My colleague Sally Grace, who has died aged 78, was a leading voice and speech specialist whose most recent role was with the boys and girls appearing in the West End stage show of Billy Elliot, teaching them the Geordie dialect. She introduced them to pit-yack, based on miners’ slang, and used it as a secret shared language.
Her career began at the Central School of Speech and Drama, London, in 1955 where, as 17-year-old Sally Dutton, fresh from Birkenhead high school for girls, she was among the youngest of the student intake. In 1968, she joined the staff of the Rose Bruford Training College of Speech and Drama as a voice and speech tutor. She continued her work there for 20 years, later becoming head of department (and eventually a visiting professor). Her youthful energy proved to be a truly inspirational asset, encouraging and developing great confidence in her students.