Back from Britain: Chris Hayes of London Theatre Exchange returning to teach Muskegon Community College students

Chris Hayes, the founder and director of the London Theatre Exchange in England, will be on the Muskegon Community College campus in August to conduct a one-week Intensive Actor Training Workshop.

“This workshop is designed for MCC students interested in studying theater to enhance their artistic performance, communication skills and personal and interpersonal potential,” said Sheila Wahamaki, who heads the MCC Center for Theater.

Now in its 14th year, the workshop takes place Monday through Friday, Aug. 1-5, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 262. The culminating Friday presentation at 3:30 p.m. is open to friends and family.

Interested MCC students must submit an application which may be obtained either in the Arts and Humanities Office, Room 166, or by contacting Sheila Wahamaki, by email sheila.wahamaki or calling (231) 777-0323.

Hayes’ directing career spans over 30 years with more than 200 productions. He has worked with many of the United Kingdom’s major companies, including The Old Vic, The Royal Court, the RSC and The Royal National Theatre. As a teacher and director he has been associated with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts for 30 years, most recently running its professional “Acting Shakespeare” courses.

“The workshop was a phenomenal experience, and everyone who participated can appreciate that,” said former participant Jillian Blakkan-Strauss. “It went beyond helping us learn how to read Shakespeare, speak Shakespeare, and listen to Shakespeare, and gave us tools we can use in all of our acting work. The emphasis that was placed on truly understanding each word of the text, being truthful, and connecting with scene partners built an excellent foundation for work throughout the week.”

“The number of students in the workshop was also great. It was a small enough group that we all received individual attention, but large enough that we were able to benefit from a wide variety of theatrical backgrounds and ideas from our peers. Also, it was really wonderful that Tom (Harryman) and Sheila (Wahamaki) were available to coach scenes and give input.”

“I feel like I learned more about acting and theatre in a week with Chris than I did during the course of my undergraduate degree. The immersion in a new technique was priceless. What used to intimidate me about Shakespeare now excites me because I understand how to approach it. I can’t say thank you enough for the opportunity.”

Categories: Education, Theatre

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