Chekhov Training and Performance Ireland

Chekhov Training and Performance Ireland

“The body of an actor must absorb psychological qualities, must be filled and permeated with them so that they will convert it gradually into a sensitive membrane.”

“Cold analytic, materialistic thinking tends to throttle the urge to the imagination.”


img_2993The objective of Chekhov Training and Performance Ireland is twofold; first, to promote the Michael Chekhov Acting technique in Ireland through quality training  courses for actors, directors, writers and teaching artists; and secondly the development of performance  projects using the Chekhov technique as the bedrock of the rehearsal process

Who was Michael Chekhov?


Michael Chekhov

Michael Chekhov [1891-1955] was one of the most innovative actor/director/teachers of the 20th century. A nephew of the great playwright Anton Chekhov, he acted in the Moscow Arts Theatre with extraordinary success, occasionally coming into conflict with Stanislavski and others that worked there. His journey across Europe and eventually to the United States, where he acted in Hollywood movies [most notably in Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND], taught and influenced a whole number of famous and less famous actors, is one of both frustration and triumph.

And the Technique?

Chekhov’s great legacy is his technique. His concept of psycho-physical exercises, where the character is discovered though images, and physicalisation of the character’s psychological drives, makes acting absolutely thrilling and magical. It expands the creative boundaries for a person not by working directly from ‘real life’ but from the vast palette of the creative imagination. Whilst this might appear at first glance to be somewhat ethereal, it opens the performer in a real and powerful way. The technique reminds us that the theatre is an art.


Max Hafler – resident teacher

6Max Hafler is a highly experienced theatre teacher and director. He trained with the Michael Chekhov Association in the U.S., and has been teaching Chekhov for many years. He teaches the technique at NUI Galway and has taught it in many other colleges, including the Lir. One of his main interests is developing the work for directors, and he has directed several productions with the technique as the bedrock of the process. His book, “Teaching Voice” was published by Nick Hern Books for youth leaders and teachers using Voice and Chekhov Technique, in 2016.

Joanna Merlin , president of the Michael Chekhov Association says

“I was a student of Michael Chekhov’s in the last five years of his life. The atmosphere that he created was one of joyfulness, freedom, enlargement, permission and a belief in every actor’s creative individuality. I feel that Max embraces and radiates that spirit of Michael Chekhov fully and intuitively. Max’s understanding and application of this work is vital to the development of the actor’s creative instrument. ”

for information: contact 0(0353) 86 330 7325




All courses bar the summer school cost 90€ . They run

Friday 7 -9.30 pm

Saturday 10-5 pm

Sunday 10-4 pm.

Enter An Actor – the Architecture of Solo Performance  (Jan 25th-27th)


Declan Drohan Guest Tutor with Max for this workshop

Solo work requires a particular focus and an acknowledgement that in the end you are not alone at all – your partners are the audience and the resonating space where you perform. As a character you are coming from another world to meet Them. At the same time, you as the actor are making a compact with the audience. This compact is in a way at its strongest in solo performance as you fill the stage as someone else, and people the imagination with the other characters in their world – some of whom you might actually play for us, the audience.

Appearing in solo work means no one else is coming on. You are on your own….in a way.

Whether you are appearing in a solo play, working on a play with big monologues, or working on an audition speech where in a sense you have to direct the whole play imaginatively in order to give your piece focus and a sense of the whole, you need to prepare yourself and your energies in a particular way.

This workshop looks, through the exercises of Michael Chekhov Technique at the architecture of performance, the shape of a piece, variety, tempo, silence and radiating receiving with our partner, the audience.

For this workshop I am delighted to have as guest tutor Declan Drohan working with me to create this workshop

Declan Drohan

Declan Drohan ( ChekovLab Ireland) M.A H.Dip.Ad.Ed. lectures on Performing Arts Hons Degree Programme at IT Sligo. Former Course Leader of Acting Programme at Conservatory of Music and Drama DIT Rathmines, Declan trained with Gaiety School Of Acting and Michael Chekov Europe. Recent acting work includes award winning short films ‘ The Date ‘ and Mr L’s Limbo. He is a member of the popular Dark Leaves Theatre Co vintage radio company. His directing credits include Cathleen Ni Houlihan at Lisadell House and the Hawkswell Sligo, and Frank Pig Says Hello and Beneath the Bone Moon at the Dublin Theatre Festival.

 The Epic Voice  (Feb 15-17)

IMG_3559Using atmosphere and treating text like a piece of music we will set about exploring our voices on an epic piece of text to find new and authentic ways of speaking. The character does not need to have our voice. It is not just a question of having an accent.

Mixing regular voice work with focussed experimental Chekhov work, using many of the exercises Max developed in his book Teaching Voice, what we discover will be of use for scripted and devised work. Voice is one of the principal ways we radiate the passion of the character and their voice is not necessarily ours. We must develop and explore it.


Character Centre and Imaginary Body (March 29th-31st)


IMG_5226We will be Working with two Chekhov elements together to create character which put the imagination in the spotlight. If the Imaginary body of the character is the vehicle, the character centre is the engine. For this workshop we will be working  with a well known scripted play.

Each weekend has 15 hours training for 90 euro. If you book for two workshops in advance you can have them for 80 each. email to book your place.




Actors are Magicians ! (May 17- 19)

This workshop, beginning on Friday evening  and finishing on Sunday at 5pm  will focus specifically on fundamental elements of the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique focussing on exercises to explore the spectacular vista of the Imagination through the body! How can it help us create as actors, directors and artists?

We will work with a myth, fairy tale or short story. No experience of the Chekhov technique is necessary but some performance experience is required.

90€ for the weekend email

Working with Archetypes – Midsummer Night’s Dream! June 21-23.

For the ‘weekend that’s in it’ , as we say in Ireland, we are going to explore how to enhance our understanding of character through the exploration of archetype using A Midsummer Night’s Dream.. This element of Chekhov technique deepens our understanding, allows us to explore roles, energies and positions in life we feel are beyond our experience; Fairy, Queen, King, Clown, Fool, Master, Servant, Coward, Thief.

We will also be looking at Archetypal atmospheres to see how they too can deepen our understanding and playing of the text.

The Summer School 2019  August 15-18th.




Chekhov technique is not just for those inspired yet elusive moments. Working on one of the most influential plays of the 20th Century, a raw look at the effects of poverty, alienation and madness, this four-day course run by Max Hafler and guest tutor Declan Drohan, uses the Michael Chekhov technique to open up the play and prepare scenes from it. Before the workshop we will let participants know what Chekhov elements we will be principally exploring so they can prepare for the workshop.  This workshop is for actors, directors and students.

Tutors : Max Hafler with Guest Tutor Declan Drohan

The cost is 200€ for four days. (training only)

Email or to book your place






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Barry Cullen, Mary Monaghan, Ronan Cassidy, Naia Martz

What do I do if I am an experienced actor, but with no knowledge of Chekhov Technique?

I would suggest you attend the Openers class and make me aware of that fact, because whatever your goal, you need to learn the basic principles of the work. I am hoping to do more courses for professionals in years to come. But just email and we can discuss it.

This is all a while away! How do I stay in touch?

Try emailing and say you want to be put on the mailing list .