An international organization whose mission is to advance the art, research, and visibility of the voice and speech profession.


Welcome Message

Letter from the President regarding the 2020 Conference

Greetings VASTA members: 

Though I am writing this only seven days after my last letter, in light of global changes, it seems ages ago. The speed at which we are learning of COVID-19 Coronavirus’s impact can take one aback. The importance of taking care of ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities has become paramount.  

After conversations with our Sydney conference host school, NIDA, the Board of Directors has made the difficult decision that there will be no annual conference this year. Although we are saddened to make the decision, it is clear that it is the most responsible action in protecting the health of our members. 

Our hope is to come together for our very next conference in Sydney, ideally in July 2021, one year later than planned.

For those who have already registered for the conference, you will receive a full refund within 48 hours. Please contact Nancy Bos, our Director of Operations, if you have any questions. For those who have booked travel and need a letter documenting the cancellation in order to receive reimbursement, please contact Nancy for that as well.

I want to recognize and thank the Conference Directors for Sydney 2020:  Amy Hume, Jennifer Innes, and Katerina Moraitis. The conference was to be an exciting mix of featured presentations, member presentations, and guest performances. Our hope is to carry over all of these arrangements to next year - that those people who were accepted to present in July 2020 will be available to present when we reschedule We will be in touch with presenters when we have a firm plan to see who is willing and able to be involved and how many spots will be left to fill .

In other news, according to the VASTA Bylaws, we must hold an annual meeting of the membership. As this has normally been held at the conference, our plan is to have a web meeting somewhere near the end of July or beginning of August.  Our Zoom account can easily involve 100 members; in order to involve as many people as possible, we will likely send out an announcement asking members to RSVP so we can increase capacity if needed. 

For those members who were accepted to present at the ATHE Convention in Detroit, I can offer no new information.  As of now, that convention is still planned to proceed as scheduled. Any change in that will come from the ATHE leadership. 

On behalf of the Board, I send all of you my greatest wishes to stay healthy—both physically and mentally—during this challenging time.  I am quickly recognizing that, for me, self-isolation is not easy. Be certain to take care of yourselves and your loved ones.  

Lastly, as always, please get in touch with me if you have any thoughts or suggestions for the organization. I can be reached at or No, really, I mean it - PLEASE be in touch with me - call, send a messenger pigeon - anything!!! :-) <3

Breathe and be in health,
Michael J Barnes
President, 2018-2020

ATHE Call for Proposals - EXTENDED DEADLINE!
ATHE’s VASTA Focus Group:
The VASTA at ATHE Debut Panel 

DEADLINE EXTENDED - March 29, 2020

The Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) Focus Group of the Association for Theatre in
Higher Education (ATHE) re-announces its call for proposals for the VASTA at ATHE Debut Panel for the
2020 ATHE conference in Detroit, Michigan from July 29-August 2, 2020.

Submissions are open to emerging scholars (including graduate students) who have not yet presented at an ATHE conference on a topic related to theatrical voice and speech, as well as established scholars who have not previously presented at a major conference in the areas of voice and speech. Proposals are open to short presentations, hands-on voice and speech exercises, and/or paper topics, about 20 minutes each. Entries may not be cross-submitted to another ATHE panel for the 2020 conference. Scholars may, however, present or serve on other panels at this conference. Submissions may concern any area within the purview of the VASTA Focus Group, which include (but is not limited to): voice for the actor, heightened text work, dialect coaching, breath and impulse, integrating voice and acting methods, voice and speech for social justice.
For consideration, please e-mail a 1-2 paragraph abstract (Word or PDF format) description of your paper or workshop to Colton Weiss, Associate VASTA at ATHE Focus Group coordinator, at by March 29, 2020. 3-4 presentations will be selected by a review committee for inclusion on this panel.


Please also reach out with any and all questions you may have!
For more information on the ATHE 2020 conference, visit

Funding to attend 2020 Conference in Sydney

VASTA values the benefit of hearing the voices and ideas of a diverse group of practitioners.

These awards offer funding for travel expenses, membership fees and/or conference fees.


Member-Sponsored Appreciation Award  More Info

Deadline March 1. Eligibility: 

  • Must be nominated by a member - who is not currently serving on the Board or as a member of the Awards & Grants Committee. 
  • Must be an active VASTA member for 3+ years. 

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion - Conference Travel Scholarships  More Info

Deadline March 15. Eligibility: 

  • You identify as a member of an underrepresented group (including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, differently-abled, gender identification).
  • Have financial need to travel to the conference.
  • Have not attended more than one VASTA conference.

Annual Vasta Conference Travel Award   More Info

Deadline March 15. Eligibility: 

  • Demonstrate a financial need to travel to the conference.
  • Are a current VASTA member.
  • Do not reside in the Sydney region. 

Clyde Vinson Memorial Scholarship More Info

Deadline April 1. Eligibility: 

  • Requires a nomination letter from a current VASTA member.
  • Intended for pre-career or very early career voice/speech trainers.
  • Must either be currently engaged in preparatory work as a voice/speech trainer or have less than three years employment as a voice/speech trainer. 


Thank you to all the applicants for the 2019 Dorothy Mennen Research/Development Grant.

Congratulations to the two 2019 recipients

Melissa Hurt                                  Karen Kopryanski


They each receive a $1000 award to support their research and professional development. 

Learn more about VASTA's ten opportunities for funding. From the home page, hover over the Resources drop down menu, and then the Awards, Grants & Scholarships menu to explore the full list. 




on being selected for VASTA's fourth class of Early Career Leaders!


The Early Career Leader Initiative has its origins under President Lynn Watson and was instituted during President Betty Moulton’s tenure. It is an initiative to mentor and foster two voice and speech professionals at the beginning of their career in their involvement with VASTA.

During the year, these young leaders attend VASTA’s board meetings—both as an observer and a participant in the activities that keep the organization running. They have become influencers in helping inspire and mentor the upcoming generation of voice and speech trainers. 

Past Early Leaders include Kristi Dana, Kendra Kingsbury, Jennifer Innes, Jeremy Sortore, Ann Marie Pollard, and Joe Hetterly.  

SAVE THE DATE: Applications for 2021’s Early Career Leaders will open at the of the 2020 Sydney conference. For more information about VASTA Early Career Leadership Initiative,

Click Here!




Deadline for Proposals: 11/1/2019

To read the Call for Proposals,

Click Here!

Email the VASTA Focus Group Conference Planner, Stacey Cabaj, before you submit your proposal and with any questions.

To submit your Proposal,

Click Here!

Now accepting applications for the Dorothy Mennen Research/Development Grant.  

This award of up to $1000 funds VASTA members for research or professional development.

Deadline NOVEMBER 10th, 2019

To read more about the grant and for submittal instructions, 

Click Here!

Now accepting EARLY CAREER LEADERSHIP applications!

To learn more, WATCH THIS AWESOME VIDEO from last year's selected leaders, Joseph Hetterly and Ann Marie Pollard.

Watch the video! 

OR for even more information AND to apply,

Click Here!

Thanks to those who could join us in Orlando for our 2019 conference: Connectors, Communicators, & Culture! If you attended the conference, WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK! To fill out the 2019 post-conference survey,

Click Here!

I am pleased to inform all members of VASTA that you elected the following three active and dedicated members to serve on your board for 2019 to 2022.

Marie Ramirez Downing, Adriano A. Cabral, and Jeremy Sortore

As I wrote to all 6 nominees today, I was pleased and proud that they had all agreed to run this year, willing to serve VASTA in this important role. Their service to date has been one of dedication and passion, and bodes well for VASTA’s future. 


We say goodbye to one board member who is cycling off this summer, Julia Guichard. Julia generously shared her progressive ideas and excellent work as board liaison to a number of committees. We will miss her around the table and wish her well in other exploits. However she chooses to stay involved in VASTA, I am sure she will continue to influence our organization in a positive way.


Please join me in welcoming the new board members to the table, and watch for news from the board and president in each newsletter, The VASTA Voice, on our website, on VASTAVox and on our Facebook page, Vasta’s Voices.


Betty Moulton
Past President
Chair of Nominating Committee 2019


Congratulations to this year's recipients of the

2019 VASTA Global Communications Group Travel Awards!

Luzita Fereday

Professional Practitioner outside North America

Adam Lyon

Graduate Student outside of North America

 They will receive travel support to join us at the VASTA Conference in Orlando, Florida this August.

Won't you join us in Orlando, too?! Register NOW!


Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the

2019 VASTA Conference Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Scholarships:

Alexandra Stroud

Graduate Student Recipient

Elisa Gonzalez

Early Career Recipient


They will receive travel support to join us at the VASTA Conference in Orlando, Florida this August.

Won't you join us in Orlando, too?! Register NOW!


Member Initiatives

Statement of Teaching Philosophy Support Group

One of the great things our members do is try to support one another for self-improvement.  VASTA Member, Diane Robinson, saw a need to help people in developing their teaching philosophy statements. For anyone in Academia, this can be a serious undertaking because it is often a part of Tenure & Promotion Materials, so she asked members of our listserv, VASTAvox, if they would like to work with one another in helping one another develop a teaching philosophy.  This has grown into the Statement of Teaching Philosophy Support Group.

If you are interested in being a part of these discussions, please contact the Tech Director. You will be added,  begin receiving email messages, and have access to VASTA's Google Apps Group. 


VASTA is a Focus Group of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). For more information visit


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