Marlene Johnson headshot.

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Office Location: ASC 258
(205) 934-8079

Office Hours: By appointment


  • M.A., Miami University, Performance and Directing
  • MFA, Virginia Commonwealth University, Voice Studies

Marlene Johnson teaches performance classes, including Voice, Speech, Text, and embodied practice. Her field of research deals with the integration of voice and movement to establish presence in the actor combining such fields as Alexander Technique, Voices of the Archetypes, Heightened Text, and the energy and engagement work of Patsy Rodenburg.

Marlene is a teacher of the Alexander Technique. In summer of 2012 she studied Breathing Coordination with Jessica Wolf, who teaches Alexander Technique at Yale University. Marlene was honored by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival as a 2011 National Teaching Artist and by Region IV of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival as a Regional Teaching Artist. She taught a summer class in Acting Shakespeare at the University of Westminster in London in 2005 and has taught or presented workshops in Glasgow, Madrid, Mexico City, Vancouver, Herefordshire, Serbia. She is a frequent presenter for VASTA, ATHE, ATI, KCACTF, and SETC. Along with Janet Rodgers, she is one of the primary disseminators of the Voices of the Archetype work of Frankie Armstrong, having worked with Armstrong in England and in Belgrade at the DAH Theatre. She has been presenting Acting with Archetype workshops with Rodgers since 2003. In 2012 she assisted in teaching Alexander Technique for the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s Opera Workshop.

Marlene has vocal coached over 40 productions for professional theatre and over 70 productions for academic theatre for such venues at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, the Alliance Theatre, Theatre Virginia, PA Stage Company, and Theatre Outlet, and for University of Minnesota and University of West Georgia. She has acted with Birmingham’s professional acting company, City Equity Theatre, playing Mrs. Gabor in Spring Awakening and Aunt Kate in Cripple of Innishmaan. She recently appeared in The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later and as Rosalie in a staged reading of Caridad Svitch’s The Way of the Water. She has given poetry readings at Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA. Favorite roles include Anna in Baltimore Waltz, Helen in Baby with the Bathwater, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Susan Harder in Heat. Her acting credits include a Philadelphia production of John Brown’s Body with James Earl Jones.

In 2008 Marlene directed The God of Hell for City Equity. Other directing credits include Taming of the Shrew, The Illusion, Travesties, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, An Evening of Pinter, All in the Timing, As You Like It, Dancing at Lughnasa, Comedy of Errors, The Imaginary Invalid, The Importance of Being Earnest, Romeo and Juliet, Uncommon Women and Others, Life Under Water, Winners and Losers, Between Daylight and Boonville, and Hunting Cockroaches. Marlene worked as a director with playwright Jon Klein developing his script of The Fault Line. Other directing credits include a tour of three one-act plays in the Czech Republic in 2004. While at Georgia College, Marlene headed the Performance curriculum for four years.

Marlene has served on the Board of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association and served as Chair of the Voice and Speech Committee at SETC. Marlene trained with the Professional Voice Trainers Intensive at the National Theatre in London with Patsy Rodenburg, at the American Repertory Theatre with Bonnie Raphael, at the Canadian National Voice Intensive with David Smukler and Judith Koltai, and at Shakespeare and Company with Kristin Linklater. She earned an MFA in Voice Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in addition to an M.A. from Miami University in Performance and Directing and is a member of Actors Equity.