The following testimonials are from both actors and directors working in theatre and film,
as well as professionals who were required to develop their presentation skills.
PETER HAMBLETON (DIRECTOR & ACTOR FOR THEATRE, TV & FILM)
Hilary’s skills as a voice coach are phenomenal. I was blessed to have her in the cast for my recent production of All's Well That Ends Well for Wellington Summer Shakespeare, and she drove our vocal coaching and voice warmups with great energy and sensitivity. She combines extensive industry experience with skill and enthusiasm to produce great results, and I have no hesitation in recommending her most highly for any voice coaching situation.
Dr Annie Ruth MNZM (Acting and Directing Teacher, Research Mentor)
Hilary’s accent coaching made all the difference to our production of Taking the High Ground. With one actor required to play multiple roles in quick succession — all with very different accents and vocal qualities — it was essential that each was instantly recognisable and differentiated. Hilary assisted him to do this, and in fact developing particular vocal qualities and accents proved to be a pleasurable way into each characterisation. I strongly recommend Hilary’s work and would certainly work with her again.
Jodie Bate (The Unity Creative)
I have found Hilary’s knowledge and skills as a vocal and acting coach extremely helpful. It is very reassuring to be thoroughly put through the ropes when approaching accents, and while Hilary does that in an in-depth way, she does so in a joyful and bubbly manner.
Whether over the phone, Skype or in person, Hilary’s approach covering character, period, cultural context and regions through to vowel and consonant sounds, her coaching is extremely thorough.
Jonathan Harris (Actor)
I was fortunate enough to be coached by Hilary in The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Circa Theatre, Wellington. Hilary coached me, and helped me find my Cockney accent in a short space of time, and was completely lovely to work with.
I would highly recommend her to any actors needing voice or accent coaching.
Guy Shaw (Director, Energy Architecture Ltd)
One of my construction projects was featured on Grand Designs NZ. There was an expectation that I would make an appearance on camera, for which I felt vastly unprepared. Hilary’s coaching was indispensable; it gave me the confidence I needed for the interviews.
Wyeth Chalmers (Hundleby and Chalmers Productions)
I would like to express my gratitude to Hilary Norris for the accent training she did with me. She is a woman I hold in high regard, and this was further cemented when she trained me in ten accents of Britain and Ireland for Living History, Oamaru.
I have recommended her — and will continue to recommend her — as the best accent coach I know.
Allan Burne (Actor)
Hilary’s wealth of experience as an actor and director perfectly informs the advice she gives as a vocal coach, allowing her to deliver precisely the right guidance for each unique acting challenge. I recently completed my first outdoor theatre season, and was fortunate enough to have Hilary coach me on voice warm-up, projection and vocal clarity.
Her understanding of the requirements of the actor, the audience and the space they are in helped me to rapidly build the skills I needed to be audible and understandable night after night, without damaging my voice. Hilary’s explanations of the techniques she teaches are easy to grasp. She clearly outlines the intention, mechanics and benefits of each exercise or method.
I would highly recommend voice-coaching talent to any actor or public speaker, and I look forward to working with her again.
Stephen Kilroy (Production Manager, toitŪ OTAGO settlers museum)
Not one of the best — the best! I could not have done the work at Toitu without her.
With Hilary you get the added bonus of a very good directorial eye.
Hilary Halba (Senior Lecturer, Theatre Studies, University of Otago)
She’s GOOD! I can attest to that FOR SURE!
Hilary helped me enormously with my accent for a recent role at the Court Theatre, Christchurch, and via Skype.
Patrick Davies (Director of Pitman PainterS, Fortune Theatre; Actor in Pitman Painters, Circa Theatre)
Hilary’s work with the cast was an essential part of this multi-award-winning production, gaining deserved recognition in industry reviews. Hilary found the balance between authenticity and theatrical presentation of one of the most dense and difficult English accents. She enabled the entire cast, of different levels of experience and abilities, to be members of the same village.
Having utilised Hilary in my own production, it was easy to recommend her work to Circa Theatre. After one of our performances, a tourist from that region was astounded to discover that we were Kiwi, and not a touring English production.
Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw (SCIENCE COMMUNICATOR & RESEARCHER)
As someone who works in science communications and research, I have to give a lot of public performances talking about some complex ideas. I love the opportunity these presentations — on radio, on film and in person — bring to talk to the public about some big ideas. However, it is not enough to have great content. Great communication needs great storytelling. Hilary helped me discover my great storyteller’s voice and presentation style. It has made a huge difference in professional settings. I get a lot of feedback about my approachable and interesting style of talking. I highly recommend Hilary’s services to anyone who wants to be able to tell better stories about their professional work.