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Leigh Wilson Smiley

Leigh Wilson Smiley

Associate Professor, Theatre Performance

(301) 405-6682

2816 The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
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Research Expertise

Speech and Dialects
Voice for the Actor

Leigh Wilson Smiley is Associate Professor of Acting, Voice, Speech at the University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at College Park.  Her research includes the voice/dialect direction and coaching for productions at Baltimore Center Stage, Everyman Theatre, Round House Theatre, Fords Theatre, Arena Stage, Signature Theatre, John F. Kennedy Center, Folger Shakespeare Theatre, NBC News, Cirque du Soleil and with lawyers, doctors, scientists, and professional speakers. She designed and continues to build the Visual Accent and Dialect Archive, a web based, crowd-resourced visual dialect and accent site. As a professional actor she is a member Actors Equity (AEA), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).  She is also a member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), and the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA). She served as the Director of School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies from 2013-2020, and as the Head of the MFA in Performance Program at UMD from 2009-2013.


B.A., Marlboro College, Vermont; Designated Linklater Voice Teacher; Training: Kristin Linklater, Richard Armstrong, Jean Rene Toussaint, Louis Colaianni, Catherine Fitzmaurice, Cecily Berry, Michael Howard, William Hickey

Areas of Specialization/Interest:

Voice, Acting, Text, Shakespeare, Speech, Dialects, Presentational Coaching

Professional Affiliations:

Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Actors Equity Association (AEA), American Federation of Television and Radio Actors (AFTRA), Voice and Speech Association (VASTA), Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)

Representative Productions:

Voice/Dialect/Text Coaching and Direction: Cirque de Soliel, Pig Iron Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre (WDC), Ford's Theatre, The Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Shakespeare & Company (Lenox, MA), Arena Stage, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Wilma Theatre, Catalyst Theatre, Georgetown University, Catholic University, Olney Theatre, Open Eye Theatre. Performance: Dear Harvey, Coriolanus, Cassandra Project, Anna Bella Eema, Mary Stuart, Macbeth, Quills, Custom of the Country, The Winter's Tale, Two Noble Kinsmen, A Lover's Discourse, Under Milkwood, What the Butler Saw, The Miser. Film: Beloved, Twelve Monkeys, Philadelphia, Renaissance. Direction: Sandwalk; The Winter's Tale, Trojan Women - University of Maryland,Stop Kiss - University of the Arts, Cassandra Project - Capitol Fringe Festival. International Workshops in: "Shakespeare's Text into Action," "Archetypes and the Voice" (Athens, Greece and Aberystwth, Wales); "Vocal Presence with Self: A Conscious Journey through the F.M. Alexander and Linklater Voice Techniques;" Linklater Voice Workshops; Shakespeare Weekend Intensive Workshops

Representative Publications/Research Activities:

Author: "Cowboy Resonance in America," Voice & Speech Review, 2007; "The Vocal Soundscape of Trojan Women,"Voice & Speech Review, 2006

Honors and Awards:

2010 - Honored University Faculty Mentor for Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar; 2010 - Maryland Institute of Technology for the Humanities Fellowship (MITH); 2009 - Creative and Performing Arts Award (CAPA);  2006 - Creative and Performing Arts Award (CAPA); 2005 - Honored University Faculty Mentor for Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar