking a poem; or reading the words of a great story aloud.
Matthew runs online and in-person Voice Courses; Community Poetry-Speaking sessions; and Explore Shakespeare by Speaking Him workshops for schools and social organisations. He also does online and in-person commercial work. This includes corporate Voice Clubs. And public speaking sessions for local authorities and law firms.
Recent in-person school work has included a presentation about Language and Social Media for the London Oratory; a talk to Dulwich College about Teaching Shakespeare to Prisoners; and Speaking Shakespeare workshops for King’s Worcester and (June & November’23) Lycée Charles de Gaulle. (Matthew also runs public Shakespeare workshops in French: Decouvrez Shakespeare en Parlant Son Langage.)
Recent talks (Summer’23) include a luncheon speech (Budget Travel, Borrowed Grannies, Tax-Free Cash from Yours Kids AND Shopping for Free In Supermarkets) for Cancer Research; and a speech to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham’s Legal Department about Shakespeare and Public Speaking
He runs in-person, public Speaking Workshops workshops all over the UK. In 2023 these have included a Valentine’s Day Speaking Romeo and Juliet workshop; a Mother’s Day Explore Shakespeare’s Mothers – by Speaking Them workshop; and sessions on Shakespeare’s sonnets.
With two colleagues he recently founded Speak Well With Willpower, a social enterprise that aims to level up public speaking skills, using Shakespeare, in disadvantaged communities. www.speakwellwithwillpower.co.uk
He recently ran two Halloween public voice workshops, Explore Shakespeare’s Ghosts by Speaking Them, in London’s Brompton Cemetery. Speeches were spoken by graves and in the chapel. “Inspiring!” “Great fun!” “I was so energised…” were a few comments from participants.
On 16 November he was the keynote speaker at the Brilliant Communicators conference.
On 23 November (7.00pm-9.00pm) he will be running an Explore Shakespeare by Speaking Him taster session in Fulham, South West London. Tickets are £20. For details, please get in touch.