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Testimonials

ACTOR TESTIMONIALS FROM THE ACTOR’S PRACTICE WITH HELENA WALSH

“Helena is one of the most empowering teachers I’ve ever worked with. She shows artists how to have a life long creative career through practical techniques. Her understanding of actors and their process is astounding. Her knowledge and love of what she teaches is profound. The most striking aspect of Helena’s work is not only her willingness but her eagerness to hear what her students think and explore how they feel. Helena is a listener which is, beyond a doubt, the most valuable quality in a teacher.” 

~ Johanna O’ Brien, Actor ⧫ Krypton (2018) Rosie (2018) Homecoming (2016)

“The Actor’s Practice is among the most thorough and enjoyable actor training I’ve done. It gave me an opportunity to reset and check in with my creative spirit, all while advancing my craft. It also provided me with a daily practice to utilize going forward.   The holistic nature of the course makes it feel like a retreat and working holiday at the same time. Highly recommended.”

~ Sam McGovern, Actor ⧫ Michael Inside (2017) ⧫ Striking Out (2017) ⧫ The Overcoat (2018)

 “For me Helena has been the key to unlocking the inspiration and creativity that existed within, and gave me the confidence to wear my artistic expression with pride. It can be quite easy to fall into the trap as an artist to look for validation from external sources. Helena has thought me that through a daily practice, the attention can remain on the things that are important for continuous creative and artistic expression and with this, the river of inspiration will never run dry.”

~ Graeme Coughlan, Actor  ⧫ “Wrecking The Rising” “Dialanna an gCogadh Mor”

“Just finished “The Actor’s Practice” 10 week advanced actor training with Helena Walsh! It was amazing!!! Helena gave me the skills to unlock the subtle nuances in my acting and truly embody the lives of my characters! Plus she creates such a safe environment for me to find that pleasure in performance, risk more in my art and the skills to find stability and grounded sense in myself! I now feel more alive, confident and present on stage & in my life! Highly recommend!!”

~ Christina McMahon, Actress & Comedian “Bernadette Mary, Ireland’s Got Talent” (2019) “Mayo for Sam Song (2019)”

“I can’t recommend more the The Actors Practice Workshop with Helena Walsh. Spending 8 weeks part time with two full weeks in Dublin was a quite a commitment but one I am really very happy I made.  As well as a huge bag full of acting tools from three brilliant teachers, I consider myself very lucky to have shared the experience with some brilliant actors and people. For myself I have grown both as a person and an actor over the workshop. The gentle approach helped me build my confidence and develop a more authentic self in my performance.  I have always been overwhelmed by “learning the lines” to the detriment of my performance and enjoyment of the process. At the beginning of the course I fumbled over a minute of dialogue, at the end of the10 weeks I completed a 20 minute scene that I am very proud of. (A special nod to my scene partner Cian) The Workshop is not like anything you’ll have done before.   And Helena is a one off.

~ Daniel Fitzgibbon, Actor & Producer ⧫ “The Crucible”, The Everyman, Cork 2020

“Chris creates an amazing space for play that is both creative and rigorous in what it demands from you as an actor.”

~ Liv O Donoghue, Actor & Dancer ⧫ “The Patient Gloria” The Abbey Theatre, Dublin Fringe Festival & Edinburgh Fringe (2019)

“The Actor’s Practice has been a real game changer for me. I was an actor, I became an artist. For the first time in my career, I genuinely feel that I have a craft, a practice I can work on every day. It has opened for me a whole new world of continuous and accessible discoveries. This course has given me freedom as a performer and has given me the confidence that I can truthfully and sincerely portray and embody any character that I get cast in, or choose to work on. It has also given tools to manage the demands and stressful situations that come hand in hand with an acting career. I feel confident, stronger, and incredibly excited by the future.”

~ Natalie Clément, Actor and Voiceover Artist ⧫ “Nun On The Run”, (2019) Purple Hare Theatre Company

”  Praise for Helena Walsh. This training truly revolutionised my approach towards acting and personal creativity. It helped me truly understand myself and my personal ambitions for the future, and gain the necessary  skills to build a resourceful and sustainable practice and process. “   

~  Joe Clinton, Actor

“I finished up on Helena Walsh’s Actors Practice in December 2018.  Helena’s work centres around the voice but stretches far beyond that in understanding the potential of that for an actor. The voice being my anchor – I learned how vital it was to really breathe!

 I learned a daily practice that I can trust and rely on to anchor me in my character work and every aspect of my acting. I learned how to find a stable confidence in myself, my work, and my voice.   Helena held a space for me to discover, play and process the potential within myself. Her gentle, open approach to her students was a real privilege to witness and experience.

 Helena is highly skilled in her work and I trusted her completely to take me through the rigor of the Fitzmaurice Voicework -the creation of this practice really is a testament to Helena’s knowledge and skill, understanding what an actor truly needs.

 Her work promotes a new wave of healthy actors who understand the importance of your own wellbeing, and how to maintain that in your daily life, too. The improvement of my stage presence was merely the icing on top of the cake!  You leave her short course with years of a practice to work on, explore and play with. I cannot recommend her studio enough. You really need to experience it to believe it! “

 

~ Jane Herbert, Actor

“Helena not only identified and cured a fundamental flaw in my acting technique but she also gave me a whole new toolkit to use in navigating my career as an actor, both on and off screen and stage. She literally opened up whole new channels for me to use in exploring a text and I feel she has added a depth that I simply didn’t have before as a performer. I would highly recommended any actor who feels lost in their careers to study with Helena in the actors practice.” 

~ Conor Duffy, Actor “The Little Prince” with Tartarus Theatre Company

“Working with Helena changed my view of acting and turned it around 360®.  Until joining The Actors Practice, I had been searching for someone to show me how it’s done. But what Helena does, instead of dictating a ‘method’, is to encourage creativity in her actors and empower them to work on their craft and find their own ‘method’ by sharing techniques that open up your voice and your body and align them to the present moment. She completely altered the way I approach my work. The learning from The Actors Practice can’t be summed up in a few short sentences – it has to be experienced. And I guarantee that once you spend some time with Helena, you will realise that acting, and being creative, although it requires time and dedication, is a lot easier than you think!”

 ~ Sarah Griffin, Actor

 “The Actor’s Practice is the most nuanced actor training I’ve done. Helena creates an enjoyable and focused environment for the actor to make their own discoveries, both in themselves and through text. I’m still only beginning to see the benefits of the processes we explored in class and it has opened up many possibilities. I’d recommend her courses to anyone who is pursuing authentic expression in their craft. “

  ~ Michael King, Actor

“It’s hard to find words to convey just how unique The Actor’s Practice was. Words that do come to mind are: life-affirming, wonderfully inspiring, challenging and transformative.  Helena guided us expertly, with love and respect, through techniques for stabilising our nervous systems while opening up emotional and physical channels of expression that I have not experienced before. I learned so much about my own identity as an actress, and what my strengths and weaknesses are. Most importantly – I learned tools for building a continuous, personal practice where I can develop my strengths further while dealing constructively with my weaknesses. Finally – what truly made the training stand out was the focus on working towards our goals as actors in ways that are sustainable, healthy and joyful.  It’s so much more than advanced actor training. I’d recommend it to not only actors but anyone who has an interest in experiencing their humanity – and the humanity of others – at a deeper level.”

~ Kamila Dydydna, Actor, ⧫ “Debutante” (2019), “The Betrayal” (2017), 

ACTOR TESTIMONIALS FROM THE ACTING & SURFING RETREAT

“The Clonakilty retreat was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had.  It not only enriched my work but my life as a whole. Helena and Ben are two of the most amazing passionate people I’ve ever met.  They made the whole trip an unbelievable memory I will carry with me forever. I would highly recommend this to any actor looking to take some much needed head rest, and also to work on their craft with beautiful like-minded individual’s from all around the world.”

~Laurence O’Fuarain, Actor | Vikings (2013) Game of Thrones (2011)  Black ’47 (2018)

“When I was asked to come on this retreat I asked if I would have to go surfing and I was told that the surfing was optional.   So I agreed, even though I didn’t know anyone and I was terrified. What I found was an incredible, warm, welcoming group of actors and two teachers who not only made me feel welcome, they created an environment that made me feel safe and supported.  I won’t lie – the first two days were very emotional for me. I cried. A lot. But I’m so grateful that I did and that I was able to. On the Tuesday night we went night kayaking and I was terrified of that too. I’ve had a fear of the ocean for a very long time.  But that night on the water something shifted. We all came together in the water and bonded in a way I didn’t expect; there’s something really connecting about being in the dark on the ocean making magical shapes in the water and seeing those stars above you. Oh my word, the stars!  It was life-changing. The rest of the week was so transformational for me – I actually went surfing. On the ocean! And the group was so kind and so excited for me! I even faced my fear of singing in public by singing in a pub in town… I have never felt so supported and loved by a group of virtual strangers as I did during this week.  Not only did I learn so much about acting and performing and developing character, but I learned so much about myself inside and out, and I will never forget my time in Clonakilty with this incredible group of people. I owe so much gratitude to Ben and Helena for bringing us all together and encouraging me to be part of it. If you get the chance to work with them, do it. You will not regret it. And go surfing!  And go kayaking! And sing! This experience will change you. You will feel so good about yourself, I promise. And you might just overcome a few fears in the process!”

~ Michelle Paré, Actress

“This trip was absolutely life changing. Helena Walsh and Ben Mathes answered many questions I was struggling with in my acting process. Before this experience, I felt as though I had a strong understanding of how to use my body. I spent all four years of my undergraduate degree training in Fitzmaurice voice and movement work, then continued practicing after I ended my training. I knew this work contributed to my acting practice, but I was still unaware during the actual process of acting how this work was helping. I understood I felt more sensations within my body, but I still couldn’t put to words how it served my acting practice.  The difference was that I was not practicing this idea of how being involved in my body might feel “good.” When you find this goodness in feeling you can find stability, and this stability will allow you to approach the chaos within fiction with a sense of ease and safety and most of all the freedom of play.  

Helena trains you how to be present within the moment incredibly. She trains you how to find stability and ease through sensation within the body, while also staying present to the outside environment by orientation. This practice is amazing at getting you out of your analytical thinking channel. Always asking and judging what is happening, rather than just experiencing the moment for what is happening. What I found this practice really helps with is finding stability, and ease of anxiety, or fear of outcome. What this allows is for you to not search for sensational experience during the scene but be absolutely aware of the sensation you are experiencing during the fictional moment with your scene partner that is occurring naturally. And live with the freedom that what you have is all you need. 

Ben then connected us to being able to use our imagination within the safety of the fiction after finding stability. It was such a beautiful connection because it continued the idea of all you need you already have. We could safely play with sensations in our bodies and put images to them and feel the freedom to play from exactly where you are using these images.  And because we had so much presence within our body from practicing with Helena, working on the scene with Ben made the work and images come with such ease, because we were all so aware of where we were in the present moment. So, we could really live in the fictional chaos safely. Without the feeling of reaching for an outcome or the necessary need for an outcome. it made the work seem limitless.

Besides the acting work, the community you create across the world is the most important aspect. I feel as though I have gained such a loving group of friends, and we all share something special after going through this transformational experience together. Whether that meant living in the moment learning how to catch and stand the wretched salty waves or lying back on a kayak with a meteor shower shooting stars across the sky reflecting off the bioluminescence filled water. We all lived in the moment and gained an immense amount of wisdom. It was such a wonderful experience, and I hope to do it again.

~ Landon Cally, LA Actor

“The acting and surfing workshop with Ben and Helena was far more powerful than I could have imagined. My heart was moved on a daily basis: by the deep, creative passion of my teachers and peers, by the exercises that brought me into a wildly intimate connection with my body, and by the delightful cultural experience of a week in Clonakilty, Ireland. My imagination bloomed before my eyes and I left the retreat eager to take on more challenging creative work once back home. Do yourself a favor and gift yourself with this experience! “

~ Lexi Rafael, LA Actress

“A week in West Cork.  Mornings spent surfing in the unforgiving Celtic sea.  Afternoons reserved for exercises in intimacy, listening to the body, and connecting deeply with oneself and with one’s companions.  In the evenings which follow, there is always a pub, welcoming all who wish to decompress as a community. This is retreat. It’s hard to find the proper words to describe just what happens in Clonakilty.  Ben and Helena like to call their work transformative. However, I see it more as transubstantive. After working with Ben and Helena, you will likely find yourself more connected to your current form than ever before.  There is certainly a shift, but it happens from within. For me, it meant becoming more comfortable in my own skin, becoming less restless. I learned that the path forward starts with where I am, right here, and right now.  If you let it, the work can mold the fabric of your being into something more beautiful than you ever imagined. So dive in.”

~ Kyle Borzoni, L.A. Actor

“I have just completed the Surfing and acting retreat with Helena walsh & Benjamin Mathes. Wow what a life Changing experience! This retreat takes you out of the usual day to day nonsense and takes you back into how it truly is to feel and dream like a human.  I myself felt like there was some kind of block locking me in, within my performance. Helena and Benjamin have taught me how to use my own keys to unlock it.

Ireland itself is such a beautiful place and to be able Surf in it’s waters was awesome! We had instructors with us all the time who loved to get involved and tweak your technique here and there to give you a great surf.

The night Kayaking trip we did is one of those experiences which is hard to quantify in words it was almost like we were in space and nothing else in the world really mattered.  Overall, with Helena and Benjamin’s teaching combined with the excursions, they aim and succeed in taking you to a place of ultimate freedom and expression within your art.

I would 100% recommend this to any actor at any level and I hope to revisit the retreat as soon as I can. “

~ Nathan Haymer Bates, Actor “Hoplite Centurion” (2019) “The Mummy” Univseral Pictures

 

“The Ireland retreat was much more than I could have even anticipated. Coming together with the Irish actors was an unbelievable experience, then being able to work with Helena side by side is something my breath, body and voice are thanking me for. She not only gets you more into your body, but connected to it in a nurturing experience. The work is fast and intense yet slowed down because of how present you become. It’s an opportunity to show up and be open and let yourself be completely in the moment. Watching everyone was an experience all on its own as well. Sharing your dreams, speaking aloud your determinations in a group like this is powerful. I’m coming back to LA a different actor, refreshed and excited!  It was truly life changing”

~ Brittany Lauren Brown, Actor & Model America’s Next Top Model” (2012) Robber Rob (2016), Speed Dating (2016)

 “The acting workshop in Clonakilty was one of the best experiences of my life. Helena Walsh and Benjamin Mathes are master coaches. The workshop consisted of a full week of body and breath connection, scene study, and great practical advise on how to approach the business side of the industry. I learned so much about my own body and breath, and how everything applies to my life and work. Having the opportunity to work with actors from Ireland was a dream come true! All of the actors were willing to take risks and be vulnerable, which created a safe space for everyone and allowed everyone to learn more about the craft and connect deeply with one another. By the end of the week, we were all a family. I highly recommend this workshop for anyone who is looking to deepen their connection with themselves, with others, and with their craft. This was an experience that will always be dear to my heart.”

– Chiara McCarty, LA Actress

“This retreat broke walls down that I wasn’t even aware of. My eyes were opened to things within myself that needed to be uncovered, and in turn allowed me to be open to the people and the experiences that were right in front of me. Helena and Ben are life changers if

you’re willing to be open to what they have to offer. It may be scary, but it’s something I will never regret.”

 

Madison Brown, LA Actress & Model

“There is nothing more beneficial than taking an actor out of their comfort zone in every way imaginably possible. That is what Helena and Ben did for me. They created a space and permission to just be a vessel, and dive in deep. I was challenged mentally, physically and spiritually; and to be in A small little Irish beach town while doing this was just wonderful. Throughout the retreat i found pieces of myself i thought where missing. I also found a whole new community of loving supporting amazing people. The retreat has changed me in so many ways through breath work to thinking about the industry and acting in a whole new way. learning to surf in freezing cold water to self exploring conversations, and scene work i found my love for being an artist again. I guess i just had to go all the way to Ireland to find it. So grateful for the retreat and my new Irish/la family. If your feeling like i was feeling go! You will be forever changed!”

~ Julia Faye Fisher, Actor Admission (2013),  True Blood (2008) and Masters of Sex (2013)

“For me the acting retreat was transformative, truly something I will cherish for the rest of my life. A journey that reawakens/awakens things within you. Beautiful, transformative, effective and powerful! Will stay in the depths of my heart forever…. I can go on and on. Hard to find the right verbiage for the experience. It was damn magical!” 

~ Karina Gardea, Actor

“The Surfing and Acting retreat was a delightful and empowering experience. Two master teachers, an idyllic location, your own power being uncovered piece by piece in order to allow you to be safely and fully available in the work – what’s not to love? Forever grateful.”

~ Eamonn McNicholas, Actor

 

“Learning from Helena Walsh and Benjamin Mathes at the Surfing and Acting Retreat has been so impactful! They have a way of creating such a positive and safe atmosphere, which has allowed me to dive deeper into my work. They both have such great insight and can see right to the root of things, which sets a foundation for true and lasting growth.

 

Surfing in the mornings was the best way to start each day and it was so cool to see how it would connect and serve as a metaphor for the things we would talk about later in the day! And Ireland is so incredibly beautiful, I didn’t want to leave!

 

After this retreat, I feel more connected to myself and what I hope to accomplish as an artist and as a human.

 

To anyone considering this retreat, do it! I would 100% recommend it and would do it again in a heartbeat!”

 

~ Kiri Allen, Actor Mind of the Wilds (2019), Reason for Leaving (2019) and Charlie’s Gift (2016)

 

“The Acting and Surfing Retreat with Helena Walsh is a lifechanging week of surfing, acting, EATING, and feeling like you are breathing for the first time. Maybe the greatest lesson I received was finding beauty in my everyday life even after leaving the idyllic town of Clonakilty. The experience is unparalleled.”

~ Aidan Rees, Actor Amber (2017), Onset (2017) and Vertumnus (2017)

“The acting and surfing retreat was not only a week-long masterclass in acting but also an invigorating experience for the mind, body and soul with a group of beautiful people against the backdrop of a most charming town. What more could you ask for?”

~ Conor O Dwyer, Actor “Dublin Murders” (2019), “Don’t Go” (2018) “A Different Kind of Day” (2017)

“The acting and surfing workshop was a truly transformational experience. The environment was safe enough to allow me to feel vulnerable and challenged me to keep pushing through. It allowed me to fully experience the power of my body and connect to myself. I was able find a new breath in my body, my life, and in my work. I gained a new perspective of seeing beauty through the chaos feel more receptive to all that’s around. I would encourage anyone seeking artistic growth and connection to join this workshop. It’s a once and a lifetime opportunity.”

~ Diedra Hart, Actor

“Oh my goodness! The surfing and acting workshop in Clonakilty is truly transformational. Helena and Ben are an incredible team and they guided us to a deeper understanding of ourselves both in our work, and in the world. I was so inspired by the workshop and have continued to process everything we worked on as I pursue my acting career in LA. I feel a stronger connection to the world around me and I am grounded in the unshakable idea that I am enough. I’m so grateful for this workshop, the community we created and a beautiful experience I will remember forever.”

~ Emilia Ray, Actor “A Different Take”, (2019)
CORPORATE CLIENT TESTIMONIALS ”  I have been working with Helena now for 2 years and the work we have done has transformed my life.  I am a healthier, more whole, balanced and responsive person in all spheres of my life. I know I have developed as a business leader in Banking, – some of the benefits include:

  • Being more present with my team and in meetings
  • More connected with myself, and thereby more connected with the people in my team and life
  • Bringing my “whole self” to work – my full human being – so that people can better connect with me
  • Less reactive and responding from a balanced place
  • More aware and conscious of my posture and presence at all times
  • Better at listening
  • More mindful and attentive

I have developed an awareness of the benefits of maintaining a healthy body/mind relationship and to know what is going on in my body and emotions.   The work has made me more confident and composed in making presentations to large and small groups of people. I strongly recommend anyone in business working with Helena.”

~ Ronan Mc Govern, Head of Strategy, AIB Property and Workplace Transformation

”  Working with Helena Walsh has transformed my corporate career. Helena has a very unique way of teaching how to be more human, real and honest in a work environment.  I learnt how to consistently – on a daily basis – bring presence into my role. I developed a sense of clarity of how to make better decisions, how to manage my time effectively and how to have a stronger impact on my goals and people around me. The workshops taught me to change the way I listen. I improved my communication skills, my ability to create connection and trust, and to build stronger relationships at all levels. Helena also helped me to grow as a leader. I have become way more authentic, resilient and service oriented. After working with Helena I can create a better team environment tapping into human connection, passion and innovation. I highly recommend Helena’s workshops to other professionals looking to grow their communication, relationships, leadership skills, improving creativity or simply looking to find their own voice in the corporate world “

~  Magdalena Kierdelezicz, H.R. Manager, ebay