Mission and Lineage

Attending to Michael Chekhov’s Legacy – Our Mission

MICHA is a not-for-profit Association that attends to the artistic vision of Michael Chekhov and is committed to extending his legacy with future generations by cultivating an international community of performers, teachers, scholars and directors; researching approaches and providing opportunities to artists interested in a comprehensive teacher training in the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique. We strive to be a support to and global resource for those engaged in practice and research as it relates to Chekhov’s psycho-physical approach and its many forms of application.

Our Lineage

The legacy of Michael Chekhov’s work is diverse and far-reaching. After leaving Russia in 1928 Chekhov traveled, performed and taught in Europe, England and ultimately in the United States. At the invitation of Beatrice Straight he opened a school at Dartington Hall in England. The school later transferred to Ridgefield, Connecticut. It was in the United States that his lectures and teachings were recorded and his book, ‘To The Actor’, was written. In 1953 Chekhov sent copies of his book to universities and colleges for their libraries. As his book began to draw the attention of theater students over the years, an interest in Chekhov and his method began to develop. However, Chekhov died in 1955, and while his legacy was a rich one, and his students prominent in the profession, there existed no studio or school where interested parties could study. Twenty-five years later, in 1980, Beatrice Straight and Robert Cole opened The Michael Chekhov Studio in New York City. Although the Studio was only open for a decade, it fostered the next generation of teachers of his technique.

When MICHA incorporated in 1999 it brought together a faculty that included individuals taught at the Michael Chekhov Studio by the only teachers certified by Chekhov himself – Beatrice Straight and Deirdre du Prey. One of MICHA’s founders, Joanna Merlin, was a member of Michael Chekhov’s Drama Society in California where she studied with him for 5 years. MICHA’s associations and roots date back to the beginnings of Chekhov’s work in America and to Dartington Hall in England. It is therefore fitting that MICHA continue to bring this work to institutions all over the world by training a new generation of performers and teachers to share this remarkable work as it has been passed down from Michael Chekhov himself.

Michael Chekhov was generous with his talent and insights into the art acting. At MICHA we believe that his technique belongs to those who commit to the study of it and who endeavor to practice and develop it. In 2009, MICHA published the book ‘Michael Chekhov: Critical Issues, Reflections, Dreams’. In it MICHA’s history is detailed through reflections written by members of the faculty and critical issues discussed by members of the academic community who seek to bridge the gap between the practical and theoretical aspects of the technique. The book provides a window into both the past and the future of the technique and serves as a testament to the diverse ways it has been shared and explored over the years. We invite you to learn more about MICHA by attending our workshops and by reading this book.

Mala, Daphne, Joanna Joanna in a production with Chekhov's Drama Society

Pictured above: Former students of Chekhov Mala Powers, Daphne Field, and Joanna Merlin speak at MICHA’s 2005 Teacher Training in Long Beach, California. Joanna Merlin in a scene from Moliere’s the Ridiculous Young Ladies presented in Chekhov’s Drama Society, Los Angeles.