Our Mission & Vision
Whether you diligently attend our programs to enhance your theatrical skills, or choose a membership to access our rich collection of resources about Michael Chekhov’s pedagogy, our association is ready to educate you. The National Michael Chekhov Association, a 501C3 company, actively promotes the work and legacy of Michael Chekhov and offers various programs for new and continuing students, certifications, and Master Teacher certifications.
Our Mission is:
TO ADVANCE THE PERFORMING ARTS BY ENRICHING THE SKILLS OF ACTING STUDENTS OF ALL AGES AND EXPANDING THE KNOWLEDGE OF THEATER-ARTS INSTRUCTORS THROUGH A PEDAGOGY BASED ON THE TECHNIQUES, THEORIES, AND METHODS OF MICHAEL CHEKHOV. We now include Directors, Designers and any interested members of our community.
Our Vision expands on this mission. We are actively calling for a cultural change where through Michael Chekhov’s approach, we can growth healthier and happier as human beings and contribute to sharing this culture change with our audiences. By training with these standards in our hearts, and living them in our daily lives and in the stories we tell, we can apply Michael Chekhov techniques to any aspect of our culture, increasing empathy, compassion and harmony.
Our Association’s Professional Team
NMCA is a non-profit 501C3 organization that has a rich history as theatrical professionals and enthusiasts. Our founding members and all past and current associates have played and still play a valuable role in keeping Michael Chekhov’s techniques and legacy alive. Below is information on our founders:
President & Co-Founder
Lisa Dalton is an actor, writer, director, producer, stuntwoman, and Master Teacher of the Michael Chekhov technique. Teaching acting since 1974, Lisa began training in Michael Chekhov technique in 1980 and subsequently studied with more of Mr. Chekhov’s direct students than any other teacher today. This expansive approach to a broad set of perspectives influences the NMCA pedagogy. A partial list includes George Shdanoff, Co-Director of the Chekhov Theatre Studio, Beatrice Straight and Deirdre Hurst du Prey, Chekhov’s first English speaking students, Mala Powers, Executrix of the Chekhov Estate and Jack Colvin, personal assistant to Chekhov. Lisa was a co-founder of the International Michael Chekhov Association in 1993 and in 1994, Lisa introduced the tool known as “Three Sister Sensations” to the Chekhov world, taught to her by Jack Colvin. In 1998 and 1999, Lisa created the first two International Michael Chekhov Workshops in America at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut, which gave birth to MICHA, from where she holds a Certificate of Completion. Lisa, with a deep background in physical theatre and clowning, was a founding member of Bond Street Theatre at La Mama, ETC. She has toured her solo shows across the nation and continues to perform on stage and screen. Dalton is an Amazon Best Selling Author and produced From Russia to Hollywood, a PBS documentary on Michael Chekhov.
Vice President & Co-Founder
Wil Kilroy is New Mexico State University’s current department head and Professor of Theatre. He also serves as the American Southwest Theatre Company’s Managing Director. Wil is a Master Teacher of the Michael Chekhov technique and discovered this work when he was a young actor in New York City while studying under Blair Cutting and later, Mala Powers. He has received the Moss Hart Award, the Outstanding Teacher-Scholar Award from the University of Southern Maine, and the Human and Civil Rights Award from the Maine Education Association. He also holds Professor Emeritus Status at the University of Southern Maine. In 2014, Wil was awarded the Kennedy Center bronze medallion for achievement in Theatre Education, and he earned two other medallions previously for work he did with the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival. Wil continues professional acting and directing and is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA.
Mala Powers, Chekhov estate executrix, co-founded NMCA with Wil and Lisa and helped form our renown pedagogy by contributing her knowledge as a personal friend, private and group class student of Mr. Chekhov. She was the only active film star (Golden Globe nominee for Roxanne, Cyrano de Bergerac, 1950) who was coached on her film and stage roles directly by Mr. Chekhov, who then went on to teach. Together with a kind of stunning grace which pervaded all she did, Mala infused into our work the missing pieces that she got privately. This information forms the link to application often absent in many trainings who offer dynamic experiences with little instruction for real use in your career. Mala continued her career as an actor, director, and in 1988 began co-teaching with Lisa Dalton in the Michael Chekhov Drama Group. In 1995, they formed the Michael Chekhov Studio, USA West with Jack Colvin. Mala passed away in 2007 yet remains with us in spirit and our association continued growing with her blessing.
In 2008, we brought in a new partner. Charlie manages our day-to-day operations, produces our Intensives, and serves as the Board of Directors’ Secretary and Treasurer. He has a BBA in Business Management and an MBA in Technology Management. For the past 35 years, Charlie has been a manager for Verizon and served in Arlington, TX as the Creative Arts Theatre & School’s President of the Board of Directors. He’s a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and Stage Managers Association, and he’s been an active member of Toastmasters International. He periodically writes for Backstage along with Lisa Dalton.
About Michael Chekhov & His History
NMCA invites you to train with us and learn the approach of the theatrical world’s notable master Michael Chekhov. He was born in 1891 and was the nephew of Anton Chekhov. He was a member of Stanislavski’s First Studio at the Moscow Art Theatre where the “Method” was being developed. was most noted for his deeply transformational characters and his highly developed imagination. In this respect, he strongly objected to the practice of recalling personal memories. Michael Chekhov is considered one of Russia’s finest actors. By 1928, he received such severe criticism by the Communist government for his innovative directing and teaching as head of the Second Moscow Art Theater that he was forced to flee the country. Mr. Chekhov taught, directed and performed around Europe for ten years and in 1936 established his first acting school in English with support from Beatrice Straight and the Elmhirst Family. World War II’s onset inspired them to move the school in 1938 to Ridgefield, Connecticut. Chekhov trained many actors there and in New York before he moved to Los Angeles in 1942 and garnered an Oscar nomination for Spellbound. His books and valuable insight into the craft have shaped countless theater professionals.
A Brief History of Our Association
NMCA informally began in 1991 with its three founders: Lisa Dalton, Wil Kilroy, and Mala Powers. They presented the first Chekhov workshop for a professional theatre conference to teach Michael Chekhov’s work at ATHE. With strong interest from participants, Wil Kilroy created the opportunity for our CTI’s to be held annually at the University of Southern Maine where they were graduate and undergraduate courses. Other universities came on board as time passed. They include the University of Florida in Gainesville, Chapman University in California, and the University of Texas in Arlington. Our pedagogy distinguishes itself by using the Chart of Inspired Action by Michael Chekhov, which has evolved over the past three decades. As all teachers work through their own creative individuality, NMCA has always sought to offer a complete approach to performance training that includes discovery, development and application to every aspect of one’s life and career.