Acting & Surfing Retreat

5 Days in Ireland to Align Your Body, Breath & Imagination

Crash Acting & Helena Walsh Voice Studio join forces once again to bring you our 5th Ireland Actor’s Retreat, May. 4th – 8th, 2020

All of our previous retreats have all SOLD OUT.  To get on our waitlist, click here and send an email.

This unique opportunity joins actors from across the world to grow, breathe, reflect! Set in one of Ireland’s most beautiful coastal towns, the retreat consists of a week of scene study, Voice and Body work, awareness and presence training, and, oh yea, SURFING! It will challenge you artistically, physically, and professionally. Space is VERY limited. DM for more info about applying.

The Details: 
Dates: 4th to 8th May 2020
Location: Clonakilty, Cork, Ireland
Cost: €850, which covers:
– course fees
– transportation from Dublin to Clonakilty
– accommodation in Clonakilty
– Videos from the workshop
Optional Activities:

Our Approach

Inspired by Fitzmaurice Voicework, Organic Intelligence, and traditional acting methodologies, the work is a journey into the alignment of the imagination, body, and breath. By exploring the subtle nuances in our rich vulnerability, your characters become more embodied and alive, and you will enjoy the present moment with greater insight and creativity.


What to Expect

Daily there will be voice, body and character integration work with Helena Walsh.
The work is inspired by Fitzmaurice Voicework and Organic Intelligence and works from the principles of stability, support, pleasure and play. It is a journey into alignment of imagination body and breath, working with the fight / flight / freeze mechanisms that ignite in the actor’s nervous system when working with creative impulse.
We will explore the subtle nuances in our rich vulnerability so that the experience of your character is more embodied and alive. The work emerges out of a body / mind creative process. This work is then bridged by Benjamin later in the day through how he works with you in scene. It is a fusion of body – mind, mind – body principles, that will encourage you to enjoy the present moment with greater insight and love.

Here’s a look at a typical day of The Actor’s Retreat:

  • 9:00am: Surfing at Inchydoney Beach
  • 11:30am: Lunch in Clonakilty
  • 1:00–2:30pm: Voice and Presence Work
  • 2:45–4:00pm: Presence, Awareness, Acting Work
  • 4:15–6:00pm: Scene Study
  • 6:30pm–late: Journaling, Dinner, Pub, Cliff Walks, Night Kayaking, Live Music…

 About Benjamin Mathes

Benjamin has been an actor for over 20 years. On film, television, and stage he has worked with artists such as Academy Award winning director Clint Eastwood, Academy Award winning actor Alan Arkin, Sam Raimi, Bradley Cooper, Andy Garcia, Chris Rock, and Academy Award winning producer Brian Grazer. He received his MFA in Acting from the University of California-Irvine.
He serves as Head of Production for Seine Pictures, a film finance and production company in Hollywood, overseeing the creative development and production of each film. Recently, he Executive Produced the dark comedy, MURDER OF A CAT (starring Greg Kinnear, JK Simmons, and Nikki Reed), and the biopic, PELE (in partnership with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment).
As a teacher, he has been on faculty or taught workshops at Auburn University, Cal State Northridge, University of San Diego, University of Lima, Peru, Catholic University of Lima, Theatre of Arts in Hollywood, UC-Irvine, and the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. He is a certified Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework®, and has served as vocal and dialect coach for major motion pictures, network television, and theatres around the country.
His acting studio, CRASH, inspires a guerrilla approach to acting driven by the idea that service is the context for artistic greatness. His students have been nominated or awarded Tony, Emmy, Grammy, and Ovation Awards, and have appeared on Broadway, as guest stars and series regulars on television, and in major motion pictures. Further, his studio has helped raised thousands of dollars for charities worldwide.
To find out more about Benjamin Mathes and his inspiring teaching and approach to life in general take a look at his website.
Benjamin also is founder and director of urban confessional _- A Free Listening Movement . www.urbanconfessional.org.

About Helena Walsh

 Helena’s rigour, commitment, skill and focus meant that the actors developed rapidly in confidence and expertise. I’ve observed, under her guidance, actors have major revelations, which have fed into their future work being more detailed, centred and authentic. She is a remarkable teacher and it has been my privilege to have worked with her.”

~ Chris Edmund, Acting Coach WAPPA, Australia, Director, Writer & Artist

 Helena Walsh is an International Voice and Acting Coach.  She is one of Ireland’s leading coaches in the Irish film and theatre industry for young up and coming actors, preparing them for screen and stage alike.Helena teaches and hosts workshops all over the world.  She is Artistic Director and founder of her own Voice and Acting Studio ‘Helena Walsh Voice and Acting Studio’ in Dublin, Ireland.  It is an innovative, cutting edge, studio for artists around the world.  She invites some of the finest international teachers in the industry to co-teach with her at her studio.  The studio acts as a centre for cutting edge practice for an interdisciplinary approach to a truly empowered, creative, vibrant and embodied actor and human being.

Her mission with her work is to empower each actor to discover their unique creative intuition and foster it so they stand out because of their differences.  She gives them skills that ensure their resilience and artistry within the industry.  She offers them a practice and a process that they can continue to foster their craft through for the years ahead.  She has created a truly unique approach to acting from her thirty years of research and practice.

Helena Walsh has a unique approach to voice and actor training which is both rigorous and nurturing. She guides actors towards an embodied presence, giving them the tools to find the truth and complexity in the role in front of the camera or on stage.  Her studio is a place where actors at every stage of their careers can go to explore and deepen their craft. Her curiosity in the process and the high standards she maintains make her a true master teacher.”

~Andrea Ainsworth, Vocal director at The Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Ireland.

Helena trained and worked as an actress and singer for many years before becoming a voice and acting coach. Over the past twenty five years she has worked as a vocal coach on many professional productions as well as theatre and film training programmes worldwide.Including The Gaiety School of Acting, the National Theatre School of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin on the B.A. in Acting and University College Cork on the B.A in Theatre Studies.

Internationally, Helena has taught at NYU’s overseas theatre programme for ten years consecutively; Eolia Conservatory Of Dramatic Arts, Barcelona; Shanghai Theatre Academy, China; The Accademia Dell’Arte, Tuscany, Italy; The Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and T.V. in Ljubljana, Slovenia and UCLA, California and at Crash Acting Studio, L.A.

She is also Director of the Fitzmaurice Voicework Community in Europe, a community of forty-two voice coaches, across 20 countries who are practitioners and artists dedicated to making change initially within themselves and then in others and their communities through targeted instruction and training.

Helena’s work is profound.  Her ability to bring actors into a greater sense of their artistry, their potential, and their self is astounding.  She has worked with my actors in Los Angeles and made a profound impact on their process by offering transferrable experiences that elevate their awareness and ground their practice in a physical experience of the scene.  I have spend over 20 years teaching acting, and I consider her among the best teachers of acting, voice, and body in the world”

~Benjamin Mathes, Acting Coach; Host, “The Heard Podcast“; Author, “You, the Career”; Head of Production, Seine Pictures; Founder, Urban Confessional; Founder, Crash Acting L.A.

She runs retreats biannually in West Cork, Ireland with Benjamin Mathes, founder of Crash Acting, L.A. She also runs her own advanced training which provides unique insight to a process based creative practice for actors. She feels very strongly about giving back to the community and leads a “ Free Listening,” project which she hosts in Dublin as part of the Urban Confessional Movement worldwide.

She feels very strongly about giving back to the community and initiated a “Well being for Actors” Programme to build a resilient, thriving and nurtured community of artists. By bringing artists together in the everyday, through walks, well being & resiliency workshops, aikido classes, weekly excursions and monthly music sessions.  Helena also leads a “ Free Listening,” project which she hosts weekly in Dublin as part of the Urban Confessional Movement worldwide.

Our task as artists is to tell stories and what better way to nourish those stories then nurturing your own life as it unfolds. Accepting and practicing what it is you need in your life so you can give a deeply creative expression of the human experience to your audience.”  ~ Helena Walsh

“Helena is, to my mind, a very rare person and teacher. She combines terrific intuition with a wealth of experience and empirical knowledge.  She has a strong vision of where her work is taking her and those she shares it with. She retains a sense of openness and continues to challenge herself as a performer.  I cannot therefore but recommend her strongly enough for any future endeavours and collaborations in this field. I believe she will leave her very inimitable mark.”

~Kevin Crawford

Director MFA in Physical Theatre 2009-2018

Accademia dell’Arte in collaboration with Mississippi University for Women Writer-in-Residence

Roy Hart International Artistic Centre

Helena has been co-director of “The Fourth & Fifth International Freedom & Focus Fitzmaurice Voicework Conference” in Dublin, 2016 & London, 2018. Teachers and performers came from all disciplines in the art world to liberate their voices and listen beyond the borders of their own experience and history.

She is also an Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework®, from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama at the University of London and holds a Certificate in Roy Hart Training from the ‘Centre Artistic International, Roy Hart’, France. Helena is a moderator on ‘The End of Trauma’  international online course, which now functions on a worldwide basis.

Helena Walsh is a beautiful presence in the world of acting training. Her work is a living breathing, evolving process that gives each actor their own practice. She guides her students by teaching them to listen to the creative impulses which arise from them organically and creates the fertile ground for artistic seeds to grow and blossom. This is all done with love, compassion and with a commitment to building resilience and a practice of self-care in the actor. These are essential in any acting training. It’s been a pleasure to witness and experience her as a teacher over the years.”

~Craig Deuchar, Voice and Empowerment Coach, London

She is currently training in Organic Intelligence in Switzerland on their Human Empowerment and Resilience Training Programme, which works on PTSD, Anxiety and Stress, offering tools to help actors and students move beyond trauma, integrating it into their lives and using it as a source of creative empowerment. This HEART training is ground breaking in the field of positive psychology, clinical and somatic training and personal development. It uses proven methods drawn from the science of self organization.

I want artists to have rich, complex human experiences available to them in their lives, as well as their art form, and not just feel that they only come alive when they’re on camera.

~ Helena Walsh on “Speaking of…Conversations on Voice, Speech & Identity” Podcast with Ryan O’ Shea

Training and Certifications

European Director Fitzmaurice Institute

Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework®

Certificate in Roy Hart Training

Organic Intelligence® HEART Training® Modules 1,2 & 3

Organic Intelligence® HEART Moderator

B. A in English Literature & The Classics, U.C.D. Dublin, Ireland.

Diploma in Acting from the Conservatory of Music & Drama, Dublin, Ireland

Classically trained singer for 7 years at The Conservatory of Music & Drama



***Due to the limited number of places on our retreats, deposits are non-refundable for any cancellations within 21 days of the retreat start date.