Donna Soto-Morettini
Donna SotoMorettini

Dr Donna Soto-Morettini

Senior Lecturer

Biography

I became a performer at the age of 15, and for many years worked throughout the western United States, Canada and Japan as a singer and an actress. I came to the UK in 1984 to complete a DPhil in British Political Drama at Oxford University (under the supervision of Terry Eagleton), and I have been training actors in the UK for more than two decades. In 1990 I became Head of Acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and moved on from there in 1994, where I led the team that was awarded the first BA degree for vocational acting in the UK. I also designed and launched MA degrees in acting and playwriting. In 1994 I became the founding Head of Acting & Dance at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, where we designed and launched the first interdisciplinary BA in Performance in the UK. From 2001-7 I served as Director of Drama, Head of Musical Theatre, and Director of International Development for the Royal Scottish Conservatoire, and while there I designed and launched the BA in Digital Film and Television and the MA in Musical Theatre. Since starting at Napier in 2011 I have written, validated and launched the BA Acting for Stage & Screen, BA Acting & English, MFA Directing, MFA Playwriting and MFA Acting.

In 2005 I wrote and presented a 4 part-series for BBC Radio Scotland, called Singing School, and in 2007 I began working again in the industry. In that time I’ve worked extensively in television both as a casting director and performance coach for BBC, ITV, and others.

I live in Edinburgh where I work as a writer, a freelance performance coach and director and as a Senior Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University. My research areas include historiography, acting theory, philosophy of consciousness, artificial intelligence and cognitive science. Along with books, I’ve published many journal articles, and presented workshops and master classes on performing, auditioning and singing in various places throughout the UK, Europe and the United States.

Esteem

Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • BAFTA Jury member, Best Actor/Best Actress, Scottish Film, 2005
  • Grand Jury member Global Search for New Musicals, Cardiff International Festival of Musical Theatre, January 2005
  • Selection Panel, Board of Governors, National Theatre of Scotland

 

Editorial Activity

  • Assistant Editor, Theatre Journal, John Hopkins Press, 1980 – 1983

 

External Examining/Validations

  • External Examiner, Birmingham School of Acting (2002 - 2007)
  • External Examiner, New Lanarkshire College (2012 – 2015)

 

Fellowships and Awards

  • U.C.Irvine, Distinguished Alumni Award, 1999
  • Regents Fellowship, UCI, 1981, 1982
  • U.C.Irvine, Theatre Guild Award in Acting, 1982

 

Invited Speaker

  • “Rethinking Voice Training”, published conference proceedings, CSSD, 1995
  • “The Cognitive Architecture of Performance”, PSI conference, Utrecht, April 2011
  • “Non-Traditional Casting and Actor Training”, conference organiser, panel chair at presenter, CSSD, 1994
  • “Reading Silence”, Chair and presenter, Conference “Hands up for China, ICA London, 1989
  • “Rude Scottish Drama and the ‘Psychosomatics of the Zeitgeist’” In-yer-face, University of Western England, Bristol, September 2002
  • “Gunter Grass and Bertolt Brecht” Presentation for the School of Criticism and Theory, UC Irvine, 1983
  • “Georg Lukacs reconsidered”, Oxford English Ltd., Oxford, 1988
  • “Teaching Vocal Style”, published conference proceedings Interactive 2000, Liverpool, 2000
  • “Out of Apathy” conference, Panel Chair: Aesthetics and the New Left: Lindsay Anderson and Trevor Griffiths, Oxford, 1987
  • “Framing the Imaginary: Michael Frayn’s Democracy” – IFTR congress, St Petersburg, May 2004
  • “Constructing National Identities: The New National Theatre of Scotland”, Conference, Trinity College, Dublin, March 2005
  • “Howard Brenton in Conversation” ICA Video library, interviewer, presenter, 1988
  • “Disturbing the Spirits of the Past”, Brussels and Liverpool John Moores, Summer 2000
  • “Memories and Aspirtions: Scotland’s State of the Nation Trilogy” FIRT/IFTR, Amsterdam, Summer 2002
  • “Twenty Years of Feminism” Conference organiser in association with Routledge Press, ICA London,1989

 

Reviewing

  • Theatre Journal, Feminist Review and Methuen Drama

 

Date


22 results

The Real Housewives of Ipswich: London Road, and the Relationship between Verbatim Theatre and Structured Reality Television

Book Chapter
Soto-Morettini, D. (2022)
The Real Housewives of Ipswich: London Road, and the Relationship between Verbatim Theatre and Structured Reality Television. In S. Homan (Ed.), Playing with Reality: Denying, Manipulating, Converting, and Enhancing What Is There (73-80). Oxford: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003256601-10
Verbatim Theatre and structured ‘reality television’ are rarely compared. But should they be? Constructed from the ‘real’, and relying on our faith that what we are watching...

My Character Wouldn't Do That: Acting, Cognitive Science, and the Optimal Performance Brain

Book
Soto-Morettini, D. (2022)
My Character Wouldn't Do That: Acting, Cognitive Science, and the Optimal Performance Brain. Bloomsbury Publishing
Based on the latest research into brain activity and human behaviour, this book puts forward a new way of thinking about the practice of acting. Specifically, My Character Wou...

Theatre and the Digital Native

Book Chapter
Soto-Morettini, D. (2020)
Theatre and the Digital Native. In S. Homan (Ed.), Why the Theatre (158-165). Oxford: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003017615-26
Much of the discussion currently about generational differences between what has been called the “net generation” or “digital natives” and those raised before/during the rise ...

History on the Cusp of Myth: J.T.Rogers' Oslo

Journal Article
Soto-Morettini, D. (2018)
History on the Cusp of Myth: J.T.Rogers' Oslo. Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 6(2), 315-330. https://doi.org/10.1515/jcde-2018-0028
J.T. Rogers’ Oslo has had an extraordinary run for new ‘straight’ drama: sell-out performances both in New York and London, and 7 Tony nominations. But what is it? On the face...

Reverse engineering the human: artificial intelligence and acting theory

Book Chapter
Soto-Morettini, D. (2018)
Reverse engineering the human: artificial intelligence and acting theory. In E. Bryon, J. M. Bishop, D. McLaughlin, & J. Kaufman (Eds.), Embodied Cognition, Acting and Performance. Routledge
In two separate papers, Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Robotics researcher Guy Hoffman takes as a starting point that actors have been in the business of reverse engineering hum...

Reverse engineering the human: artificial intelligence and acting theory

Journal Article
Soto-Morettini, D. (2017)
Reverse engineering the human: artificial intelligence and acting theory. Connection Science, 29(1), 64-76. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540091.2016.1271398
In two separate papers, Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Robotics researcher Guy Hoffman takes as a starting point that actors have been in the business of reverse engineering hum...

Mastering the Shakespeare Audition

Book
Soto-Morettini, D. (2016)
Mastering the Shakespeare Audition. Bloomsbury Publishing
Mastering the Shakespeare Audition is a practical collection of approaches to analysing the structure of Shakespeare's monologue texts, understanding the prosody and metre, an...

Popular singing and style.

Book
Soto-Morettini, D. (2014)
Popular singing and style. Bloomsbury Publishing
Popular Singing serves as a practical guide to exploring the singing voice while helping to enhance vocal confidence in a range of popular styles. The book provides effective ...

Mastering the audition: how to perform under pressure.

Book
Soto-Morettini, D. (2011)
Mastering the audition: how to perform under pressure. Methuen

The cognitive architecture of performance.

Presentation / Conference
Soto-Morettini, D. (2011, May)
The cognitive architecture of performance. Paper presented at PSI Conference #18, Utrecht, Netherland