Shana Pennington-Baird is the founder and head coach at the Seattle Voice Academy. She has helped thousands of students find their own unique style singing, speaking, creating memorable characters, and exploring new places with the human voice.
Shana started her work in the professional theatre scene in Seattle in 1996, following an international tour with the Missoula Children’s Theatre. Prior to that she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in theatre from Stephens College.
In her first years in Seattle, Ms. Pennington-Baird was a company member of the Bathhouse Theatre headed by Arne Zazlov performing in the Fantasticks and Irving Berlin musical reviews. From 1998 – 2008, she spent 10 years as a company member of Cabaret Productions, singing at hundreds of corporate events. Other theatre companies include the 5th Ave Musical Theatre, Oregon Cabaret, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Civic Light Opera, Okoboji Summer Theatre, and Book-It Repertory.
Ms. Pennington-Baird entered the voiceover world and immediately found herself narrating audiobooks, performing voice work for corporations including Microsoft, Verizon, JP Morgan Chase, the Seattle Channel, South Lake Union Chamber, Audible.com, Mountain Credit Union, Impossible Acoustic and voicing characters for independent video games all over the world including Illustrum Games.
During her theatre work in the mid-1990’s, the founder was diagnosed with vocal nodes at 24 years of age, while performing at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, Washington. Her vocal condition, “vocal nodules,” was diagnosed by Dr. Dan Seeley, an otolaryngologist at Overlake Medical Center. Ms. Pennington-Baird immediately left the show at Village Theatre, began months of speech therapy and has full use of her voice today. Without treatment, the vocal “bumps” on her cords would have permanently damaged her voice. Working with a team of professionals including her doctor, speech therapists and singing coaches, she was able to continue performing after nine months of therapy.
After 2009, Ms. Pennington-Baird continued exploration into the human voice training with the Tuscany Project in Prague and then the ROY HART CENTRE at Malérargues in the Cévennes hills of southern France.The work at the Centre is based on a history of more than 80 years of research, study and practice of the human voice without boundaries. At the ROY HART CENTRE, her training has been dedicated to exploring unusual vocal flexibility and expressiveness, and to the human voice’s application in life and art.
In addition to acting and voice work, Ms. Pennington-Baird produced four years of concerts and theatre arts while managing the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center. Ms. Pennington-Baird also worked in the HR department at Western Wireless and planned events ranging from 50-1500 employees. In addition, she also planned and managed play reading festivals and summer camps for the Icicle Creek Theatre Festival. And through her work in fundraising with ACT Theatre and Puget Soundkeeper, she raised millions of dollars through grants, major donor campaigns, corporate relationships and galas. This insight into the corporate world, especially human resources and non-profit work, has been incredibly helpful when teaching public speaking or vocal health in the corporate setting.