The Tandridge Independent meets…Glen McCready

“There’s an old adage that claims when given the choice between public speaking and death, many would choose death,” says Caterham’s Glen McCready. “It’s a joke, obviously, but there are a lot of people who really don’t feel comfortable speaking out loud, which can really affect how they present themselves.”  

Renowned actor and voice artist Glen attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, a leading drama school which opened in 1926 as an opera school, was absorbed into the Central School of Speech and Drama in 2006, and boasts alumni including Angela Lansbury, Steven Berkoff, Hugh Bonneville, and Anthony Sher. Glen trained under Caryll Ziegler and Head of Voice Stewart Pearce, who also trained Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana, and went on to become Master of Voice at Shakespeare’s Globe.  

Glen has appeared on stage and in film and television (including roles in Blood Brothers, The Mousetrap, Hotel Portofino and Russell T Davies’ Years and Years) but it is through voice work that his career has really flourished.

He has recorded over 200 audiobooks, provided voice overs for commercials, narrated documentaries, given voice to animations, worked on the audio versions of Doctor Who and is extensively involved in the education sector. He has been the recipient of five AudioFile Magazine Earphone Awards.

His talent for accents and characters has established him firmly as a leading voice actor in the video game genre as well, with one role in particular delighting Potterheads everywhere. Zygmunt Budge was the first wizard to be created by JK Rowling since the final book in the Harry Potter series was published, and Glen brought him to life in the 2013 Playstation 3 game Wonderbook: Book of Potions.  

Glen began a long-standing collaboration with one of his all-time heroes, Steven Berkoff, in 2016 when he was part of the world premiere reading of Berkoff’s play Corpse.

“That play is made for the voice, and I’d been trying to get it made into an audio drama ever since we performed it. We finally got it recorded in spring 2022, and it was released on Steven’s website just before Easter this year. He now wants to get more of his unperformed work recorded, so we’ve got three more lined up. He’s also cast me in a couple of two-handers and I’m currently working on a full career retrospective interview with him, which is amazing.”

Glen reading with Steven Berkoff

While it may not seem possible that Glen has time to do anything more, he has also been a speech, voice and acting coach for more than 20 years. 

“Around the turn of the century, I was invited back to Douglas Webber as a stand-in for Caryll Ziegler, who was then head of voice. I’ve been teaching, both privately and in drama schools, as well as in the corporate world, ever since. My wife Zoe and I had also had a Stagecoach franchise, where I worked with children and helped them prepare for professional auditions. One boy was chosen to play Harry Potter in the Cursed Child, and a girl I’d taught to speak with a Northern Irish accent for a play subsequently got a part in the film Belfast.”

When working with clients, Glen used to give them a CD featuring exercises to listen to and repeat at home. He has now developed this into an online course that ‘unlocks the powerful secrets of the spoken word’ for ‘clear, eloquent and impactful speech’, as well as teaching Neutral Standard English, something often required by casting directors. 

A recent speech by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer resonated with Glen, as it outlined plans to improve children’s speaking skills by embedding oracy into the curriculum, something he’s hugely in favour of.

“I’m interested in working with schools on this, with the students directly but also training teachers how to do short vocal warm-ups, which are so useful for energising children and preparing them for in-class speaking. You make it fun so the children enjoy what they’re doing, and their confidence grows from that.”

For more information visit Watch the trailer for Steven Berkoff’s Corpse on YouTube, and purchase the full digital download here.

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