Centre Stage

Centre Stage

Lessons from Actors on the Art of Charisma


Brought to you by Penguin.

How the world's best actors communicate with gravitas - and how you can, too.

Every time you deliver a speech, give a presentation, or simply tell a good story, you are taking centre stage. Here, one of the world’s leading voice coaches introduces the simple exercises that great actors use to hold people’s attention – and reveals how anyone speaking in public can use them.

Drawing on 25 years working at London’s National Theatre, Jeannette Nelson explains:
  • How to warm up your voice and body before a big speech.
  • How focusing on your breathing can improve your clarity and pace.
  • How to divide a script into individual ‘thoughts’ so it flows more naturally.
  • How to adapt your delivery to suit any environment, be it a 1,000-seater auditorium or an intimate Zoom meeting.
Along the way, she recounts stories from leading actors that pull back the curtain on how they learnt to own the room, and how you can too. If all the world’s a stage, this book will turn you into its lead actor.

'The theatre stars' voice guru' Daily Mail

©2024 Jeannette Nelson (P)2024 Penguin Audio


  • I owe Jeannette a huge debt of thanks. She was recommended as the best in the business, and has worked with me for years on my one-man shows. Her knowledge is astonishing and her approach so gentle and effective.
    Derren Brown

About the author

Jeannette Nelson

Jeannette Nelson is one of the world’s leading voice coaches. During her 25 years as Head of Voice at the National Theatre, she was responsible for ensuring that everyone who took the stage at Britain’s leading theatre was communicating clearly and charismatically. Along the way, she worked with some of the greatest actors of our time – from Al Pacino to Ralph Fiennes to Juliette Binoche – on some of their most notable roles across stage, film and TV. Nelson's previous books, The Voice Exercise Book (2015) and Keeping it Active (2022), have become the go-to resources for actors looking to improve their communication skills; in Centre Stage, she introduces this work to a popular audience for the first time.

'Jeannette's knowledge is astonishing and her approach so gentle and effective' Derren Brown

'Jeannette's warm-up sessions are tremendous' Zoë Wanamaker
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