About Jan Gist

~ Professor of Voice and Speech: Old Globe/ USD Graduate Theatre Program

~ Coach/Consultant: Professional Theatres and Public Speakers


Jan Gist is a tenured Full Professor in the Graduate Actor Training Program where she teaches courses in Voice, Speech and Dialects, and is vocal coach for all M.F.A. productions. Her specializations include Shakespeare and other heightened text, verse, scansion, accents, the International Phonetic Alphabet, and applying classroom technique to professional theatre.  Her professional work includes many American regional theatres as well as being voice coach at The Old Globe Theatre of San Diego. She has also worked internationally as a leader of workshops and classes. She is a founding and published member of the Voice And Speech Trainers Association and has presented on numerous panels in conferences.


In all of her courses, Professor Gist focuses on the individual student’s process, and  empowerment toward a professional career. Skills are taught through physical/vocal exercises and performance of dramatic text. Students are taught vocal health, breath support, rich vibrational tone, clear and precise articulation, strength with ease, and expressive range of Quality, Force, Time, and Pitch. Dialects are taught for specific roles in productions, and in Dialects class each student is empowered with a process to research and develop dialects for themselves.

Scholarly and Creative Work

Professor Gist has coached hundreds of professional plays in such theatres as The Globe Theatre (San Diego), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespearean Festival, The Shakespeare Theatre (D.C.), American Shakespeare Center (VA), Arena Stage (D.C.), Ahmanson Theatre (L.A. Music Center), American Players Theatre (WI), Milwaukee Rep, Indiana Rep, PlayMakers Rep (NC), La Jolla Playhouse, and was Head of Voice for nine years at Alabama Shakespeare Festival.  She was selected for “Voice ’92 (a theatre voice specialists exchange at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon), was invited to The Moscow Art Theatre in Russia for an international voice teachers exchange, and taught Shakespeare classes for London’s Central School of Speech and Drama.  Her original poetry is published in two journals of the Voice And Speech Trainers Association.  She  has published chapters in The Complete Voice and Speech Workout, and More Stage Dialects, and has written articles and has been editor for various national theatre associations’ news letters. A chapter/interview of her is in Voice and Speech Training in the New Millennium, Conversations with Master Teachers.  In the media, she has been a guest on KPBS radio’s A Way With Words, has narrated dozens of “Books To Listen To” and some of San Diego Museum of Art’s documentaries, and has coached films such as The Rosa Parks Story.


Jan Gist studied with Jerry Blunt at Los Angeles City College, received her B.F.A. at Carnegie-Mellon University (studying with Edith Skinner and Robert Parks), and received her M.F.A. at Wayne State University, performing in the Hilberry Repertory Company.


Business, corporate, theatre, and private clients include: Thomas Jefferson School of Law, A.C.L.U., U.P.S, Virgil Scudder and Associates, Mo’olelo Theatre, and “Women Of Ancient Wisdom”.   She studies Qi Gong, Body-Mind Centering, meditation techniques, and is constantly deepening and updating her work in the field of voice and speech. Professor Gist is currently writing a book on voice and language skills for performing Shakespeare, as well as preparing her poetry for a published collection.

Curriculum Vitae

You can download Professor Gist's Curriculum Vitae here.

To Contact Jan Gist

University of San Diego:

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Office Phone: (619) 260-7757

The Old Globe Theatre:

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Guidance on How to Develop Your Voice & Speech 

1. Learn how you learn.

2. Translate what you're taught into what can work for you to become your own teacher.

3. Drill your skills with curiosity and imagination.

4. Bridge your skills into the vital, expressive journey as it is sculpted by the script, and envisioned by the director.

5. Embody "Stage Presence" by owning the time, owning the place, and welcoming your audience into you specifically crafted time and place.