Interview with author, Bill Wesbrooks

Bill Wesbrooks has written his first book “Dramatic Circumstances”.  It is an invaluable resource for actors, singers, teachers, directors, and anyone else who knows and believes in the power of stories to inform and touch the lives of those who tell and hear them.  

The Playbill Collector (TPC): How did you get your start in the arts?

Bill Wesbrooks (BW): From a young age, I was always drawn to theater.  I always knew I wanted to perform and that was the first thing about the art that I was attracted to.  After I finished college in New Mexico, I applied to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AMDA) in New York City and moved there.  I started by acting, then directing and finally, started teaching.  

TPC: What is your current job title?

BW: I’m the Director of Vocal Performance the Steinhardt School of Culture at New York University.  The school became the environment where my colleagues and I could explore these ideas that are portrayed in the book.


TPC: What do you focus on when teaching voice?

BW: Intention is the core of everything.  I tell students to ask questions such as: What is it you need?  What do you want? Breath is the key to everything, and the words are as important as the sounds you make.


TPC: What was the inspiration for writing your book “Dramatic Circumstances”?

BW: My main point was, how do you bring the two things together: singing and acting?  The way schools are set up, training for actors and training for singers is usually in two different locations with different people.  I wanted to start a conversation that begins to weave the two together.



TPC: Who is your target audience for the book?

BW: Students and teachers.  This process helps students expand their vocabulary and practice singing and acting at the same time.  For teachers, it demonstrates how the disciplines of acting and singing can be brought together into one process.


TPC: When writing the book, where did you get your material from?

BW: I do most of my work for voice in a coaching format.  I went back to tapes and started to review conversations I have had with singers over the years.  The coaching in the books are amalgamations which were informed by conversations I’ve had in the past.


TPC: Does this book only pertain to voice and acting or are there other underlying themes?

BW: Students have told me that after reading my book, they have also applied topics of critical thinking to their everyday life. The students find that it is helping them clarify conversations and/or relationships.


For more about the book:

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