Dr. Michael Kirkland currently serves as faculty representative supervising Regent’s MFA in Acting program in the Department of Performing Arts & Music. He has a Ph.D. in the History, Theory, Criticism and Literature of the Theatre from the University of Utah, an MFA in Acting and Directing from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a B.A. in Acting from California State University, Fullerton. While at the University of Utah he studied under Tyrone Guthrie protégé, Dr. David Jones. He also did post-graduate training in directing at the University of Michigan with Walter Eysselinck and Richard Burgwin, and served as resident stage manager for Michigan Ensemble Theatre.
Practical specializations include acting, directing and stage combat. An advocate of the Sanford Meisner Approach to acting, he teaches this technique in Regent’s MFA Acting program. A certified teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) since 1992, he has designed fights and instructed all over the U.S. and guest-taught at such prestigious UK conservatories as RADA, the Birmingham School of Acting, and MGA Academy, in Edinburgh. He is on-site coordinator for the Virginia Beach BASH, an SAFD-sanctioned stage and screen combat workshop in residence at Regent University each spring. He is author of Stage Combat: An Annotated Bibliography, numerous articles in The Fight Master: Journal of the Society of American Fight Directors, and other theatre journals.
A member of Actors Equity Association since1978, he originated the roles of deputy Bobby Tate in Sagebrush (Cast Theatre, Hollywood) and Jake in Idioglossia (Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts) later adapted into the motion picture Nell, starring Jodie Foster. He has worked with such luminaries as Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sam Elliott and Richard White.
The summer of 2016 saw him directing and playing detective William Bryce in the UK premiere of Jayson Akridge’s psychological police thriller, The Confessional, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Directing credits include: The Producers (Monterey Peninsula Theatre Company); Private Lives, The 39 Steps, The Cottage and Man of La Mancha (Americana Theatre Company); Flashdance (MGA Academy, Edinburgh); and The Servant of Two Masters (Edinburgh Festival Fringe).
For Tidewater Stage, Regent University’s professional theatre in residence, he has appeared as Victor Velasco in Barefoot in the Park, Ticky Waldgrave in The Nerd, and directed Driving Miss Daisy and The 39 Steps. Regent University directing credits include Hamlet, Steel Magnolias, Guys and Dolls, Noises Off, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Arms and the Man, Singin’ in the Rain, The Elephant Man, The Three Musketeers, Shadowlands, Macbeth 2114, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Dracula, and The Servant of Two Masters.
Michael lives in Chesapeake, Virginia with his wife, actress/costume designer CJ Hill, and their three dogs, Toby, Gemma and Truffle.
Stage Combat Resource Materials: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography, Praeger, 2006
"The Search for Style in TROY," The Fight Master: Journal of the Society of American Fight Directors, 2005
"An Interview with Actor Michael York," The Fight Master: Journal of the Society of American Fight Directors, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2004