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Elsie Fogerty, CBE, LRAM, (16 December 1865, London – 4 July 1945, Leamington, Warwickshire) was an English teacher who departed from the customary practice of “voice and diction” also called elocution. At that time “Voice and Diction” focused entirely on the mouth and nasal cavity to produce speech sounds. Fogerty’s technique ended up focusing on the entire body and voice to produce speech. At first, she used just the lungs to resonate the sound, but soon included the whole body, because she discovered that posture and movement also effected speech. It ultimately became known as the “Body and Voice” technique.[1] She was founder and principal of the Central School of Speech and Drama in London from 1906 to 1942.[2]

Elsie Fogerty

Personal details
Born16 December 1865
Sydenham, London, England
Died4 July 1945(1945-07-04) (aged 79)
Leamington Spa, England
NationalityEnglish
Alma materParis Conservatoire
ProfessionTeacher, dramatist, principal and founder of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Early yearsEdit

The daughter of engineer and architect Joseph Fogerty FRIBA (d. 1899) of Dublin, and his wife, Hannah Cochrane (d. 1910), of Limerick, Fogerty was born in Sydenham, south London on 16 December 1865.[1]

An only child, she was privately educated and in 1883 trained at the Paris Conservatoire under Coquelin aine and Louis-Arsène Delaunay, and with Hermann Vezin in London. Fogerty went on to teach English and Elocution at the Crystal Palace School of Art and Literature from 1889, Roedean School from 1908 to 1937,[2] and was tutor of diction at Sir Frank Benson's London School of Acting. [3]

Central School of Speech and DramaEdit

Fogerty began teaching Saturday speech classes at the Royal Albert Hall in the 1890s. Following their success, in 1906 she founded the Central School of Speech and Drama then known as the Central School of Speech-Training and Dramatic Arts at the Hall. By 1908 she had worked out a three year training course from speech trainer and drama teachers.[4] In 1923 the school was one of three educational establishments approved by the University of London to grant diplomas in dramatic art.[5] Fogerty gave university extension lectures at the Albert Hall, and for many years took evening classes for London County Council teachers.

The School remained at the Royal Albert Hall until 1957, when it moved to its current site in Swiss Cottage, north London.

Many of Fogerty's pupils had successes in the Poetry Reading Competition at Oxford before the Second World War and many alumni went on to become teachers in speech and the management of theatres.

Whilst at the Royal Albert Hall Elsie Fogerty trained notable actors including:

Many public figures and actors consulted Fogerty on special difficulties connected with the speech side of their work including poet Laurence Binyon, Elizabeth Bergner, Sarah Bernhardt, George Bernard Shaw, T S Eliot, various pillars of Church and State, and Princess Louise, who became Patron of the School.[7]

Speech Clinic, St Thomas' HospitalEdit

Fogerty was a pioneer in the cure of stammering and in 1912 opened a speech clinic at St Thomas' Hospital, London, of which she became superintendent, and consequently one of the very first speech therapists.[8]

HonoursEdit

Fogerty was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to speech training and dramatic arts in the King's 1934 Birthday Honours.

Drama ProfessionEdit

Elsie Fogerty worked to secure the first recognition of drama as a diploma subject in an English university – the University of London, where she was a member of the advisory committee for the Diploma in Dramatic Art. She was a member of the Council of the British Drama League from its foundation until her death, and was a keen supporter for the establishment of the Royal National Theatre, London.

PublicationsEdit

PlaysEdit

  • The Queen's Jest, Elsie Fogerty

Non-FictionEdit

  • Notes on Speech Training, Elsie Fogerty (1918)
  • The Speaking of English Verse, Elsie Fogerty (J M Dent & Sons, Limited, 1923)
  • Stammering, Elsie Fogerty (Allen & Unwin, 1930)
  • Rhythm, Elsie Fogerty (G Allen & Unwin, Limited, 1937)
  • Art of the Actor, Coquelin, trans. Elsie Fogerty (G Allen & Unwin, Limited)

Later yearsEdit

Fogerty never married but devoted her entire life to her work. In 1944 her flat in South Kensington, London was completely destroyed following an air raid during the Second World War. With all of her possessions destroyed she moved into a nearby hotel. Fogerty died in 1945 in a nursing home at Leamington Spa.[9]

Further readingEdit

  • The Central Book, Lolly Susi (Oberon Books, London, 2006)
  • Fogie – The Life (1865–1945) of Elsie Fogerty Pioneer of Speech Training for the Theatre and Everyday Life, Marion Cole (Peter Davis, London, 1967)
  • Elsie Fogerty Archive, THM/324 – Theatre & Performance Special Collections, V&A, London
  • Miss Elsie Fogerty – Speech Training and Dramatic Art, Obituary, The Times, London, 7 July 1945

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 3. Michael Sanderson, 'Fogerty, Elsie', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004–2009)
  2. ^ Elsie Fogerty, Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press)
  3. ^ 'A Historical Dictionary of British Women', Cathy Hartley (Routledge; 2003)
  4. ^ 'A Historical Dictionary of British Women', Cathy Hartley (Routledge, 2003)
  5. ^ Elsie Fogerty, Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press)
  6. ^ Elsie Fogerty Archive, THM/324 – Theatre & Performance Special Collections, V&A, London
  7. ^ Elsie Fogerty Archive, THM/324 – Theatre & Performance Special Collections, V&A, London
  8. ^ Elsie Fogerty, Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press)
  9. ^ Elsie Fogerty, Dictionary of National Biography, Muriel H Wigglesworth (Oxford University Press)