Ian Raffel - Founding Core

Ian Raffel - Founding Core


BFA from the Drama Department of Carnegie Mellon University

Ian Raffel heads the Voice Department in the Acting for Film and Television program at the Vancouver Film School, where he teaches both Voice and Speech classes. In addition, Ian serves on the Faculty of Studio 58, Langara College’s nationally recognized acting program. Since coming to Vancouver in 1980, Ian has taught in the Theatre Program in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. Additionally, he has also taught in The Film-Theatre School founded by Anthony Holland and at the Vancouver Playhouse Acting School. Ian joined the faculty of the National Voice Intensive in 1988. He teaches Speech, basic rhetoric and text work.

Ian is a specialist in American accents and has worked with many actors on feature films and television series. Among his assignments were coaching American accent for Dominic Purcell, an Australian actor now appearing in Prison Break and American accent for Fiona Shaw in the feature film, Catch and Release. He also coached East Indian dialect for an actor of East Indian descent who was born in London, England, and spoke working-class British. Ian prepared him to appear in a film about India, shot in Canada. He continues in private practice of dialect and dialogue coaching as well as accent reduction for speakers of English as a Second Language.

Ian received a BFA from the Drama Department of Carnegie Mellon University where he was privileged to study Speech with Edith Warman Skinner. For over 50 years, Ms. Skinner was considered to be the most influential American teacher of speech for the actor.

After a stint in the American Army, Ian attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for graduate work in Linguistics. As an amateur philologist, he continues an avid study of the nature of language, especially etymology and linguistic history. He was trained as a massage practioner by a founder of the Esalen style, Margaret Elke in San Francisco, and applies principles of body awareness in his Voice and Speech classes.

As a performer, Ian has created one-person narrative shows. One is about his Army experiences and is entitled Not My Army and the other, named Walking to Jerusalem, recounts his pilgrimage on foot from Germany to Jerusalem, Israel after being discharged from service.

The Voice Intensive is, for Ian, a high point of the year. The faculty of the Intensive is among the most experienced and talented of teaching professionals. After so many years of working to improve the program, the core faculty has slowly woven a training that is as powerful as it is unique. Coming home annually to the Intensive allows Ian the happy exchange of new ideas and techniques among peers. It is, however, the participants who regularly amaze the faculty with their dedication and willingness to deepen as performers and artists of the voice.