Rick has been a professional dialect, dialogue and voice coach for the past 13 years in the theatre, Television, Film. Apart from dialect coaching in the industry, he has taught at RADA, Webber Douglas, the Central School of Speech and Drama, Arts Ed, Manchester Metropolitan University, and currently Head of Voice for the Acting Department at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
Rick is a native of Cleveland, Ohio in the USA, who was introduced to acting and performance by Gay Janis at Gilmour Academy in 1989. He went on to study Theatre and Acting at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio from 1991-1996. There, under the guidance of Stan Brown, he decided to come London in 1996 for the Voice Studies course at Central School of Speech and Drama, with David Carey. Inspired by dialect coaches Sally Grace, Jill McCullough and Julia Wilson-Dickson, Rick decided to specialize in accents and dialects. He went on to study phonetics and accents with JC Wells at UCL.During his studies, Rick was apprenticed to Nigel Rideout, the Head of Voice at Central, and then Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Nigel generously shared his lifetime of experience as a voice teacher, coach, director and actor. Upon Nigel's retirement, Rick took over as Head of Voice at Mountview, carrying on and expanding Nigel's work.
After 10 years as Head of Voice, he decided to dedicate himself to freelance dialect coaching full-time. You can contact Rick on his website www.ricklipton.com
Rick's Top Three Tips
If you are thinking of being a dialect coach, you must have a real talent for picking up other people's way of speaking. Beware. It may not be as easy for the people you are coaching. Do not show off and do not compete with them.
Consider what it must be like for someone else to change the way they speak. It is as important to dignify the speech of a character as much to give dignity to the actor you are coaching for their sounds.
Take EVERY opportunity
Never miss an opportunity to talk to actors, directors and producers about their projects and ask if they know about anything on the horizon. It is a business as well as an art. Network shamelessly.
Take classes and always strive to refine your craft
What was your first job?
My big break was also my first job. It was coaching Stephen Sondheim's Saturday Night at the Bridewell.
They didn't have any money to pay me, but I wanted them to give me a shot, so I did it for free. They paid me with 15 minutes of personal Q and A with Mr. Sondheim, which I will never forget, and I got to be a part of his private interval drinks at the opening night, be a fly on the wall and hear his thoughts on the process and the show with Maria Friedman.
Off the back of that job, I got 8 years of on-going coaching work, including Saturday Night Fever, Fame, Full Monty and Dirty Dancing.