Michael Chekhov Canada was started by members of the Michael Chekhov Association (MICHA). Joanna Merlin, the last living student of Michael Chekhov, is the founding president of MICHA. We owe a great debt to her and the master teachers associated with MICHA. Their knowledge, openness and love of teaching have inspired us to share our knowledge with artists across Canada.
Lionel Walsh is an actor and director and teaches acting and improvisation in the BFA programme at University of Windsor, where is the Director of the Inspired Acting Lab, which explores new exercises in Fantastic Realism. Lionel is a Certified Teacher of the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique (Michael Chekhov Association). He has also trained at the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia. He is a founding Co-Artistic Director of the Great Lakes Michael Chekhov Consortiumand is co-founder of Michael Chekhov Canada. Lionel is a recipient of the University of Windsor Alumni Award for Distinguished Contribution to University Teaching and the Excellence in Mentoring Award. Most recently, he directed Almost, Maine by John Cariani for the Inspired Acting Lab.
Peggy Coffey began her professional career 39 years ago with the Canadian Mime Theatre. She began her Chekhov training in 2005 and received her 'Certificate of Completion' in Michael Chekhov Technique in 2011, studying under master teachers at MICHA. Peggy also attended The Michael Chekhov School in Hudson NY. Peggy is a founding member of Michael Chekhov Canada. Selected credits include: co-founder of Springworks Indie Theatre and Arts Festival, co founder of Alternative Theatre Works. Teaching credits include: Birmingham Conservatory Stratford Festival teaching Chekhov Technique; Michael Chekhov Canada; Theatre Ontario, Stratford Festival Shakespeare Summer School; Sheridan College; St. Clair College;The Foundation for Enriching Education, Theatre Ontario, guest teacher Chekhov Technique - Fountain School of the Performing Arts Dalhousie University; adjudicator for Kiwanis Ontario Provincials, Edmonton Provincials, Kiwanis Festivals, and Calgary Performing Arts Festival. Peggy is the recipient of 4 Guthrie Awards from The Stratford Festival; she was named ‘Woman of the Year in Arts and Culture’ 2013. Peggy served as a board member for Optimism Place Women’s Shelter. Peggy offers workshops in Chekhov technique, audition/monologue coaching, clown, mask, physical theatre, acting, and Shakespeare in performance. Peggy is proud to be part of the dynamic teaching team with Chekhov Canada offering Fall, Spring, and Summer Intensives sharing an ongoing journey with Chekhov Technique. Peggy recently attended the Michael Chekhov Teachers Retreat in Croatia where teachers from around the world shared their experiences and methods of teaching and the future of this work.
Rena Polley is a Toronto based actor, writer, producer and teacher. She has worked in theatre, television and film for over thirty years. Rena originally studied with Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof in New York City. She has been studying with master teachers from the Michael Chekhov Association for over seventeen years and has her Teacher Certificate of Completion. She is a member of MICHA and a regular participant in international workshops in the US and Europe. Rena is co-founder of Michael Chekhov Canada and the founder of The Chekhov Collective, a theatre company inspired by the principles of Michael Chekhov. She is a guest teacher at George Brown College.