This workshop is a rare opportunity to explore acting from the physically-based approach of innovator Jerzy Grotowski’s Polish Theatre Laboratory. Peter Brook has said that Grotowski was as unique as Stanislavski in his deep exploration of the actors art. Grotowski’s quest was to illicit a ‘total act‘ from the performer. By a ‘total act’ he meant that whatever the actor does s/he does with her/his entire being. In this work, different than many largely intellectual actor training methods, actors undertake an unblocking process and personal exploration in which they encounter their imaginations and emotional life through the body in a series of dynamic physical exercises. The work is deep and very effective at freeing actors to trust and utilize themselves in a visceral, non-intellectual way. Through the physical exercises emotional depths are sounded adding vibrant power to an actor’s performance as well as subtle nuance. The second part of the work involves applying this physical exploration to text and character in more traditional scene study. Text analysis; ‘actions’, ‘objectives’ and ‘beats’ are discovered through the body. Character choices emerge that might not have been found otherwise. This expansive physical work can be internalized to meet the demands of television and film acting as well as theatre material that is more naturalistic in style. Though different from more intellectual approaches to actor training, it is most accurate to say that it is a complement to or extension of those ways of working rather than a complete alternative.
Saturdays & Sundays
May 10th & 11th
May 17th & 18th
$250 if booked before April 15th
($275 after April 15th)

Two weekends of intensive training in the Michael Chekhov Technique with our Master Teacher Marjo-Riikka Makela. This intensive is great for an introduction of this powerful technique to new students, and fantastic for deepening the skills for those who are already familiar with the technique. Master Class actors are offered this class for no extra charge and required to take this class as part of the Master Class training.
Saturdays & Sundays 2-5pm
June 7th & 8th
June 14th & 15th
($275 after May 1st)

On-Camera Class with Acting Coach Marjo-Riikka Makela
“Anyone can give feedback, but only a few teachers know how to help you to reach your utmost potential by helping you work through your acting blocks in a safe environment, right when the nerves come up or the acting block hits.”
Saturdays 1-4pm
June 21st-July 12th
$250 before June 1st
($275 after June 1st)

By invitation/audition only. Prior Michael Chekhov training required with Marjo-Riikka Makela.
Master Class meets several times a week for Michael Chekhov Technique training and for rehearsals of our production.
June 9th – July July 13th

Marjo-Riikka does weekly private coaching for many successful TV and film actors and actresses*. She has coached actors for films and series such as HER, Togetherness, Reunion, 10 Year Plan, True Blood, Madmen, CSI, Californication, Mentalist, Castle, Nip Tuck, Alphas, Body of Proof, Ghost Whisperer, Entourage, How I Met your Mother, General Hospital Night Shift, Bones, Numb3rs , Deadwood, in Treatment … to mention a few. She has clients around the world, and she has been featured in Back Stage, the Los Angeles Times, American Theater Magazine and several major European publications. 

*Celebrity clients appreciate our discretion. As a policy, Ms. Makela does not publish her client list.

Marjo-Riikka will be teaching at SUMMER ARTS hosted by MICHA (The Michael Chekhov Association) July 20th-27th, and in Finland for the National Theatre Academy Acting Program, The National Theatre’s production of Uncle Vanya, and for the Professional Actor’s Equity, and the Freelance Actor’s Union, in Finland August-October 2014.

During these months we might have guest instructors teaching classes in Los Angeles so please do check in our website http://chekhovstudio.com/classes/
to register for classes click here http://chekhovstudio.com/classes/register/
Marjo-Riikka will return to teach in LA mid October 2014.


Choose What Compliments Your Purpose

“It must be so nice to be able to do what you love for a living.”

I have heard that a lot recently.

Yes it is.
Though “nice” cannot carry the weight or the size of what it means to do what you LOVE for a living.

It is not only nice.
It is not always nice at all.
It is also always a choice.

It is a life lived with PURPOSE within your WHOLE BEING.
It is LIFE filled with CHOICES that compliment that PURPOSE.

Why is it a choice? I’ll tell you why and HOW.

In the 20-years of doing what I LOVE…I have..
1. …done it for free
2. …done it for “pay what you can”
3. ..paid to do it (Yes I have paid to learn to act, direct & teach)
4. …done it EVERY DAY
5. … been often very tired & very happy.
(I call it state of being “well spent”)

With rare exceptions, I have always worked 7 days a week, and on top of that I choose to engage in activities that support and nourish my growth to DO WHAT I LOVE and BECOME BETTER AT IT CONSTANTLY.

No one can waiver my focus.
(if you can waiver my focus, you must either teach me how you did it, or you must leave, so i can figure it out myself ;))

There are people who talk about “all the sacrifices we artists must make”. I don’t see it that way, at all.

I have never sacrificed anything.

It is not sacrifice this profession takes.
It takes LOVE, commitment, perseverance, skills and faith.
If anything needs to be sacrificed it is ones ego.

Thanks for listening :)

I don’t do this for living.
I live to do this ;)

Copyright: Marjo-Riikka Makela


After touring in Chicago, NYC and before traveling to The International MonoDrama Festival in Macedonia, this fantastic Tour de Force Performance by the Internationally acclaimed actress Nina Sallinen will now be available to you in Los Angeles.
Fridays March 21st & March 28th


In this original dark comedy, Nina Sallinen, portrays a 90 year old Grande Dame (also named Nina Sallinen) of the Scandinavian Theater.  The old actress has brazenly chosen Shakespeare’s King Lear as the material for her final artistic farewell performance.  She has a special interest in the theme as she believes her own two daughters to be just as greedy and neglectful as King Lear’s.   The performance, which she stages in her own apartment, unintentionally highlights the artist’s own life story, as she gradually becomes cognizant of the deeper parallels between her life and that of King Lear’s.  Instead of shaking up her own daughters with her performance, the old diva shakes up herself.  Her priorities and past choices come into question.


NINA SALLINEN (Writer, Performer)
Originally from Finland, Nina Sallinen honed her acting skills on Finnish television as a series regular on a popular sketch comedy show. Sallinen also performed with the National Theater of Finland and has appeared in over 70 plays worldwide. Most recently, she was seen in The Odyssey Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of A Man’s a Man.   Sallinen often steals the show in character roles and was nominated for an LA Weekly award for Best Supporting Female Performer in The Conquest of the South Pole.

Katja Krohn (Director, Writer, Co-Creator)
Katja Krohn’s (b. 1966) funny and anarchic plays are entertaining for audiences of all ages, in no small part due to their fast-paced yet sensitive handling of their subjects. In her work, familiar patterns are turned upside down, and everyday things are seen from new angles. Krohn demonstrates that it is possible to write high-quality, innovative theatre for children. Kinkku pahana (The Broad with Boiling Blood, 1998) examines taboos about motherhood and marriage. Its main character is a woman who tries to create a theatrical performance about motherhood and is forced to confront who she is and what she wants.Poor Poor Lear (1998), co-authored with Nina Sallinen, is a one-woman play about an old actor, whose own story parallels King Lear’s. This play has also been performed in the United States. Iso paha susi (The Big Bad Wolf, 2003) is a joyous reinterpretation of familiar fairy tales, full of suspense and surprise. A wolf who has accidentally eaten his wife must find his son some food, while at the same time the boy experiences the pangs of falling in love for the first time, with Little Red Riding Hood of all people. The play was chosen as Play of the Year in 2003, and has been performed, in addition to over 12 Finnish productions, in Sweden and Estonia. The children’s play Sotta Pyttynen (Messy Mack, 2003) tells about a very neat boy and his very messy grandfather. This play, targeting pre-school and elementary-school age children, teaches children about manners in a funny way, without preaching.  Pikkujättiläinen (Small Giant, 2011) combines masterly global and family crises in a story of middle-aged scientist who tragically fails to balance between her work ambitions and family.
a7f453623cb70058e04cbb575853bbf9 Poor Poor Lear