Speech New Zealand Booklist


The following are books that have been recommended by a range of New Zealand Registered Speech Teachers. They are personal recommendations and are not necessarily endorsed by Speech New Zealand or its Trustees.



English Text Books


Theatre and Drama

Acting and Directing


Public Speaking


Teaching Thinking and Speaking

Childrens Literature

Language and Phonetics

Further reading from earlier SNZ records


Professional and Business Communication

 English Text Books


Barnard, Robert. (1994). A Short History of English Literature. 9780631190882

A concise “easy to read” texts for teens studying different genre.  A basic test which sets the scene for deeper study.

Payne, Tom. (1997). The A-Z of Great Writers. 9781858338149

Brief thumbnail sketches of authors’ lives, including several foreign and some lesser known.  Includes photos and list of works.  Covers 396 works – English, European, American, International.

Strum, Terry (ed.) (1998). The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature in English.  9780195583854

Most comprehensive and authoritative literary history of New Zealand.  Extensive bibliography, chapters on History, Poetry, Novel, Drama, Short Story.



Claybourne, Anna and Treays, Rebecca. (1996). The World of Shakespeare. 9780746024546

A delightful overview of Shakespeare’s time and his major plays with simple synopses – illustrated. 

McAllister, Angela. (2018). A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories.9781786031143.

A wonderful, accessible introduction to the stories.

Williams, Marcia. (2000). Mr William Shakespeare’s Plays: Seven Plays. 9781406323344

Comic book – Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Winter’s Tale, Julius Caesar, The Tempest – fun, and good overview.


Andrews, Richard and Gibson, Rex (eds.) Hamlet. (1998). 9780521434942

One of the Cambridge School series (most of Shakespeare’s plays are covered).  Arises out of research and development of the Shakespeare and Schools project.  Includes running synopsis and explanation of words.

Bloom, Harold. (1994) Shakespeare – The Invention of the Human.  9780521434942

Argues that Shakespeare, our greatest and wittiest writer, invented ‘humanity’ as we know it.  Covers all the plays, provocative interpretation reveals how Shakespeare will continue to explain us – rich in asides.

Clark, Sandra. (1993). The Hutchinson Shakespeare Dictionary. 9780099913207

An A-Z Guide to Shakespeare’s Plays, Characters and Contemporaries.

Cook, Judith. (1980). Women in Shakespeare. 9780245536311.

Helpful insight to major female characters in the work of William Shakespeare.  Commentary contrasts and compares the roles.  Background reading to successful understanding and performance.

Gill, Richard. (1998). Mastering Shakespeare. 9780333698730

This book supplies detailed studies of important scenes from Shakespeare’s most popular plays. 

Trewin, J.C. (2013). The Pocket Companion to Shakespeare’s Plays. 9780753724514

 A synopsis of each play with characters, story, performance notes, film notes.  Includes Shakespeare’s life, poems, glossary.  Valuable reference work.




Berry, James (ed.) (2003). Poems to Read Aloud. 9780753456880

Lovely categories including “magical”and “mirthful”; also has poems from many countries. Useful for choosing poems for performance.

Bornholdt, Jenny; O’Brien, Gregory;& Williams, Mark (eds.) (1998). An Anthology of New Zealand Poetry in English. 9780195584370

A diverse collection of New Zealand poetry spanning more than a century.  Major poets are acknowledged, along with a range of unique poets encompassing a range of styles and forms.

Foster, John. (2000). I’m in a Mood Today – Poems about Feelings. 9780192762306

Collection of poems involved with feelings including being in a bad mood, family, relationships, bullying, dyslexia, sulking, caring, loneliness, left out – etc. etc.

Johnston, Andrew &Marsack, Robyn (2009). Twenty Contemporary New Zealand Poets. 9781857549768

Poetry from 1986 onwards.

Other poetry books


Crew, Gary & Smith, Craig. (1998). Troy Thompson’s Excellent Peotry Book. 9780987082701

Fun, colourful book. Teacher’s assignment on one page, “Troy’s” work on the other. A good introduction to poetry styles.


Green, Paula & Ricketts, Harry. (2010). 99 Ways Into New Zealand Poetry. 9781869791780

Lively and accessible introduction to New Zealand poetry.

Hill, David. (1984). On Poetry: Twelve Studies of Work by New Zealand poets. 9780868636610

Informative text on twelve poets and their verse.  An old but valuable book.

Schmidt, Michael. (2000). Lives of the Poets. 9780375706042

Poets grouped from Chaucer to 1998.  Good life background and good analysis of poets’ works.

Stallworthy, Jon. (2005). An Anthem for Doomed Youth: Twelve Solider Poets of the First World War. 9781845292218

Tells the story of the lives and works of twelve major soldier poets from WWI.

Strand, Mark & Boland, Eavan. (eds.) The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms. 9780375706042

Looks at poetic forms; gives history and explanations of each form; offers a selection of exemplars.


Theatre and Drama 


Boagey, Eric. (1996). Starting Drama. 9780713526813

Speaks directly to the younger students giving a helpful guide as a text and encouragement to delve further – an excellent “starting point”.


Adler, Stella. (1990) The Technique of Acting. 9780553349320

Guide to the technique of acting taught in Adler’s studio with exercises and examples.

Barkworth, Peter. (1991). About Acting. 9780413661104

Covers acting techniques through preparation, rehearsals, actor homework, performance, filming and loads more.  Includes interviews with well-known actors.  Detailed contents and useful index.  Easy to follow, extremely practical and useful material.

Berry, Cecily. (1987). The Actor and His Text. 9780684189376

Loaded with ideas of how to bring text to life.  Examples mainly drawn from Shakespeare but these adapt to verse or other modern scripts.  Both practical and academic.

Burton, Bruce. (2011). Living Drama. 9781442533882 

Improvisation and Drama Exercises.  History of Drama.

Crawford, Jerry L., Hurst, Catherine & Lugering, Michael (2010). Acting in Person and in Style. 9781577666646

Designed to assist developing actors at university level.  Part I rooted in principles of Stanislavsky.  Parts II and III theatre history and specialisation of style. 

Hornbrook, David (ed.) (1998). On the Subject of Drama. 9780415168823

Challenging ideas on modern theatre techniques.

Morrison, Malcolm. (1995). Classical Acting. 9780713640472  

The acting process, research, movement, voice, for classical drama.

Rodenberg, Patsy. The Actor Speaks: Voice and the Performer. 9780312295141

Full of ideas and inspiration to extend vocal ability in relation to text.

Acting and Directing


Evans, Cheryl & Smith, Lucy. Acting & Theatre. 9780746006993

Many aspects of theatre are covered in this basic, highly illustrated book.  It explains a little history, how actors train, and a range of activities for the actors.


Banks, R.A. and Marson, Pauline (ed.). (1998). Drama and Theatre Arts. 9780340711781

Discusses dramas period by period, within historical context, plus chapters on creating drama and analysing drama.

Bernard, Ian. (1998). Film and Television Acting. 9780240803012

Methodically examines the techniques of acting for camera and shows how they differ from stage acting.

Catron, Louis E. & Shattuck, Scott. The Director’s Vision: Play Direction from Analysis to Production. 9781478611257

Play Direction from Analysis to Production.  A textbook, which includes practical exercises.  Can be used as a full guide or dipped into for inspiration or reference.

Hartnoll, Phyllis. (2012). The Theatre: A Concise History. 9780500204092

Development of the theatre covered in detail with colourful illustrations. Clear, easy to read text. 

Hodge, Francis. (2015). Play Directing: Analysis, Communication and Style. 9780205571246

Information, practical know-how, ideas, inspiration, along with exercises that could be used in classroom or studio – or for self-development.

Hunter, Gwen & Priest, Elizabeth. (1997). Greek Drama. 9780582879850

Good resume of Greek drama with follow-up research exercises.

Novak, Elaine Adams. (1985). Styles of Acting: A Scenebook for Aspiring Actors. 9780138587963 

Creative tools for looking at styles of acting from Greeks to modern experimental.  Contains a brief overview of major playwriting, acting and production styles (then and now) along with scenes.

Rudlin, John. (1994) Commedia Dell’Arte. 9780415047708

An illuminating account of Commedia’s origins plus a practical step-by-step guide to use Commedia techniques in performance.


Atkins, Greg. (1993). Improv! A Handbook for Actors. 9780435086275

An extensive collection of 150 exercises to liberate spontaneity, enhance creativity and encourage students to think quickly on their feet.

Bernardi, Philip. (1992). Improvisation Starters. 9781558702332

Nine hundred starters – great for when the creative process dries up.  Good for role plays, storytelling as well.  Easily adapted.

Jackson, Paul Z. (1998). Impro Learning. 0566079283

Training book drawing on sources as diverse as theatre, accelerated learning, sports, co-operative games and psychology.  Makes training creative, flexible, spontaneous.

Matthews, Steve. (1998). Getting into the Act: Communication Through Drama. 9780477014007

Contains over 200 drama and action games, divided into areas; e.g. icebreakers, trust, etc.

Pierse, Lyn. (1997). Theatre Sports Down Under. 9780646238616  

A great guide for coaches and players of Theatre Sports.

Theodorou, Michael. (1990). Ideas That Work in Drama. 9780748702251

Ideal for secondary school drama teaching.  Ages suggested for stimulating springboard ideas.

Public Speaking 

Anthologies of Speeches

Burnet, Andrew (ed.) (2016). 50 Speeches that Made the Modern World. 9781473640948

A celebration of the most influential and thought-provoking speeches that shaped the modern world.

Copeland, Lewis, Lamm, Laurence W. & McKenna, Brian (eds.) (1999). The World’s Great Speeches.9780486409030

278 Speeches from 230 Speakers

Coughlin, Debbie. (2019) Outspoken: 50 Speeches by Incredible Women: From Boudicaa to Michelle Obama. 9780753554050

A celebration of outstanding and outspoken women and their words.

MacArthur, Brian. (2013). The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches. 9780241953266

Brings together the words of over 100 men and women who helped to change the world through the power of their oratory.

Safire, William (ed.) (2004). Lend me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History. 9780393059311

More than 200 pieces of outstanding oratory.

Sebag Montefiore, Simon. (2019). Voices of History: Speeches that Changed the World. 9781474609920

Celebrates great speeches of history and world culture.

Williams, Hywel. (2009). In Our Time: The Speeches that Shaped the Modern World. 9781847249197

Brings together 50 of the most important speeches post-1945.


The Actor and His Text

Cicely Berry


Preparing voices for acting, text and style with particular emphasis on Shakespearean text.


Harrap Ltd  1987 and reprinted 1988 and 1989

0 245 54328 1



Freeing the Shakespeare Voice

Kristin Linklater


A passionate exploration – contains exercises, background information on aspects of language and examples of application on texts.  Invaluable for serious student work.


Theatre Communications Group  1992

1 55936 031 3




The Teaching Voice

Stephanie Martin and Lyn Darnley


Book is aimed at teachers, lecturers, students, language therapists – anyone with an interest in good vocal health.  Information on voice care, physiology, communication skills, classroom strategies.


Whurr Publishers Lrd  1997

1 897635 19 2


The Voice Sourcebook

Stephanie Martin and Lyn Darnley


For professionals – teachers, students and performers.  Practical ideas backed by sound theoretical knowledge.  Basic “Avoid and Encourage” sections.  Excellent value (Copyright free)


Winslow Press 1st  1992

0 863888 111 4 British Library Catalogue


The Lungs and Respiratory System

Steve Parker


Describes the workings of the respiratory system with photos and diagrams of the various organs and their functions.  At student level.


Wayland  1996

0 7502 1767 7


Instant Calm

Paul Wilson


100 techniques for relaxation.


Penguin Books,Australia  1995

0 14 024494 8



Teaching Thinking and Speaking

The Mind Map Book

Tony Buzan with Barry Buzan


Beautifully illustrated to teach the techniques and application of mind mapping.  This may be used for teaching creative thinking, minute taking, planning, studying, logical thinking.


BBC Books  1993

0 563 37101 3


Adventures in Thinking

Joan Dalton


Designed for classroom use – gives detailed strategies in developing creative and critical thinking skills, co-operative talk, small group work, effectively managing small groups and evaluating children’s development.


Thomas Nelson,Australia  1985

0 17 006555 3


Listening and Speaking



This New Zealand book provides listening and speaking activities in an easy-to-follow format.  It includes chapters on storytelling, debating, marae protocol and interview techniques, amongst many others.


Longman Paul  1995

0 582 87820 9


Practical Uses of Speech Communication

Harold Barrett


Covers preparation for all occasions – discussion skills, listening, non-verbal action, the use of persuasion, audiovisual aids and communicating with verbal symbols.  A good teaching book.


Holt, Rinehart & Winston 5th Ed.

0 03 0495 91 1



Children’s Literature


The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature

Humphrey Carpenter and Mari Pritchard


Nine hundred biographical entries – concise plot summaries – literary history and background – characters – written to both entertain and instruct.



First published 1984 – Reprints 1984, 1985 (with corrections) 1987, 1991, 1995

0 19 211582 0

Adult/Some Senior Students

Beneath Southern Skies

Tom Fitzgibbon


Covers all major writers and illustrators of children’s books in New Zealand. A one page description of writer and works, with a photo and list of works.


Ashton Scholastic  1993

1 86943 110 3


Children’s Literature – An Illustrated History

Edited by Peter Hunt


Traces the history of children’s books in Britain, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand from the very first printed books to the present day.  Richly illustrated in black and white and colour.


OxfordUniversityPress  1995

0 19 212320 3


Fabulous and Familiar – Children’s Reading in New Zealand, Past and Present

Curators:  Mary Atwoll, Mary Hutton, Peter Ireland, Athold McCredie


Overview of children’s reading in New Zealand from 1890 to 1990.  Various writers, influences covered.  Well illustrated.


National Library ofNew Zealand  1991

0 44 77 02701 6


Language and Phonetics


Mother Tongue

Bill Bryson


Every lover of language should read this.  Good story on the development of language.


Penguin  1990

0 14 014305 X


Practical Introduction to Phonetics

JC Catford


A good book for study for a phonetics theory paper – Licentiate.


Oxford  1990

0 19 824217 4


Introduction to Language

V Fromkin, R Rodman, T Collins, D Blair


Good resource book for Licentiate study.


Holt, Rinehart & Winston  1988

0 7295 0 332 1


Practical Phonetics

JC Wells and Greta Colson


A simple easy to use edition.


Pitman  1986

0 273 01681 4


Ship or Sheep – Teacher and Student book

Ann Baker


Comprehensive coverage of 49 units of vowels and consonant sounds with guided test sentences, dualogues, and fun graphics.  Classroom or studio use.  Also good for ESOL.


CambridgeUniversityPress  1992

0 52128 354 X







Audition Speeches


Illustrated Dictionary of Mythology

Philip Wilkinson

Covers world mythology with brief descriptions of main figures and ideas.  Includes illustrations and photos.  A useful research tool for students doing Grade Six Performance.


Covent GardenBooks  1998-99

1 87185 462 8


Audition Speeches for 6-16 Year Olds

Jean Marlow


Over 50 speeches to suit a wide range of ages and abilities.  Each speech has a short introduction and brief outline of the story so far.


A & C Black, London  2000

0 7136 51091



Professional and Business Communication


Speak Easy: The Essential Guide to Speaking in Public; Maggie Eyre (NZ author)
Exisle Publishing Limited, 2007, ISBN 987-0-908988-58-7

Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story: Jerry Weissman (American author); Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006, ISBN 0-13-187510-8

Speak For Yourself, Revised Edition, How to Give Persuasive and Entertaining Talks – with Confidence: Cristina Stuart (British author); Piatkus Books Ltd, 2000, ISBN 0-7499 2593 0



Further reading from earlier SNZ records




The Oxford Illustrated History of

Theatre – 1995

The Cambridge Guide to World

Theatre –CambridgeUniversity Press 1988

A Concise History of Theatre

P Hartnoll

Thames & Hudson,London1980

History of Theatre

Oscar G Brockett

Alynn and Bacon 1995

History of Theatre

Glynne Wickham

2nd Ed Phaidon Press,London 1992

Avante Garde Theatre 1892-1992

C Innes


The Development of the Theatre

A Nicoll


Modern Theatre in Theory and


JL Styan (3 vols)

CambridgeUniversityPress 1981

Towards a Poor Theatre



Acting for Camera

T Barr

Harper & Row,New York1986

Playing Shakespeare

J Barton


 The Actor at Work

Benedetti 5th Ed.

Engelwood Cliffs: Prentice Hall 1989

Prentice Hall 1970

The Empty Space

P Brook

Harmondsworth: Penguin 1972

The Shifting Point

P Brook

Harper & Row,New York1987

There are no Secrets

P Brook


Respect for Acting

Uta Hagen

Macmillan,New York1973

A Challenge for the Actor

Uta Hagen

Scribners,New York1991


K Johnstone


Theatre Games for the Classroom

Viola Spolin

Northwestern University PressIllinois


Improvisation for the Theatre

Viola Spolin

Evanston: Northwestern University Press


Restoration Comedy in Performance

JL Styan

CambridgeUniversityPress 1986

An Actor Prepares



Building a Character



Creating a Role



Improv!  A Handbook for Actors

Greg Atkins

Heinemann 1994

The Actor’s Art and Craft

Rona Laurie

J Garnett Miller Ltd 1994

Stage Design and Stage Lighting

W Oren Parker and R Craig Wolf


6th Ed. 1990



The Actor and the Text



Voice and the Actor



Freeing the Natural Voice

K Linklater

Drama Book Specialists,New York


Freeing Shakespeare’s Voice

K Linklater

Theatre Communications Group

New York1992

The Voice Book

M McCallion


The Singer’s and Actor’s Throat

NA Punt

Heinemann Medical Books 1979

The Right to Speak

P Rodenberg


The Need for Words

P Rodenberg


VOICE – Journal of the British Voice


The Roy Art Theatre

D Williams

Dept Theatre,DartingtonCollegeof Arts 1985



The Director at Work

R Benedett

EnglewoodCliffs:  Prentice Hall 1985

The Empty Space

P Brook

Penguin, Harmondworth 1972

There are No Secrets

P Brook


Towards a Poor Theatre

J Growtowski


Experimental Theatre

J Roose-Evans

Routledge, London4th Ed. 1989



The Alexander Principle

W Barlow

Arrow Books,London1975

The Alexander Technique

J & B Leibowitz

Harper & Row,New York1991

Awareness Through Movement

M Feldenkrais

Harper & Row,New York1972

(cassette tapes and book)

Laban for Actors and Dancers

J Newlove

Nick Hern,London1993



The Oxford History of New Zealand

Literature in English

Ed. Terry Sturm

OxfordUniversityPress 1991

The Physics of Speech

D B Fry

CambridgeTextbooks in Linguistics 1985

English Accents and Dialects – An

Introduction to Social and Regional Varieties of British English

Arthur Hughes & Peter Trudgill

Edward Arnold 1988

A Short History of English Literature

Robert Barnard

Basil Blackwell Publisher Ltd 1984

The Story of English

Robert Crumm, William Cran & Robert MacNeil

Penguin Books 1986

The Oxford Companion to Children’s


Humphrey Carpenter & Mari Pritchard

OxfordUniversityPress 1995


Kenneth Clark

BBC and John Murray

Seventh Impression 1974